CapitaLand was formed from the merger of DBS Land and Pidemco in 2000. The two developers were holding a tad too much debt to grow in those distant days. In order to lighten its balance sheet, reinvest and “turn its capital over”, CapitaLand divested a handful of malls into Singmall Property Trust (SPT) in 2001. The then-new concept of REITs wasn’t quite sold convincingly and the attempted issue failed. Some nine months later, SPT was renamed CapitaMall Trust and the rest — as they say — is history.

Four REITs, one stapled security, one business trust and 21 years on, CapitaLand is the largest developer/asset manager in Southeast Asia, and arguably Asia, with more than $100 billion in assets and funds under management.

As many other property players emulated its strategy of spinning off REITs where possible, CapitaLand had to do something to set itself apart. In June 2019, CapitaLand completed the acquisition of Ascendas-Singbridge from Temasek Holdings as it sought a bigger, broader asset base. With a deal size of $11 billion, it marked the largest M&A within Singapore to date.

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