Brookfield Asset Management Inc. BAM-A-T has sold a British-based student-housing company to two institutional investors, the payoff from several years of building the business from scratch.
GIC Private Ltd., which is Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and Greystar Real Estate Partners LLC, a U.S.-based rental-housing company, will acquire Student Roost from one of Brookfield’s private real estate funds.
The two buyers describe Student Roost as Britain’s third-largest purpose-built student accommodation provider. The parties did not disclose terms of the deal, but Bloomberg News, citing unnamed sources, said it values Student Roost at roughly £3.3-billion ($5.3-billion).
Student Roost’s portfolio has more than 23,000 beds with a development pipeline of 3,000 more in multiple cities in Britain.
Brookfield started its British student-housing business in 2016 when it acquired a 13-property portfolio as a base. Brookfield said the investment “addressed undersupply in key university cities to meet the growing demand from international students.” Brookfield said it believed demand for housing would continue to be strong as the globally mobile student population grew.
In an online profile of the business, Brookfield said it transformed a collection of independent properties into a leading national developer and operator with a recognized brand. Brookfield doubled the size of the portfolio in the first year and then created a centralized operating business with finance, marketing, operations, development and acquisitions functions.
Brookfield then used the operating model behind Student Roost in other European markets, it said.
In a joint statement with the buyers, Brookfield’s Brad Hyler, the head of its European real estate business, said, “Over the past six years, we have invested to transform Student Roost from a small portfolio of externally-managed assets into one of the U.K.’s largest [student-housing] providers with fully integrated operations, growth, sales and marketing capabilities. ... Student Roost is now a brand that appeals to a diverse and growing student base.”
In a statement, Mark Allnutt, Greystar’s senior managing director for Europe, said his company has been active in Britain since 2013 with ownership of various brands and companies. Greystar has more than 120,000 student beds globally, he said, and it’s “one of our highest conviction investment strategies globally.”
Singapore’s GIC “is one of our most important global investment partners,” he said.
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