UK - UNITE, the UK student accommodation group, has completed the acquisition of a 49% stake in the UNITE Student Village (USV) joint venture it formed with Parkmetro, a subsidiary of Lehman Brothers.

The deal, worth £6.2m (€7.4m) in cash, will see UNITE take full control of the joint venture and its assets.

In addition, UNITE - which has APG as a major shareholder - has arranged a new £38m, five-year facility with HSBC.

Existing senior debt in USV, totalling £45m and due to mature in 2012, was repaid at completion with £3m of the £7m reduction in senior debt funded from cash resources within USV acquired as part of the purchase, the student accommodation group said.

Joe Lister, UNITE's chief financial officer, said the deal marked an "important step" for the group, enabling it to take full ownership control of a "quality property at an attractive price".

The joint venture, formed in 2004, originally developed and operated two student villages in Leeds and Sheffield but now owns only one remaining asset, the Forge, in Sheffield.

Lister said: "The Forge has shown strong operational performance and is a key asset within the Sheffield market, and taking our ownership to 100% is consistent with our aim to simplify our balance sheet."

The acquisition of the remaining 49% stake in the USV joint venture follows the move made by UNITE in August last year to sell off assets worth as much as £150m (€172.5m) as part of its plan to streamline its portfolio toward high-end universities in 'core' locations.

In a previous interview with IP Real Estate, UNITE director Paul Harris said the company planned to sell older assets and those "not as closely allied to core universities".