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Blackstone pays £969m for student digs firm GCP Student Living


Blackstone pays £969m for student digs firm: Private equity giant snaps up another UK bargain

The world’s largest private equity firm has made its second swoop in a matter of weeks on a FTSE 250 property company.

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

GCP has accepted the deal and has urged shareholders to get behind it too.

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

FTSE 250 St Modwen Properties, which builds houses and owns lucrative warehouses, agreed a £1.3billion takeover from New York-based Blackstone in late June.

GCP’s shares surged 12.5 per cent, or 24p, to 216p last night – slightly above the 213p offer price.

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

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

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

IQ, which is controlled by Blackstone, will get six in places including Greenwich and Mile End in London, and Brighton.

This will give APG around 61 per cent of the group and Blackstone 39 per cent.

A spokesman for GCP’s board said the deal had come at a good moment because, while the Covid vaccine rollout would likely boost university attendance in the next academic year, there were still challenges ahead.

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

Earlier this year it bought Bourne Leisure, the owner of Butlin’s and Haven, thought to be worth £3billion.

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