Blackstone to Buy Data-Center Operator QTS Realty Trust for $6.7 Billion
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Blackstone Group Inc. has struck a roughly $6.7 billion deal to buy QTS Realty Trust Inc. and take the data-center operator private. The investment giant's infrastructure unit, Blackstone Infrastructure Partners, together with its nontraded real-estate investment trust, known as BREIT, have agreed to pay $78 a share for QTS, the companies plan to announce Monday. The price represents a 21% premium to QTS's closing share price Friday and a 24% premium to the volume-weighted average over the last 90 days. Including the assumption of QTS's existing debt, the transaction is valued at about $10 billion. Based in Overland Park, Kansas, QTS is a real-estate investment trust that owns more than 7 million square feet of data-center space in 28 locations across North America and Europe. The infrastructure business and BREIT, a vehicle targeted at moderately wealthy individuals, are what Blackstone calls "perpetual" capital. That means they can hold assets indefinitely and don't have to return capital to investors within a set period like the typical private-equity or real-estate fund. Shares of QTS Realty Trust jumped $13.66, or 21%, to $78.15 while Blackstone shares rose $1.20, or 1.3%, to $94.40.
The Swiss stock market ended Monday's trading session with gains. After a rather restrained session, the SMI picked up towards the end and marked a new all-time high. The SMI gained 0.5 percent to 11,631 points. Among the 20 SMI stocks, there were 12 price losers and 8 price winners. 26.69 (previously: 26.81) million shares were traded. The most striking stock was Lonza (+4.0%). The share had been largely unremarkable in the course of trading, but towards the end of trading the price shot up sharply. Trading pointed to Moderna filing for EU approval of its Corona vaccine for adolescents. Earlier in June, Lonza had said it would expand its collaboration with Moderna to produce the Covid 19 vaccine and expand production capacity. Roche shares (+2.4%) also jumped in late trading. Novartis, meanwhile, closed at a discount of 0.3 percent. Also in demand were the two luxury stocks Swatch (+2.2%) and Richemont (+1.6%). Financial stocks, however, remained behind. While UBS closed little changed, the shares of competitor Credit Suisse were down 0.5 percent. Bringing up the rear in the SMI were Swiss Re (-0.8%) and Zurich Insurance (-1.0%). The share of index heavyweight Nestle fell 0.1 percent.
European stocks edged back from record levels on Monday, as traders absorbed an environment where jobs growth is lagging behind the broader economic recovery. Up 13% this year, the Stoxx Europe 600 gained 0.2%, while the German DAX fell 0.1% after closing Friday at a record high. The Group of Seven industrialized nations agreed to pursue a 15% global minimum tax for companies - aimed at big technology corporates who are able to license their intellectual property to subsidiaries in low-tax jurisdictions - but there is still a long road to implementation. Flexible-office-space provider IWG tumbled 15%, after warning underlying earnings in 2021 would be well below the previous year's result, due to lower-than-expected improvements in occupancy.
Argen-x dropped 6%, after a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary discontinued a collaboration agreement for its anti-CD70 antibody cusatuzumab. Fertilizer maker Yara International rose 3%, after agreeing to collaborate with commodity trader Trafigura on developing and promoting ammonia as a clean fuel in shipping.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 slipped Monday after closing near record levels last week. The Dow lost 126.15 points, or 0.4%, to close at 34630.24. The blue-chip index briefly advanced into record territory in morning trading before turning lower. The S&P 500 dropped 3.37, or less than 0.1%, to 4226.52, after the index reached its second-highest close in history on Friday. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 67.23, or 0.5%, to 13881.72. U.S. stock indexes have been mostly muted in recent trading sessions, with investors assessing a range of factors including the economic outlook, supply-chain problems and high valuations for stocks. In corporate news, shares of drugmaker Biogen soared $109.71, or 38%, to $395.85 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it approved the company’s treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Eli Lilly, which also is working on an Alzheimer’s drug, advanced $20.50 a share, or 10%, to $222.52. Meme stocks popular among small investors on social media continued their bout of wild volatility. AMC Entertainment climbed $7.09 a share, or 15%, to $55, adding to last week’s gains of 83%. GameStop shares rose $31.65, or 13%, to $280.01.
On the East Asian stock markets, caution spreads after inconsistent guidance from Wall Street in the course of trading on Tuesday. In Tokyo, the Nikkei index gives -0.4 percent down to 28,981 points. In Shanghai, the losses are -0.5 percent, in Seoul -0.08% and in Hong Kong -0.35%. In Tokyo, the share of Eisai is in focus. Here, buy orders outweigh sell orders to such an extent that no price has yet been established. The background is that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given approval to an Alzheimer's drug developed by Eisai with Biogen. Biogen's share price had subsequently risen by 38 percent.
In bond markets, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note settled at 1.570%, up from 1.559% Friday.
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