AXA IM - Real Assets to buy French student housing operator Kley

AXA Investment Managers - Real Assets has strengthened its position in the French student housing market with the acquisition of Groupe Kley.

The €85bn real asset manager said it has agreed to buy the student housing and co-living operator, and its portfolio of student residences across France, from funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management.

Financial details were undisclosed.

Kley was created by alternative investment management firm Oaktree in 2014.

Kley’s portfolio comprises 2,500 beds across seven operational residences, plus a secured pipeline of 3,300 beds across 14 residences, many of which are currently under construction.

AXA IM - Real Assets – which already manages a global student housing portfolio of over 15,000 beds – said it will become the long-term partner of Kley and will support its management team in its strategy to further expand the company.

AXA IM - Real Assets said the acquisition is part of its plan to invest in alternative asset classes and platforms. Last month, the manager entered the Australian student accommodation market, where it has partnered with Scape. In Sept 2017, it also bought Spain’s largest student accommodation platform Resa.

John O’Driscoll, European head of transactions at AXA IM - Real Assets, said the latest transaction gives the firm an immediate leadership position in the highly attractive French student housing market and the opportunity to build further scale with an experienced management team.

“The transaction also shows our willingness to invest in operational platforms, particularly in alternative asset classes, to access attractive opportunities for our clients.

“It is clear evidence of our ability to secure unique investment opportunities using our strong reputation, combined local and global sector expertise and complex transaction experience.”

Jean-Baptiste Mortier, CEO of Groupe Kley, said: “Since the beginning of our story with Oaktree, we have continuously been thinking forward with the students’ needs at the heart of our strategy.

“AXA IM - Real Assets shares the same vision and our strong commitment to innovate and adapt their new ways of life.”

Vincent Catherine, managing director at Oaktree, said: “Five years ago, we launched the Kley platform from scratch with our first site in Caen.

”Over time we have assembled a talented team led by Jean Baptiste Mortier, defined a differentiated product, and developed a tier-one portfolio of residences so that Kley has become a unique asset in the student housing market.”

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