Carlyle Group sells London student housing company

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The Carlyle Group has sold a London student housing platform for £532m (€732m).

The investment manager said it sold its Pure Student Living business to LetterOne Treasury Services, a privately owned Luxembourg-based vehicle.

Previous UK media reports said three Russian billionaires were last month expected to buy the portfolio.

The sale, Carlyle said, will be completed in two stages. 

Four operational assets – at Highbury, Hammersmith, Bankside and City – are initially being sold, with the deal to fully complete when a fifth asset, Pure Whitechapel, which has 417 rooms, is delivered in August.

Pure Student Living includes 2,170 rooms at present.  

The portfolio is managed by developer Generation Estates. 

According to advisory firm JLL, the developer’s activities account for around 21% of London’s direct-let, purpose-built student accommodation.

Mark Harris, managing director at Carlyle, said the company first entered the London student accommodation market five years ago, “at a time when there was little equity, debt or appetite for development”.

“The sale of this high-quality portfolio, against a far more robust and certain economic backdrop, represents a successful result for this investment,” it added.

Carlyle bought the Highbury site in 2010 for its third pan-European real estate fund, Carlyle European Real Estate Partners III.

Carlyle said it remained committed to student housing as a long-term institutional asset class, with assets in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague managed under The Student Hotel brand.

As reported last yearCarlyle is looking for a joint venture partner on a 1.4m sq ft mixed-use central London development scheme.

The investment manager appointed Knight Frank to find an investor with which to partner on the Bankside Quarter project south of the Thames after it had received “unsolicited enquiries” from Middle Eastern, Asia-Pacific and North American investors.

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