Category Archives: Uncategorized

PineBridge Investments completes acquisition of Benson Elliot Capital Management

PineBridge Investments (‘PineBridge’), a private, global asset manager focused on active, high-conviction investing, has completed the acquisition of Benson Elliot Capital Management (‘Benson Elliot’), a UK-based private equity real estate fund manager. The acquisition was first announced on the 14th October 2020 and has now received regulatory approval.

Benson Elliot, which will now be called PineBridge Benson Elliot LLP, was founded in 2005, manages over US$3.5 billion of equity and holds a diversified portfolio currently comprised of office, retail, hotel and residential assets across Europe, including in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium and Poland. Since inception the firm has deployed a consistent asset driven, value add, risk sensitive and exit focused investment strategy.

Benson Elliot’s entire team of 40 professionals will join PineBridge, with the acquisition expanding PineBridge’s client offerings in alternatives, adding new capabilities and investment vehicles to its successful private funds, structured capital and private credit businesses.

Greg Ehret, CEO of PineBridge, said, “I am delighted to welcome the Benson Elliot team to the PineBridge family. Real estate is a strategically important asset class for institutional investors who are looking to meet their long-term investment objectives. Benson Elliot’s industry-leading expertise in European real estate will complement and diversify our firm’s investment offering allowing us to best serve our global client base.”

Marc Mogull, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer at PineBridge Benson Elliot LLP, said, “We believe this partnership will enable us to build on 15 years of success at Benson Elliot. It ensures we will remain at the forefront of the private equity real estate industry in Europe, that we continue to attract, retain and grow the best talent, and that we continue to deliver best-in-class performance. Importantly, it ensures continuity in our existing activities, respects the unique spirit and culture we’ve developed, and offers an exciting future for the team”.

PineBridge was advised by Simmons & Simmons LLP and Perella Weinberg UK Limited. Benson Elliot was advised by Travers Smith and Berkshire Global Advisors.

About PineBridge Investments:

PineBridge Investments is a private, global asset manager focused on active, high-conviction investing. We draw on the collective power of our experts in each discipline, market, and region of the world through an open culture of collaboration designed to identify the best ideas. Our mission is to exceed clients’ expectations on every level, every day. As of 30 September 2020, the firm managed US$111.7 billion across global asset classes for investors around the world.

To find out more information visit www.pinebridge.com

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Benson Elliot and GCI complete 22,000 sqm pre-let of major Paris office redevelopment

A joint venture between Benson Elliot, the London-based private equity real estate manager, Générale Continentale Investissements (GCI), the Paris real estate investment group, Canadian institution Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) and 21st Capital, has pre-let the entirety of its Latitude office building to Sopra Steria. The European leader in consulting, digital services and software development has signed a nine-year lease, and will take occupancy in Q4 2021.

Latitude is due to complete in early 2021, and will deliver 22,000 sqm of top quality modern office space in the heart of La Défense in Paris. Spread across eight floors, it is one of the only low-rise office buildings in La Défense, a market typically dominated by tower blocks. The completed building will feature expansive 2,220 sqm floorplates (a rarity for the market), a double height reception, co-working areas and a new restaurant / cafeteria.

Latitude has been designed to the highest environmental standards and is set to receive multiple CSR credentials, including: Wired Score ‘Platinum’, HQE ‘Outstanding’, BREEAM ‘Excellent’ and Effinergie +.

Rémi Monglon, Principal and Head of France at Benson Elliot, commented: “We are delighted to be welcoming Sopra Steria’s “France” reporting unit to their new offices. This significant pre-letting validates the build-to-core investment strategy Benson Elliot has been deploying across Europe in recent years, creating prime office schemes in markets with strong occupational fundamentals. When we bought Latitude we had a conviction view that the building was the right product for large occupiers seeking top quality office accommodation in a highly sought-after market.”

