Oxford Properties, the real estate arm of Canadian pension fund OMERS, is understood to be in talks to buy €5.3bn European property fund manager M7 Real Estate.

M7 confirmed to IPE Real Assets that it was “in exclusive negotiations” over a potential acquisition that “would facilitate the continued growth of the M7 Real Estate platform across Europe”, but declined to disclose the identity of the prospective buyer.

Oxford Properties declined to comment, but a source close to the matter confirmed that the Canadian institution was indeed in talks.

A takeover would give the investor – which has been increasing its activities in Asia-Pacific recently – a greater presence in Europe and a potential move into third-party fund management.

Takeover talks prompted the postponement of the initial public offering (IPO) of Mailbox REIT, which was due to list on the London-based International Property Securities Exchange (IPSX) this month.

The board of Mailbox REIT, which owns a large mixed-use property in Birmingham, announced the postponement today, citing the potential takeover as the reason.

M7, founded by Richard Croft in 2009, is the ultimate beneficial owner of the Mailbox property and is line to act as asset manager once it is listed.

The Mailbox REIT board said it and M7 was “committed to the IPO” and the prospective investor is “supportive of it”, but it was deemed “prudent and fair to prospective shareholders in the company to wait until there is certainty regarding any potential transaction”.

Mailbox REIT, which was due to be the first IPO on IPSX, said it would make a further announcement once there was more clarity, which is expected in January.

Croft is a non-executive director of IPSX and told IPE Real Assets that the new exchange – which enables the listing of individual property assets – had “the capacity to be Britain’s next unicorn”.

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