Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division and the Wellcome Trust have completed the sale of iQ Student Accommodation to Blackstone for €5.22bn (£4.66bn). The transaction is the largest ever private real estate transaction in the UK and subject to regulatory approvals. iQ is one of the UK’s leading providers of Purpose Built Student Accommodation. It was formed in 2006 with Wellcome as one of the founding investors, and merged with Goldman Sachs' student housing business in 2016.
Today the company owns and manages more than 28,000 beds across the UK, with a focus on Russell Group cities, and with a development pipeline in excess of 4,000 beds all located in cities of highest student growth and demand. iQ’s portfolio of purpose-built assets is concentrated in London, where iQ is the largest owner of student accommodation, and other leading U.K. university cities - Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Edinburgh and Birmingham.
Rob Roger, CEO of iQ Student Accommodation, said: “I am delighted to be working with a partner of Blackstone’s calibre, as we continue to deliver our ambitious growth plans. I’d like to thank Goldman Sachs and Wellcome, whose support has allowed iQ to grow into the world-class business it is today; with a market-leading portfolio concentrated in those cities of strongest student demand, and a unique student accommodation experience that sets us apart. With student numbers in the UK at an all-time high, and growth set to continue in the coming years, there has never been a more exciting time to be a leading player in the student accommodation sector.”
James Seppala, Head of Real Estate Europe at Blackstone, said: “This acquisition is a continuation of our strategy to invest in high-quality assets and businesses in the U.K. and testament to our long-term belief in the UK. British higher education is globally renowned and we are delighted to invest meaningful capital to support iQ’s further growth and continue to deliver the highest quality accommodation for students across the country.”