Valad Europe, the leading independent diversified real estate investment manager in Europe, has acquired from GE Capital Real Estate, the Investment Adviser and Asset Manager of its Polish Retail Fund. The Fund is a closed ended fund comprising six high quality shopping centers and three hypermarkets, totaling 300,000 m², located in seven of Poland's key cities including Warsaw, Kraków and Wroclaw.
With the addition of these retail assets to Valad Europe's AUM, the CEE region will become Valad Europe's third largest region in terms of AUM, with approximately 800 million of retail, logistics and light industrial real estate.
The transaction is Valad Europe's first major corporate acquisition since becoming a private, independent company nearly one and a half years' ago. It enables Valad to further expand the range of real estate investment products it offers to its existing and potential investor partners encompassing the retail, office, logistics and light industrial sectors, with retail representing nearly 20%, office 25%, logistics 21% and light industrial 33% of total Assets Under Management ('AUM').
The acquisition has been funded from Valad's balance sheet capital reserves, including a co-investment in the Fund alongside existing investors, thereby aligning Valad's interests to those of its investor partners. While the acquisition encompasses the Luxembourg-based Investment Adviser and the Polish-based Asset Management team supporting the activity of the Fund's portfolio, GE Capital Real Estate will continue to retain a substantial holding in the Fund.
As part of the acquisition, Thierry Leleu, formerly General Manager Europe, GE Capital Real Estate Investment Management, joins Valad Europe as Head of Funds Management and will join Valad Europe's Executive Committee. David Kirkby, Valad Europe's current Head of Funds Management, has been appointed to the new role of Chief Investment Officer. Both Thierry and David report to Valad Europe's Chief Executive Officer, Marty McCarthy.
Joining Valad Europe's CEE team will be the high-caliber GE Capital Real Estate Poland team, based in Warsaw, which has managed the Fund since its inception and has excellent retail sector expertise and track record in Poland. Their addition significantly enhances Valad Europe's platform and capabilities in CEE, increasing the existing Valad team to more than 30 people.
Marty McCarthy, Valad Europe's Chief Executive Officer, commented: "This is an important acquisition for Valad Europe, which expands our expertise as a diversified core-plus and value-add real estate investment manager, with the depth and track record in managing office, retail, light industrial and logistics assets across Europe.
It is a key element of our growth strategy to acquire funds, GPs and companies which add value to our platform. In completing this acquisition, we are excited to acquire both a high quality team and the management of a portfolio of Polish retail assets, which will enable us to accelerate growth in a region and in an asset class that Valad and our investors believe will continue to enjoy attractive long term growth prospects. GE has been a long standing partner of ours i