Oxford Properties to rename Investa fund as it eyes Australian expansion

Oxford Properties is renaming the Investa Office Fund, having successfully taken the A$4.5bn (€2.85bn) Australian listed vehicle private, and plans to rebalance its portfolio.

The real estate arm of Canadian pension fund OMERS announced today that it had completed the A$3.4bn transaction and will rename the fund Oxford Investa Property Partners.

Oxford Properties said the acquisition of the 19-asset portfolio gives it “an immediate and substantial presence in the Australian market”.

A source close to the deal said Oxford Properties had been seeking to build a presence in Australia through one-off, large transactions.

Earlier this year, the company was chosen as the preferred party to co-invest in developer Grocon’s Central Barangaroo project in Sydney’s waterfront – but the project is at the centre of a legal tussle over harbour views.

Oxford Properties described the Investa acquisition as its “first step in building significant and diversified long-term exposure to Australia”.

Paul Brundage, head of Europe and Asia-Pacific at Oxford Properties, said: “We see a lot of runway to grow our business in Australia, leveraging the immediate scale created by this transaction.”

It is the first time Oxford Properties has taken a listed company private, and the company was able to see off competition from seasoned take-private specialist Blackstone.

The source emphasised that, while it was a new approach for Oxford Properties, its parent, the C$98.9bn (€65.4bn) OMERS, had extensive experience of taking companies private in other asset classes.

Oxford Properties will become strategic asset manager of the fund but is retaining the existing Investa Office Management platform, which will continue to manage the platform.

Oxford Properties said this would “ensure continuity for customers, and reflects Oxford’s high level of confidence in the quality and expertise of the Investa team”.

Brundage said “The Investa team has done outstanding work in building a high-quality portfolio and strong relationships. It shares our vision of connecting people to exceptional places and are a natural partner in the asset management of this portfolio.”

Jonathan Callaghan, CEO of Investa, said, “We have had a very positive experience getting to know the Oxford team and are pleased with the strong synergies between our two businesses.”

Oxford Properties also revealed it intended to sell a number of non-core properties to reposition the portfolio and recycle capital to fund future growth. Further announcements on this activity are expected in the coming months, it said.

The company said it will “continue to pursue further origination opportunities in Australia”, and these could include build-to-rent residential and industrial-warehouse assets, as part of its global plans to build exposure to the sectors.

 

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