GLOBAL - US property firm Behringer Harvard has landed its second major pension fund investor after the KRW333trn (€221bn) National Pension Service of Korea (NPS) acquired shareholdings of up to 45% in 15 residential portfolios belonging to one of its real estate investment trusts (REITs).

Milky Way, a joint venture between NPS and the $23bn (€17.7bn) real estate investment manager Heitman, simultaneously acquired interests in six multi-family residential schemes for $178.6m and 45% shareholdings as a co-investor in 12 schemes. Documents deposited with US regulator SEC by Behringer Harvard confirm some of the portfolios, located across eight US states but with a majority in California and Texas, overlap.

Combined, the acquisitions are worth more than $1bn, according to Behringer Harvard. The firm will retain a 55% shareholding in the REIT, which will continue as the operating manager for the assets.

Heitman senior managing director Lewis Ingall said he had chosen Behringer Harvard as an investment partner because of the quality of the assets, its track record with institutional co-investment partnerships, and its ability to create flexible REIT structures appropriate for institutional investors.

In a statement, Behringer Harvard chief executive Robert Aisner described the deal with NPS - which he did not name - as "especially compelling".
NPS, which covers more than 3m Koreans, is the second major pension scheme to co-invest with Behringer Harvard following a co-investment deal with PGGM's Private Real Estate Fund. PGGM eventually committed $300m to the venture, which has 15 assets.

Three of the interests acquired by NPS this week belonged to PGGM.

The Korean pension scheme last month announced it would allocate up to 12% of its portfolio in alternatives, including real estate.