Brookfield, Greystar Explore Bids for U.K. Student Dorms Giant
(Bloomberg) -- Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and Greystar Real Estate Partners LLC are among suitors considering bids for U.K. student housing provider iQ Student Accommodation Ltd., which could fetch about 4 billion pounds ($5.3 billion), according to people familiar with the matter.
Blackstone Group Inc. is also planning to bid, said some of the people, who asked not to be identified because the details aren’t public. As well as seeking buyers, the student housing group backed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is mulling a public listing in London next year, they said.
U.S. developer Greystar already has a small stake in the U.K. student accommodation business and is interested in buying more of the firm, according to a person familiar with the matter. iQ was formed after Wellcome Trust merged its student accommodation business with Prodigy Living, owned by Greystar and Goldman.
Global real estate investors are piling into student housing in Europe, lured by bigger returns than they can achieve from offices and warehouses where prices are near record highs. Such alternative real estate assets also appeal to pension and sovereign wealth funds seeking properties that are less affected by the ups and downs of the economic cycle.
Two of the U.K.’s biggest providers of student accommodation, Unite Group Plc and Liberty Living Group Plc, last month completed a merger in a 1.4 billion-pound deal.
Sky News reported Blackstone’s interest earlier Thursday. iQ’s owners have hired HSBC Holdings Plc and Citigroup Inc. to manage the IPO, with Panmure Gordon & Co. Ltd. and Peel Hunt as co-managers, Sky reported, citing sources it didn’t identify.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.