EQT is expanding its real estate arm into the US with the acquisition of Exeter Property for $1.87bn (€1.54bn).

The Stockholm-headquartered fund manager, which first moved into real estate in 2015, is offering $1.07bn cash and $800m new EQT shares to buy Exeter, a $10bn real estate manager focused on logistics, life science/office and residential properties in the US and Europe.

Both companies have a focus on value-add real estate, while EQT also manages private equity and infrastructure strategies.

Exeter is majority-owned by CEO and founder Ward Fitzgerald and other Exeter management team. Ward will join EQT’s executive committee.

EQT said it will combine its real estate business with Exeter to create EQT Exeter, a new real estate division that will form part of EQT Real Assets, a €14.4bn arm that currently comprises EQT Infrastructure and EQT Real Estate.

The deal creates a scaled, global real estate investment platform, adding one of the largest value-add real estate investment manager to EQT’s platform, EQT said, adding that it also strengthens its “position in North America, an important strategic region for EQT as a whole”.

Christian Sinding, CEO and managing partner of EQT, said: “We have a high bar for strategic M&A, and Exeter is one of the few opportunities we have identified which clears and well surpasses it.

“With its value-creation-focused investment approach, one of the strongest track-records in value-add real estate globally, and importantly, a people-and-performance-centric culture, we are all well-aligned. I am delighted to welcome Ward and the Exeter team to the EQT family, and we are looking forward to working together to take EQT Exeter to the next level.”

Lennart Blecher, the head of EQT Real Assets and deputy managing partner, said: “Scaling EQT’s real estate platform has been a key priority for EQT Real Assets.

“The combination of Exeter and EQT’s existing real estate business is highly complementary and creates a leader in thematic value-add real estate investments, allowing EQT to scale up local execution while also adding a prolific single asset deal platform.”

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