- What CMA begins investigation into Unite’s £1.4bn acquisition of Liberty Living
- Why The deal would create the UK’s largest student housing provider with a £5.2bn property portfolio
- What next Unite expects to receive clearance from the watchdog in Q4
The Competition and Markets Authority has begun an investigation into a £1.4bn deal that would create Britain’s biggest student housing provider.
Unite Group confirmed yesterday that the competition watchdog would formally examine its proposed acquisition of Liberty Living, one of its biggest rivals, from the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.
React News revealed in June that student housing giant Unite Group was to buy Liberty Living from Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in a cash and shares deal valued at around £1.4bn.
If the deal completes, the combined group will manage 73,000 beds across 173 properties in 27 UK towns and cities.
Unite said that it expected to receive clearance from the watchdog in the final quarter of the year and a statement updating on the proposed acquisition read: “We remain confident, based on the revised timetable, of delivering the previously outlined cost synergies of £4 million in 2020 and £15 million p.a. from 2021.
“Student intake in 2019/20 is expected to be in line with the record levels seen over the past few years with growth in the university cities where Unite operates. We have continued to see strongest growth in acceptances at higher tariff Universities, which have risen by 1.8% versus last year.”
As part of the deal, CPPIB will retain a 20% shareholding in the combined group, which will have a student accommodation portfolio valued at around £5.2bn.
To help fund the cash element of the deal, Unite is raising around £240m via a placing to institutional investors.
Liberty Living will be integrated into Unite’s PRISM operating platform. The two companies say they have a shared commitment to providing high quality, affordable student accommodation near universities where student demand is strongest.