Blackstone, APG-Backed Firms Agree $1.3 Billion Student Bid

U.K. student housing firms backed by Blackstone Group Inc. and APG Asset Management NV have agreed to buy GCP Student Living Plc in a deal valuing the company at 969 million pounds ($1.3 billion).

A consortium formed by iQ and Scape Living will pay 213 pence a share for the U.K. real estate investor, according to a statement Friday. GCP’s shares jumped as much as 12.5% in London trading, slightly higher than the offer’s premium to Thursday’s closing price, after the board recommended the deal to the firm’s shareholders.

Blackstone bought iQ last year in what was then the U.K.’s largest private real estate deal, while Scape Living was established with funding from APG, which already holds 11% of GCP as its largest shareholder, according to the statement. The acquisition marks growing investor interest in student housing, where a shortfall of beds relative to demand has seen interest from money managers spike in recent years.

“At a time when investment market demand for assets of this type is at an unprecedented level, despite ongoing uncertainty created by the pandemic and Brexit on international student movements, this transaction enables our shareholders to realize full value for their investment,” GCP Chairman David Hunter said in the statement.

GCP invests in large-scale student accommodation developments in London and surrounding areas, with many of its residents coming from abroad. In the 2020-21 academic year, almost three-quarters of GCP’s reservations were from overseas students, according to the statement.

Citigroup Inc. and Lazard Ltd. acted as joint financial advisers to the consortium, which is called Gemini Jersey, while Jefferies Financial Group Inc. advised GCP.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.