Blackstone has bought a £4.66bn (€5.53bn) UK student housing provider owned by Goldman Sachs and the Wellcome Trust.
Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division and Wellcome said the disposal of iQ Student Accommodation, which is the largest ever private real estate transaction in the UK, is subject to regulatory approvals.
The purpose-built student accommodation provider was formed in 2006 with Wellcome as one of the founding investors. The company merged with Goldman Sachs’ student housing business in 2016.
The company owns and manages more than 28,000 beds across the UK with a development pipeline in excess of 4,000 beds all located in cities of highest student growth and demand.
James Seppala, head of real estate Europe at Blackstone, said: “This acquisition is a continuation of our strategy to invest in high-quality assets and businesses in the UK and testament to our long-term belief in the UK.
“British higher education is globally renowned and we are delighted to invest meaningful capital to support iQ’s further growth and continue to deliver the highest quality accommodation for students across the country.”
Rob Roger, CEO of iQ Student Accommodation, said: “I am delighted to be working with a partner of Blackstone’s calibre, as we continue to deliver our ambitious growth plans.
“I’d like to thank Goldman Sachs and Wellcome, whose support has allowed iQ to grow into the world-class business it is today; with a market-leading portfolio concentrated in those cities of strongest student demand, and a unique student accommodation experience that sets us apart.”
Richard Spencer, managing director at Goldman Sachs, said: “The company’s focus on customer service and continued investment in the platform has enabled iQ to become a leader in the sector and provide an outstanding experience to students.”
Peter Pereira Gray, CEO and managing partner, investment division, Wellcome, said: “Wellcome has invested steadily in iQ from its inception 14 years ago. Over this time, including most recently in partnership with Goldman Sachs, iQ has grown to become one of the best student housing companies in the UK.”