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Blackstone buys student accommodation company in £4.7bn deal

Blackstone buys student accommodation company in £4.7bn deal

US private equity giant Blackstone has backed the UK student property sector with the £4.7bn acquisition of a student accommodation company.

It has agreed a deal to buy IQ Student Accommodation from Goldman Sachs and Wellcome Trust, in a deal that is said to be the UK’s largest-ever private real estate transaction.

IQ owns and operates 67 student accommodation sites in the UK, stretching from Dundee to Plymouth, with more than 80% of its portfolio in towns that house prestigious Russell Group universities.

The deal is “testament to our long-term belief in the UK,” Blackstone’s head of European real estate, James Seppala, said in a statement. “British higher education is globally renowned and we are delighted to invest meaningful capital to support IQ’s further growth.”

Demand for student housing in the UK, including from international students, has continued to grow despite uncertainty about Brexit.

Listed student accommodation specialists comprise Unite Group, GCP Student Living and Empiric Student Property. As reported in QuotedData’s real estate annual review, the student accommodation sector had a strong 2019 with all three listed companies recording NAV and price growth.

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