Blackstone to close UK’s largest private RE deal with £4.66bn iQ buyout

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Private equity giant Blackstone has bought iQ Student Accommodation from Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking and Wellcome Trust in a £4.66bn deal, believed to be largest ever private real estate transaction in the UK.

Founded in 2006 with Wellcome Trust’s backing, iQ provides purpose built student accommodation for the UK market.

The company was merged with Goldman Sachs’ student housing business in 2016.

iQ now manages a portfolio of purpose-built assets covering more than 28,000 beds across the UK.

The business also has a development pipeline representing in excess of 4,000 beds located in cities with high demand.

Blackstone real estate head James Seppala 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.”

Blackstone’s real estate business was founded in 1991 and has $163bn of investor capital under management.

In September last year, the firm pulled in a record $20.5bn to close the biggest private equity real estate fund ever raised.

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