Cases & Deals

Goldman sold iQ Student Accommodation dorms to Blackstone for £4.66 billion

Clients Goldman Sachs and The Wellcome Trust

On May 15, 2020, Jones Day clients Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division and the Wellcome Trust completed the sale of iQ Student Accommodation to Blackstone for £4.66 billion (US$5.73 billion), representing the largest ever private real estate transaction in the UK.

iQ is one of the UK’s leading providers of Purpose Built Student Accommodation. It was formed in 2006 with one of the world’s largest medical research charities as a founding investor, Wellcome Trust, and then merged with Goldman Sachs' student housing business in 2016. Today the company owns and manages more than 28,000 beds across the UK 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.

The deal involved many moving parts over the approximately three month period between signing and closing. Closing was conditional on EU antitrust clearance, although with the Commission announcing that it was transitioning to entirely remote working within a week of signing, clearance was not as straight forward as it normally might have been. Further, the timing of the deal is particularly significant given the education sector has been fundamentally impacted by the shelter-at-home orders and continuing uncertainty around when universities globally will be permitted to reopen. Despite these and other factors surrounding the pandemic, the seamless teamwork of our lawyers across multiple offices and practices brought the largest private real estate transaction in the UK to a successful close for our clients.

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