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Real Estate Grandees Win Battle for £700M Housebuilder

Aermont's Léon Bressler

A private equity firm run by some of European real estate’s best-known investors has won the auction to buy a UK housebuilder for more than £700M. 

Aermont Capital, which was set up by veteran investor Léon Bressler, is buying Keepmoat, Britain’s seventh-largest housebuilder, from Sun Capital and TDR Capital, Sky News reported

Traditional real estate investors are hot for residential developers right now. Aermont beat competition from other big names in property private equity to buy the company, including Patron Capital, Apollo Global Management and Terra Firma.

Last year Lone Star took private retirement home developer McCarty & Stone in a £600M deal. 

Keepmoat specialises in affordable housing, a particular niche of residential development that is in vogue among real estate investors: Blackstone has backed affordable housing provider Sage to the tune of more than £300M over the past few years. 

Keepmoat took on too much debt in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis and ended up being owned by its main lender, Lloyds Banking Group, before being sold to Sun and TDR in 2014. 

Aermont is best known for its investment in Pinewood Studios, the famous film studio company on whose west London lots the James Bond franchise is filmed. 

It took the company private for around £325M in 2016. Since then, the value has increased to more than £1B. The company signed long leases with Disney and Netflix, which will rent space at Pinewood Studios. 

Bressler is the French executive who grew Unibail-Rodamco into Europe’s biggest property company before leaving in 2007 to set up Aermont. The senior management team also comprises former Norges Bank director Paul Golding and former Morgan Stanley director Vincent Rouget.

Related Topics: Aermont Capital, Keepmoat