Blackstone pays £969m for student digs firm: Private equity giant inks another UK deal


Blackstone pays £969m for student digs firm: Private equity giant inks another UK deal

The world’s largest private equity firm has hit the FTSE 250 property company for the second time in weeks.

Blackstone has partnered with Dutch pension fund manager APG Asset Management to buy student hall operator GCP Student Living for £969 million.

GCP has accepted the deal and urged shareholders to step back.

Private equity firm Blackstone has teamed up with Dutch pension fund manager APG Asset Management to buy student hall operator GCP Student Living for £969m.

FTSE 250 St. Modven Properties, which builds homes and owns attractive warehouses, agreed in late June to acquire New York-based Blackstone for £1.3 billion.

Shares of GCP rose 12.5 percent, or 24p, to 216p last night — slightly higher than the 213p offer price.

Blackstone is led by billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, who has a net worth of £22 billion. He co-founded Blackstone with Peter Peterson, who died in 1985, in 2018.

GCP confirmed earlier this month that it was in talks with the fund backed by Blackstone and APG, which is GCP’s largest shareholder.

If the acquisition goes through, APG’s division Scrap Living will get five sites – including buildings in Shoreditch and Bloomsbury in London and Guildford in Surrey.

IQ, which is controlled by Blackstone, will be found in six locations including Greenwich and Mile End and Brighton in London.

This will give APG about 61 per cent of the group’s contribution and Blackstone’s 39 per cent.

A spokesman for GCP’s board said the deal was struck at a good moment, as the COVID vaccine rollout would increase university attendance in the next academic year, yet there were challenges ahead.

Blackstone has previously focused most of its attention on leisure companies in the UK.

Earlier this year it bought Bourne Leisure, owner of Butlin & Haven, for £3 billion.

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