Last July, PGGM Infrastructure Fund announced that the company had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the leading Spanish student accommodation group RESA (Residencias de Estudiantes en España) from Greystar, AXA IM Alts, and investors represented by CBRE Investment Management.
The acquisition of RESA further strengthens PGGM’s positioning within the social infrastructure. PGGM’s Infrastructure Fund has a long track record in the student accommodation sector having built a strong and successful partnership with UPP in the UK for more than ten years, PGGM being the majority shareholder at UPP with a 60% equity stake.
Under the partnership of AXA IM Alts, CBRE IM, and Greystar during the 2017-2022 period, RESA has grown to become the largest student accommodation platform in Spain, with approximately 11,200 beds in 21 key student cities, including Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, and expanded from 33 residences to 43 (40 are currently in operation and three are under development, with expected openings in 2024 and 2025).
Stuart Bousfield, Investment Director at PGGM Infrastructure: “RESA is Spain’s leading student accommodation portfolio, with more than 30 years of track record, an excellent management team in place and considerable growth potential in one of Europe’s most undersupplied student housing markets. It will provide stable and inflation-linked returns to our clients like pension fund PFZW.’’
Natasha Mol-Knechtel, head of PPP and Social Infrastructure investments at PGGM, added: “Affordable and high-quality student accommodation is essential for a functioning education and social system and with the acquisition of RESA, we are advancing our sustainable development agenda.’’
Juan Manuel Acosta, managing director – Spain, Greystar, said: “We entered the Spanish residential real estate market in 2017 with the acquisition of RESA. Alongside our partners, we have added significant value and grown the portfolio to the multi-award-winning sustainable portfolio it is today. This would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the RESA team members who are committed to ensuring residents have the best experience at university – even during the pandemic. Moving forward, we will continue to grow our portfolio of residential and student housing assets in southern Europe via discretionary capital and other ventures.”
Line Verroken, Investment Director at CBRE IM, said: ”Since our entry into the Spanish student housing sector in 2017, we have seen a tremendous consolidation and growth opportunity as well as a strong institutionalization of the sector. We are proud to have supported the growth of RESA into a market-leading platform and are very thankful for the dedication and hard work of Greystar and the RESA employees.”
The deal comes after a structured process involving a large number of potential buyers.
BBVA (M&A and Debt Advisory), Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Legal), KPMG (Financial and Tax DD), and Savills (Technical) advised PGGM on the acquisition.
Freshfields team was led by Fernando Soto and supported by associate Carolina Vergara. Global transactions finance partner Ana López advised on the financing aspects of the acquisition with support from senior associate Victoria Bobo and counsel Enrique Carrera advising on merger control and foreign investment. The team also included Antitrust, Competition, and Trade associate Álvaro Puig.
Uría Menéndez advised BNP, CA-CIB and Santander with a team formed by London M&A-Private Equity partner Blanca Arlabán, together with a Madrid team comprising M&A- Private Equity partner Manuel Echenique, Finance senior associate Ignacio Zapata Benito, and Finance managing associates Santiago Sainz and Almudena de Medina.
On the other hand, Garrigues advised sellers.