In 2007, Sam Zell, the billionaire Chicago investor, sold a portfolio of 573 properties he had assembled over three decades, Equity Office Properties Trust, to the Blackstone Group for $39 billion. It was the largest private equity deal in history, but Blackstone did not stop there: it immediately flipped hundreds of the buildings for $27 billion.Today, the wreckage of those purchases is strewn across the country…Few deals better exemplify the excesses of the commercial real estate boom than the dismemberment of the Equity Office empire, and fewer still better underscore their bitter consequences.
By Charles V. Bagli, Feb 7, 2009, NYT

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