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Greystar In Exclusive Talks To Acquire Education Realty Trust For $3.1B

Student housing REIT Education Realty Trust is in exclusive talks to sell to multifamily owner Greystar Real Estate Partners for $3.1B, according to circulating reports.

EdR's Honors College and Sawtooth Hall at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho

Charleston, South Carolina-based Greystar, which has more than $10B worth of equity commitments in U.S. assets and a global portfolio of 111,000 units worth $26B, offered $41.50 per share for the REIT, but an official deal has yet to be struck, the Wall Street Journal reports.

A joint venture led by Scion Group and Harrison Street Real Estate Capital also bid to acquire EdR, but Greystar’s exclusivity agreement has kept the group removed from negotiations.

This deal marks yet another move by institutional players looking to get into the student housing space. A joint venture led by Greystar and Goldman Sachs acquired three student housing properties for $245M at a 4.1% cap rate from American Campus Communities earlier this year.

The deal signals continued strength in the student housing sector, which investors are viewing as a defensive strategy this late in the cycle. As institutional players look for safety and places to store their capital ahead of the looming downturn, which many economists expect will hit in 2020, student housing has become increasingly attractive and has been dubbed “recession proof” since college enrollment and demand for these assets tend to increase during economic downturns. 

EdR has a portfolio of 42,300 beds on and off campus across 50 universities in the U.S. The REIT’s stock was up 9% when news of Greystar’s bid broke Wednesday; Friday it closed down 0.14% to $40.27.