CMA approves acquisition of Liberty Living Group by The Unite Group

LONDON: The Unite Group plc announced that the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has unconditionally approved the company’s acquisition of Liberty Living Group plc for total consideration of £1.4 billion from Liberty Living Holdings Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

The Unite Group is one of the UK’s leading owners, managers and developers of student accommodation.

Following the CMA’s approval, completion of the acquisition is expected to occur at the end of November 2019, subject to satisfaction of the remaining conditions. Subject to completion, approximately 72.6 million consideration shares will be issued to CPPIB Holdco by Unite in connection with the acquisition representing 20% of Unite’s enlarged share capital.

Applications will be made to the Financial Conduct Authority and to the London Stock Exchange for admission of the Consideration Shares. It is expected that admission of the Consideration Shares will become effective at 8.00 a.m. on the business day following completion.

The Company will publish a prospectus in relation to the admission of the Consideration Shares, which will be filed with the FCA and made available to the public in accordance with the Prospectus Regulation Rules. The Company expects to publish the Prospectus in due course.

Upon completion, CPPIB Holdco will have the right to appoint one non-executive director to the board of directors of Unite in connection with its 20% shareholding in the Enlarged Group. CPPIB Holdco has nominated Thomas Jackson to join the Board as a non-executive director effective from completion.

The Company remains confident, based on this timetable, of delivering the previously outlined cost synergies of £4 million in 2020 and £15 million p.a. from 2021.

Richard Smith, Chief Executive of Unite Students, commented: “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.

This, combined with our best-in-class operating platform, will mean more choice for universities and an enhanced service and welfare offer for students.”

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