(Bloomberg)—Brookfield Asset Management Inc. is preparing to kick off the sale of one of the U.K.’s largest student-accommodation businesses amid heightened investor demand for such assets, according to people familiar with the matter.
The infrastructure specialist is working with advisers on the disposal of Student Roost, which could be valued at more than 3.5 billion pounds ($4.7 billion), the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. It will send marketing documents to potential suitors imminently and the sale is likely to attract private equity and strategic bidders, including Blackstone Inc. and Unite Group Plc, the people said.
Deliberations are ongoing and no final decisions on the timing of any sale have been made, according to the people. Representatives for Blackstone, Brookfield and Unite declined to comment.
Toronto-based Brookfield entered the U.K. student housing market in 2016 when it bought a portfolio of roughly 5,000 beds from Avenue Capital Group and developed it into what is now Student Roost. The business operates in more than 20 cities across the U.K. and is expected to have about 23,000 beds by the end of the 2022-23 academic year.
A sale of the Student Roost could be the largest deal in the sector since Blackstone Inc. agreed to buy the iQ Student Accommodation business from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and the Wellcome Trust for about $6 billion in 2020.
Student housing continues to be popular among financial investors in the U.K., with the number students vastly outnumbering the rooms available in purpose-built accommodation. The shortage is being exacerbated as international students return to the U.K. amid the removal of pandemic-era hurdles likes lockdowns and quarantines.
Brookfield’s real estate business in Europe managed over $45 billion of assets as of the third-quarter in 2021, having more than doubled in size since 2016. Its overall assets in Europe topped $110 billion last year.
--With assistance from Jack Sidders.
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