26th February 2020, London – Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division (“Goldman Sachs”) and the Wellcome Trust (“Wellcome”) today announced the sale of iQ Student Accommodation (“iQ”) to Blackstone for £4.66 billion. The transaction is the largest ever private real estate transaction in the UK and subject to regulatory approvals.
iQ is one of the UK’s leading providers of Purpose Built Student Accommodation. It was formed in 2006 with Wellcome as one of the founding investors, and merged with Goldman Sachs' student housing business in 2016.
Today the company owns and manages more than 28,000 beds across the UK, with a focus on Russell Group cities, and with a development pipeline in excess of 4,000 beds all located in cities of highest student growth and demand. iQ’s portfolio of purpose-built assets is concentrated in London, where iQ is the largest owner of student accommodation, and other leading U.K. university cities - Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Edinburgh and Birmingham.
iQ’s integrated operating platform combines a market leading focus on customer service and digital innovation, with continuing investment in its high-quality accommodation portfolio.
Rob Roger, CEO of iQ Student Accommodation, said: “I am delighted to be working with a partner of Blackstone’s calibre, as we continue to deliver our ambitious growth plans. I’d like to thank Goldman Sachs and Wellcome, whose support has allowed iQ to grow into the world-class business it is today; with a market-leading portfolio concentrated in those cities of strongest student demand, and a unique student accommodation experience that sets us apart. With student numbers in the UK at an all-time high, and growth set to continue in the coming years, there has never been a more exciting time to be a leading player in the student accommodation sector.”
Richard Spencer, Managing Director at Goldman Sachs, said: “Over the course of our ownership, iQ has become the UK’s leading provider of high-quality student accommodation. The company’s focus on customer service and continued investment in the platform has enabled iQ to become a leader in the sector and provide an outstanding experience to students. We are proud to have been part of that journey alongside iQ’s excellent management team and our valued partners at Wellcome.”
Peter Pereira Gray, CEO and Managing Partner, Investment Division, Wellcome, said: “Wellcome has invested steadily in iQ from its inception 14 years ago. Over this time, including most recently in partnership with Goldman Sachs, iQ has grown to become one of the best student housing companies in the UK. I am confident iQ will continue to deliver an excellent experience for its customers under new ownership.”
James Seppala, Head of Real Estate Europe at Blackstone, said: “This acquisition is a continuation of our strategy to invest in high-quality assets and businesses in the U.K. and testament to our long-term belief in the UK. British higher education is globally renowned and we are delighted to invest meaningful capital to support iQ’s further growth and continue to deliver the highest quality accommodation for students across the country.”
Goldman Sachs International, Morgan Stanley & Co. International plc and Eastdil Secured served as financial advisors to the Sellers and Jones Day as legal counsel. Bank of America and Citi served as financial advisors and Savills served as property adviser to Blackstone and Kirkland & Ellis and Gowling WLG served as legal counsel.
About iQ Student Accommodation
iQ is one of the leading providers of private purpose-built student accommodation in the UK, and owns and operates 67 student premises in 27 towns and cities. Our student accommodation is well-located – with 84% of our portfolio value in Russell Group cities and 52% in London - and high quality, providing the best home-from-home environment for 28,000 university students from all over the world. We want to give students peace of mind by creating safe, comfortable environments. We have staff and security teams at each residence, on hand and on-site 24/7. We make sure that it is as easy as possible for students to become part of their new community by providing shared social and study spaces, free leisure facilities, gyms and events. https://www.iqstudentaccommodation.com/
About Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division
Founded in 1869, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm. Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division (MBD) is the primary center for the firm’s long-term principal investing activity. MBD is one of the leading private capital investors in the world with investments across private equity, infrastructure, private debt, growth equity and real estate.
Wellcome exists to improve health by helping great ideas to thrive, and is a politically and financially independent foundation. Wellcome’s mission is funded solely from its global, diverse portfolio designed to exist in perpetuity. It has net investment assets of over £26 billion as at 30 September 2019.
About Blackstone Real Estate
Blackstone is a global leader in real estate investing. Blackstone’s real estate business was founded in 1991 and has $163 billion of investor capital under management. Blackstone is one of the largest property owners in the world, owning and operating assets across every major geography and sector, including logistics, rental housing, office, hospitality and retail.
iQ Press Contacts
T: +44 7827 895 654
Goldman Sachs Press Contacts
T: +44 207 774 4080
Wellcome Press Contacts
T: +44 (0)20 7611 8866
E: [email protected]
Blackstone Press Contacts
T: +44 7810 501027
E: [email protected]om
T: +44 7778 487939
E: [email protected].com