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Unite Group acquires student housing platform from CPPIB for £1.4bn

Unite Group has acquired Liberty Living, a student housing platform owned by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) for £1.4bn (€1.6bn), the companies have announced.

Last week, Unite, which trades under the name Unite Students, confirmed “advanced stage” talks to buy Liberty Living in a cash and shares transaction.

In a statement today, CPPIB said it will receive C$1.3bn (€880m) net proceeds from the disposal of the student accommodation business and will retain a 20% stake in the combined group. 

Unite said it intends to raise £240m by way of a share placing to part fund the acquisition.

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Thomas Jackson, managing director, real estate investments at CPPIB, said: “Through this transaction, we are able to continue our investment in the student housing sector within the UK across a broader, more diverse and stable portfolio and with additional development exposure, which fits well within our global real estate strategy.”

CPPIB, which manages the C$368.3bn funds of the Canada Pension Plan, bought the student housing platform in 2015 for £1.1bn.

CPPIB said two European assets within Liberty Living (Valencia, Spain and Bremen, Germany) sit outside of the transaction perimeter and are in the process of being marketed for sale by Liberty Living.

Richard Smith, CEO of Unite, said: “By combining two highly complementary portfolios, the enlarged group will be well positioned to meet the growing need for affordable, high-quality student accommodation in university towns and cities where demand is strong.”

On completion, the combined group will manage a total of over 73,000 beds across 173 properties in 27 UK towns and cities.

 

Related images

  • Liberty Living, Liberty Gardens Birmingham

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