Bahrain’s GFH buys asset manager SQ to expand US student housing play

 Bahrain’s GFH buys asset manager SQ to expand US student housing play

GFH had teamed up with SQ last year to acquire student housing assets. Photo credit: GFH

Bahrain-based investment firm GFH Financial Group has acquired a majority stake in US-based student housing management company SQ Asset Management, expanding its presence in the country’s real estate market.

The deal will help GFH add 180 employees in the US to its payroll, the company said in a statement.

GFH didn’t disclose any financial details of the deal, saying only that SQ’s founders, an unnamed alternative investment firm and private equity firm TriPost Capital Partners will also be the asset manager’s shareholders.

The deal comes after GFH teamed up with SQ in July last year to acquire a portfolio of student housing assets affiliated to US universities for $100 million. GFH, like its Bahraini peer Investcorp, has struck several real estate deals in the US over the past year.

Indeed, Hisham Alrayes, CEO of GFH, said that the firm recently completed portfolio acquisitions with SQ in excess of $300 million of student accommodation affiliated with top-rated universities in the US.

Alrayes said the SQ acquisition provides the firm with direct access to the “attractive” living space and provides it with local and “well-positioned access” in the US to help execute its real estate strategy.

“This investment is in line with GFH’s strategy of growing its presence globally by partnering and acquiring leading and well-established platforms with strong market reputations in Europe and North America. The acquisition of SQ will add to GFH significant investment and operational expertise in US real estate,” he said.

SQ Asset Management has 32 housing properties under its management, which comprise 10,300 beds across the US. These assets are valued at $1.4 billion. The company says its primary strategy is to acquire and manage high-quality purpose-built student housing assets at large public American universities.

Aman Malik

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