GLOBAL - US mortgage REIT Annaly Capital Management has acquired Northcliffe's US and European asset management teams for its FIDAC investment management subsidiary.

The acquisition comes as the manager begins to implement a sale-and-leaseback strategy in what it sees as the underdeveloped pan-European market.

FIDAC's London-based European team externally manages CreXus, a commercial mortgage REIT that specialises in the sale-and-leaseback market.

FIDAC, which has $120bn (€90bn) in assets under management, sees Europe as offering the most significant potential to grow its sale-and-leaseback business.

Owner-occupiers still dominate the European market, accounting for $4trn, double the figure for the well-developed US market.

Illiquid credit markets and the growth of debt as an investable asset class have also contributed significantly to the growth of the sale-and-leaseback market.

Head of European real estate Alistair Calvert described the acquisition as "a great fit" that would allow FIDAC to expand in European direct real estate and commercial debt markets.

Although neither Annaly nor FIDAC were giving interviews this week, a source familiar with the deal said there was nothing significant about the market timing - other than it took this long to put the acquisition together.