UK student accommodation provider Unite Group has confirmed “advanced stage” talks to buy a student housing platform owned by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) for £1.4bn (€1.6bn).

In response to recent media speculation, the London-listed company said it is discussions to buy rival firm Liberty Living but added that there can be no certainty that any transaction will be agreed.

As of 28 February 2019, Liberty Living’s net asset value (NAV) was £1.4bn.

Unite said if the cash and shares transaction goes ahead it will be priced on NAV-for-NAV basis.

CPPIB, which manages the C$368.3bn (€245.51bn) funds of the Canada Pension Plan, bought the student housing platform in 2015 for £1.1bn.

The transaction, which will be subject to shareholder approval, will make CPPIB a significant shareholder in the enlarged group, Unite said.

Founded in 2000, Liberty Living has £2.2bn of assets containing over 24,000 beds across 53 residences.

Unite’s total property portfolio at 31 December 2018 was valued at £3bn.

Unite, which trades under the name Unite Students,  currently provide homes for almost 50,000 students in 130 properties across 22 university towns and cities in England and Scotland.

Unite also has a development pipeline, which will deliver more than 6,000 beds in the next three years.