It hurts me how much thought you've put into this lmao...

Who cares? It is industry standard verbiage to refer to it as real estate private equity/private equity real estate. It is by definition "private equity" in that you are investing equity slugs, privately. The term "private equity" isn't some exclusive label that's limited to only the absolute, most best, prestigiousest of prestige-having firms (if the sarcasm isn't obvious, prestige isn't a thing in this industry).

Companies are assets to an investor...

Echoing CREnadian. Would go so far to say that the culture of the Real Estate Finance industry sits at direct odds with the Corporate Investment Banking/Private Equity complex. This business is largely a meritocracy where your track record is far more valuable than a prestigious pedigree. The support staff class (I.E. no real deal making responsibility, just write memos, powerpoint, etc) will have an easier time getting a support staff/analyst job with the pedigree, but it doesn't really matter.

Raising equity and deploying it into commercial real estate deals as an LP is... private equity. Raising equity and deploying it into your own deals as a sponsor is also private equity. Whether the target is a value add shopping center, oil field in Texas, or a growthy SAAS business in Silicon Valley, it's the same concept of raising equity and using a lot of leverage to acquire and grow an asset. It's all general business activity.

I may be biased because I have a strong distaste for people who leverage other people's money and personal guaranty's to make themselves rich on fees, not bringing any value to a transaction, but real estate finance is finding an opportunity, taking risks, and getting it done.

As others have mentioned nobody really cares, but for the college students who really care, the term "Private Equity" is quite self explanatory...the equity is opposed to as the name suggests, technically any equity that comes from private sources is private equity. I know it is very confusing at first, but when you really read and analyze the name itself, "Private Equity," it makes much more sense.

By your definition of "Private Equity," Blackstone/KKR/etc... should just be called "Buying Stocks" instead of Private Equity...because isn't that what they are? Just Buying a lot of stock in a company?

People have mentioned it above, but "private equity" is simply describing where the money comes from, not the direction of where the money goes necessarily. Public equities are publicly traded assets with easily available information to everyone. Private equities are privately traded assets, whether it be buildings/companies/infrastructure/ or even art if you so choose. To say that real estate private equity groups at BX or KKR is different than a MM fund shows that you aren't understanding what they do. Blackstone owns billions of dollars of individual assets, but rather than buy an apartment complex $50MM at a time which is a waste of time for them given their size, they will buy massive portfolios or entire companies that already own real estate. They do this simply for saving time, not in some unique fashion that is drastically different than other funds. The cap tables are fundamentally the same where you have a Sponsor (GP) and Investor (LP), and this happens at all levels and in all asset classes of PE

I can't tell if you are writing this to look down on RE as an asset class or just not knowing what people do in the industry, but it's very similar to the "high prestige" of IB and Corp PE. IB are just like real estate agents, you're only there to sell an asset to an investor and make pretty PowerPoints and graphics so an investor can look past them. The same way that CRE brokers put together underwriting and graphics packages for RE Investors. Do they provide significant value? Only to the extent that an asset gets put on an investor's radar, other than that not necessarily. 

The only true outlier in "high finance" between HF, PE, IB, and RE, is HF because of the way they invest. Everyone else is much more similar than they are different. 

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