Wednesday 6 November 2019 11:36 am

Competition and Markets Authority approves £1.4bn Unite Students acquisition of Liberty Living

The UK competition watchdog has approved the £1.4bn acquisition of student accommodation provider Liberty Living by rival firm Unite Students.

The Competition and Markets Authority announced today that it has decided not to escalate its investigation into the merger to a stage two inquiry after seeking comment from interested parties on whether the take over could reduce competition.

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Unite said the acquisition of Liberty Living, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) , is expected to be completed at the end of the month. 

Following the deal, CPPIB will appoint its London-based real estate investments managing director Thomas Jackson to the board of the enlarged group. 

Unite said the combined group is expected to deliver cost synergies of £4m next year and £15m per year from 2021.  

Richard Smith, chief executive of Unite Students, said: “We are delighted that our acquisition of Liberty Living has been approved by the CMA.

“This is a transformative acquisition which brings together the best of two companies with a wealth of expertise and experience in delivering for students and university partners. 

“The enlarged group will be well positioned to meet the growing need for affordable, high quality student accommodation in university towns and cities where demand is strong.” 

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Unite currently has approximately 130 student properties across 22 university towns in England and Scotland, providing accommodation for almost 50,000 students.

The developer is aiming to add an extra 6,000 beds to its portfolio in the next three years.