Sharon Raingold, Partner and Managing Director at GCI, added: “Our intention with this development was to create a state-of-the-art office building replying to the needs of occupiers today. We invested in creating an environment that focuses on the quality of life of its users. This transaction has confirmed our strategy to develop leading and innovative office buildings tailored to tenants needs.”

La Défense is Europe’s largest business district, home to over 500 international industrial and financial companies, including Total, IBM and Société Générale. It has excellent public transport connections to central Paris, with accessibility set to improve further with the upcoming extension of the RER E line connecting directly to Gare du Nord (Eurostar).

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PineBridge Investments to acquire Benson Elliot Capital Management

PineBridge Investments (‘PineBridge’), a private, global asset manager focused on active, high-conviction investing, has reached an agreement to acquire Benson Elliot Capital Management (‘Benson Elliot’), a UK-based private equity real estate fund manager. Financial details of the transaction are not being disclosed and the transaction is subject to certain customary regulatory and other approvals.

Benson Elliot, which was founded in 2005, manages over US$3.5 billion of equity and holds a diversified portfolio currently comprised of office, retail, hotel and residential assets across Europe, including in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium and Poland. Since inception the firm has deployed a consistent asset driven, value add, risk sensitive and exit focused investment strategy. Benson Elliot has successfully launched four European funds, the most recent of which, Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners V, closed in 2019 at €836 million. The firm’s prior fund, Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners IV, has already realised over half of its invested capital.

“In our tenth year as an independent firm, this is a significant milestone in our growth and we are thrilled to welcome the Benson Elliot team to PineBridge,” said Greg Ehret, CEO of PineBridge, “Real estate is a strategically important asset class for institutional investors, such as pension funds and insurance companies, who are looking to meet their long-term investment objectives, especially during a period of low real interest rates. Benson Elliot’s industry-leading expertise in European real estate will complement and diversify our firm’s investment offering allowing us to best serve our global client base.”

The acquisition of Benson Elliot allows PineBridge to expand its client offerings in alternatives, adding new capabilities and investment vehicles to its successful private funds, structured capital and private credit businesses.

Marc Mogull, Executive Chairman and Chief Investment Officer at Benson Elliot, said, “Some months ago the leadership team at Benson Elliot undertook a strategic review to explore how we could build on fifteen years of success at Benson Elliot. We wanted to ensure that our organization would remain at the forefront of private equity real estate investing in a changing market environment. We’re pleased that this process has resulted in our joining forces with PineBridge. This partnership will enable us to put in place the infrastructure for future growth, to continue attracting and developing the best talent in the industry, and to sustain our track record of best-in-class performance. Importantly, it ensures continuity in our existing activities, respects the unique spirit and culture we’ve developed at Benson Elliot, and offers an exciting future for the Benson Elliot team.”

Following completion of the acquisition, Benson Elliot’s entire team of 40 professionals will join PineBridge.

PineBridge was advised by Simmons & Simmons LLP and Perella Weinberg UK Limited. Benson Elliot was advised by Travers Smith and Berkshire Global Advisors.

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Benson Elliot acquires grocery-anchored convenience centre in Berlin for €65.5 m

Benson Elliot, the UK-based private equity real estate fund manager, has acquired a 18,600 sqm grocery-anchored retail asset from RDI REIT for €65.5 m. Located in the Steglitz-Zehlendorf borough in the south-west of Berlin, it is the first investment undertaken by Benson Elliot since the onset of Covid.

Set in a highly visible and well-connected position on Schloßstrasse, one of the capital’s prime high streets and most affluent areas, the centre benefits from direct access to the Walther-Schreiber-Platz U-Bahn station, and sits adjacent to one of Berlin’s busiest bus terminals. The property is arranged over the basement (U-Bahn egress), ground and first floors, with a 350-space car park located on two further upper levels. The centre is 97% occupied, with a mix of national and international retailers and a convenience / value offering that has proven to be highly resilient to e-commerce penetration. Tenants include Germany’s second largest supermarket chain, REWE, leading drugstore retailer dm-drogerie markt, as well as a two storey Primark.

