Tuesday 22 July 2014 8:31 pm

Nick Leslau sells Max Property Group to Blackstone for £448m

Property entrepreneur Nick Leslau has agreed to sell his fund Max Property Group to private equity giant Blackstone, in a deal valuing the company at £448m. The Aim-listed fund, which owns St Katherine’s Docks near Tower Hill, was set up in 2009 to take advantage of the distressed property market in the wake of the financial crisis. It was the biggest initial public offering in Europe that year, raising £220m from investors, including the hedge fund Och Ziff. The £447.7m deal reflects a 22 per cent premium to the value of its net assets as reported on 31 March 2014 and a 112 per cent jump in headline net asset value since 2009. Leslau said the business had been set up as “a limited life vehicle” to last until 2016 and that by selling all the assets to Blackstone it was eliminating risks from selling properties on a piecemeal basis over the next two years. “The board took the view that shareholders would prefer selling in one fell swoop,” he told City A.M. “We are not calling the top of the market, but we bought at the bottom of the market and it’s really a case of selling somewhere closer to the top of the cycle,” Leslau added. Shares jumped 7.7 per cent yesterday on the back of the acquisition, which still needs the approval of shareholders. Last month, Leslau listed his latest venture, Secure Income Reit, which specialised in properties that generated “a secure, inflation-protected income stream”. Reit has £1.4bn worth of properties, including Madame Tussauds museum, Alton Towers, Warwick Castle and around 20 private hospitals.