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If You've Got The Skills, We'll Buy Them: Global Investors Buy Specialist Companies With An Eye To Midterm Plays

Helix CEO Amy Soar and Hines Senior Managing Director and Country Head Ross Blair

International investors are on a mission to buy up UK property management platforms as they prepare midterm growth plans.

Texas-based Hines has bought Helix, one of the UK’s leading specialist commercial property management companies, to signal the launch of its new European management and operations platform. 

Simultaneously Atlanta-based U.S multifamily business Cortland has acquired Qdime Group, a UK residential property management service business with more than 30,000 units under management.

In a related move, Oxford Properties has completed the acquisition of the portfolio and management skills of investment manager M7 Real Estate, which made a name for itself as one of the canniest operators in the world of multi-let and regional industrial. The move creates a new platform under the Oxford umbrella.

Hines' acquisition of Helix, subject to regulatory approval, adds a team of 60 professionals providing the full spectrum of property management services, managing a UK-wide commercial real estate portfolio of £3.5B, spanning all asset classes.

The two companies already enjoy a close relationship, with Helix providing property management services across the majority of properties in the Hines UK portfolio.

Led by Amy Soar, the Helix board and senior management team will remain in place, with Hines Director Ivan Harrison transferring to Helix to assume the role of UK head of operations, to facilitate the integration of the two companies.  

The acquisition represents a significant milestone for Hines in Europe as it develops its management services and operations offering, the business said in a statement.

Cortland’s acquisition of Qdime offers a chance to accelerate its UK expansion, in progress since its UK debut in 2017, and its acquisition of LIV in 2019. The deal is being hailed as part of a strategy to become the UK’s leading property management business. LIV already manages around 10,000 UK build-to-rent units.

Oxford Properties agreed the acquisition of M7 Real Estate in January.

The deal equips Oxford with a specialist platform through which it can accelerate the deployment of capital into Europe and into multi-let industrial and urban logistics in particular.

M7 will remain independently managed by its current management team led by Richard Croft and David Ebbrell.