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Exeter Property Group Acquired By Swedish Firm For $1.8B

A 2018 rendering of The Chestnut, the multifamily building Exeter Property Group developed in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia

A foreign investment giant has acquired one of the Philadelphia area's largest development companies.

EQT AB has agreed to acquire privately owned Exeter Property Group for $1.8B, the Swedish firm announced in a press release on Tuesday. Based in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, EPG will continue to operate independently under the new name EQT Exeter when the deal is finalized later this year, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports.

EQT will pay $1B in cash, with $300M dedicated to refinancing EPG's outstanding debt obligations. The remainder of the buyout will be paid in new shares of EQT, which trades publicly on the Stockholm stock exchange. EQT will add Exeter's $10B of assets under management to the $63.7B worth of assets in its portfolio at the end of 2020.

EQT's share price jumped 20% to a record-high valuation of over $30B after the transaction was announced, Bloomberg reports. Though the company also announced that it had increased overall revenue by 34% over the course of 2020, the EPG acquisition was a driving factor in the Swedish company's price jump, analysts told Bloomberg. 

EPG was founded in 2006 by Liberty Property Trust alum Ward Fitzgerald and Tim Weber, and its management team still owned about 60% of the company until the sale, PBJ reports, with private equity funds managed by TA Associates controlling the other 40%.

For the first decade-plus of its existence, EPG focused almost exclusively on value-add redevelopment and new construction of distribution centers, correctly anticipating a coming sea change in consumer behavior that would put a premium on logistics, PBJ reports. In recent years, EPG has expanded its business to include office, life sciences and multifamily development, such as The Chestnut, a 30-story, 427K SF apartment building completed this summer in Philly's University City neighborhood.

EPG's investments are scattered throughout North America and Europe, including a fund for industrial and office buildings in Europe that closed in 2019 with €750M raised.