Student landlord business sold in deal worth £1.4bn

Liberty Heights

One of the region’s biggest landlords has been sold in a deal valued at £1.4bn.

Bristol based student accommodation specialist Unite Group has bought the Liberty Living Group from Liberty Living Holdings for £1.4 billion.

Liberty Living owns a series of students properties in Manchester including Liberty Heights, the fourth tallest tower block in the city, and the Liberty Point scheme in Manchester.

The firm has four schemes in Liverpool with 2,369 beds and five in Manchester with 2,681 beds.

Liberty Living is a subsidiary of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

The firm own purpose built student accommodation in 17 UK cities which comes to 24,021 beds.

It was independently valued at £2.2bn in May and also has rooms in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and London.

The  deal is made up  of a combination of cash and shares that will result in Canadian pension fund receiving a stake of 20% stake in the new business.

Unite also today announces a proposed placing of 26,353,664 new ordinary shares to part fund the cash component of the acquisition consideration.

Unite said the deal was a transformative acquisition which ‘leverages Unite’s scalable and best-in-class operating platform to deliver £15m of annual cost synergies from 2021.

The deal will sustain Unite’s medium term rental growth outlook, deliver material earnings accretion from 2020 onwards and enhances Unite’s earnings yield.

Richard Smith, chief executive of Unite, said: “This is a transformative acquisition which brings together the best of two companies with a wealth of expertise and experience in delivering for students and university partners.

“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.

“This, combined with our best-in-class operating platform, will mean more choice for universities and an enhanced service and welfare offer for students.

“Backed by a conservative capital structure, this acquisition accelerates and extends our earnings growth and provides opportunities to further enhance total shareholder returns.”