Blackstone Buys Biggest Student Housing Developer for $13B

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Blackstone is schooling everyone. 

Blackstone, one of the world’s largest asset managers, has agreed to acquire investment trust American Campus Communities (ACC), which claims to be the largest developer and owner of off-campus student housing in the United States. ACC’s portfolio comprises 166 properties in 71 leading university markets containing approximately 111,900 beds. 

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Blackstone’s capital vehicles, primarily Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust and Blackstone Property Partners, will buy all outstanding common stock of ACC for $65.47 per fully diluted share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $12.8 billion. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

ACC’s portfolio includes rooms at or near prominent colleges around the country, including Arizona State University, the University of Texas at Austin, Florida State University and the University of California – Berkeley. Approximately 24 percent of ACC’s communities are located on campuses.

Bill Bayless, American Campus Communities co-founder and CEO, said the deal delivers value to shareholders while positioning ACC to further expand 

“Through our [initial public offering], 18 years ago, we began our pioneering quest to transform the student housing sector into a mainstream, institutional asset class within the commercial real estate sector,” Bayless said in a statement. 

Student housing came out of the pandemic as more of a sure bet for investors, and the virus renewed a demand for more spacious, off-campus rooms.

Blackstone isn’t new to the student housing game. The firm started a $784 million joint venture with Landmark Properties nine months ago to recapitalize eight student housing locations totaling 5,416 beds. Blackstone also formed a partnership with Greystar Real Estate Partners in 2018 to purchase a 10,500-bed student housing portfolio for $1.2 billion, and bought 28,000-bed portfolio in the United Kingdom from Goldman Sachs in 2020 for $6 billion.

BofA Securities and KeyBanc Capital Markets are ACC’s lead financial advisers and Wells Fargo Securities, J.P. Morgan Securities and TSB Capital Advisors worked on behalf of Blackstone’s financial advisers.

Gregory Cornfield can be reached at gcornfield@commercialobserver.com.