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Birmingham Sale Unlocks £3.3B Student Deal

GIC and Greystar have been given PBSA all-clear by the CMA.

The Competition and Markets Authority has cleared the proposed £3.3B acquisition of Student Roost by Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and U.S. investor Greystar.

The news comes after the deal was investigated because of concerns that it could reduce competition among student housing players in Birmingham because the Greystar-GIC joint venture already has significant holdings in Birmingham.

However, to resolve the issue the Greystar-GIC JV has agreed to sell one or both of Student Roost’s two Birmingham properties, The Heights and The Old Fire Station, which have a combined 1,392 beds.

The CMA has deemed this resolution “as comprehensive a solution as is reasonable and practicable” and said in an announcement on 19 December that the merger would not be referred for further investigation.

It added that the undertakings “are appropriate to remedy, mitigate or prevent the substantial lessening of competition, or any adverse effect which has or may have resulted from the transaction, or may be expected to result from it.”

GIC first announced in May that it had formed a joint venture with Greystar to acquire Student Roost, Britain’s third-largest student accommodation provider with a 23,000-bed portfolio, from a private fund managed by Canada’s Brookfield.

Student Roost was founded in 2017 and currently operates more than 50 properties in 22 cities across the UK.

In September, an investigation of the deal was launched by the CMA, which had jurisdiction to review the transaction because Student Roost’s turnover in the UK exceeds £70M.

For South Carolina-based Greystar, the second-largest student accommodation provider in the U.S. after American Campus Communities, the anticipated deal with GIC adds to a portfolio of more than 120,000 student beds globally.

Once completed, the acquisition will also secure Student Roost’s 3,000-bed development pipeline for the joint venture.