Blue-chip companies are fronting the money for private equity funds to buy their unwanted assets, smoothing the way for sales in an increasingly difficult merger and acquisition (M&A) deal-making environment.

Emerson Electric Co. kicked off the trend in October, loaning money for Blackstone Inc.’s takeover of its $14 billion climate technologies unit. Last month, major Swedish landlord SBB offered cheap financing to a newly-formed joint venture with Brookfield Asset Management Inc. that will absorb its roughly $4 billion education portfolio.

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