UPDATE 1-ESR halts trading on potential take-private plan, sources say

ESR Group, a real estate fund manager listed in Hong Kong, has temporarily halted trading in its shares due to a potential takeover bid. The bid is being led by a group of investors that includes Starwood Capital Group, according to sources. ESR, backed by Warburg Pincus LLC, stated in a filing that trading was halted pending an announcement related to inside information about the company, as required by Hong Kong’s takeover and mergers code. The discussions regarding the takeover are still in the early stages, with terms yet to be finalized. ESR’s shares closed at HK$10 on Friday, the highest since March 4, resulting in a market cap of $5.4 billion. The company declined to comment further, while Starwood Capital did not immediately respond to a request for comment. ESR went public in Hong Kong in 2019 and manages various property-focused funds and its own property investments.
Starwood Capital, a global investment firm, is based in Miami, Florida in the United States. According to its website, the company has successfully raised more than $75 billion in capital since it was founded in 1991. Currently, Starwood Capital manages approximately $115 billion in assets. The firm maintains a strong international presence with 16 offices across the globe, including locations in Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Sydney within the Asia Pacific region. (Note: The exchange rate is $1 = 7.8141 Hong Kong dollars)