Benson Elliot intends to reposition the centre by consolidating its grocery and convenience offering, optimising tenant composition, reconfiguring space and re-gearing lease terms. As one of the only retail formats to remain open during the Covid lockdown, grocery-anchored assets have maintained their appeal to institutional investors seeking secure income streams.

The investment marks a continuation of Benson Elliot’s German convenience retail strategy, following the acquisition of a portfolio of three regionally dominant centres in May 2019. The acquisition takes the firm’s German convenience retail holdings to c. €250 m.

Joseph De Leo, Senior Partner at Benson Elliot, said: “We continue to see long term value in market dominant, needs-driven retail formats. While the structural trends underpinning the retail sector have no doubt accelerated over the past few months as a result of the enforced lockdown, the benefits of grocery-anchored centres, which remained open because of the community services they provide, were also accentuated. This property is in a high footfall location and we believe significant value can be created by refining its offer. Moreover, in a low interest rate environment we’re confident that investors will continue to favour the stable cash flows offered by grocery-anchored formats in fast-growing, supply-constrained locales, let on sustainable rents to strong covenants.”

Modulus Real Estate, the Hamburg investor and asset manager, has taken a minority stake in the transaction. They will implement day-to-day project and asset management at the property.

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Benson Elliot expands Warsaw office exposure, acquiring award-winning Mokotów campus

Benson Elliot, the UK-based private equity real estate fund manager, acting on behalf of its pan-European fund, Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners V L.P. has acquired Marynarska Business Park (MBP), an award-winning office complex in Warsaw, from a fund managed by Heitman Real Estate. The price paid was c. €65 million.

MBP provides 46,000 sqm of office spce across four buildings, together with 1,400 car parking spaces. The site was developed by Ghelamco in 2008, with the project earning recognition that year as CEE Real Estate Office Development of the Year and Best Overall Development in Poland.

The business park is prominently situated in Mokotów, Warsaw’s largest office sub-market outside the city centre. Mokotów lies between the city centre and Warsaw’s Fryderyk Chopin Airport, providing quick and easy access to both by train or car. The area is set to gain further from major infrastructure works currently underway.

Benson Elliot is planning a targeted refurbishment of the property, encompassing an upgrade of communal areas and an expansion of occupier-focused amenities (including MBP’s food and beverage offering). In addition, Benson Elliot plans to re-design the park’s external areas to improve the volume of green space, providing the park’s office users with a significantly enhanced work environment.

Joseph DeLeo, Benson Elliot Senior Partner, said: “Marynarska Business Park represents the second office investment in Warsaw for Benson Elliot in the last 12 months. Warsaw offers a compelling office investment story today, with the market benefitting from rising take-up, falling vacancies and strong investor interest. Tenant demand is being driven by international and domestic companies seeking access to a young, well-educated, multilingual work force. The acquisition of MBP fits in well with our strategy of acquiring quality office assets in strong locations across Poland. We look forward to building on the park’s longstanding popularity, providing tenants with contemporary space in a healthy environment.”

Benson Elliot was advised on the transaction by Dentons, BNP Paribas and Cushman & Wakefield, and has engaged Syrena Real Estate as local operating partner.

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Benson Elliot and Schroders acquire €240m Disneyland Paris hotel portfolio

A joint-venture led by UK-based private equity real estate fund manager Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners V, LP (“Benson Elliot”) and Schroder Real Estate Hotels (“SREH”, formerly Algonquin) has acquired three hotels (the “Portfolio”) totalling 1,183 rooms in Disneyland, Paris. The themed hotels, which are adjacent to one another, were acquired off-market in two separate transactions for a total investment of circa €240 million.

Dream Castle and Magic Circus, both four star hotels, were purchased from Austrian real estate developers Warimpex / UBM, while Explorers was purchased from a JV managed by SREH. The investment is structured as a 50/50 JV between Benson Elliot and a consortium of private investors advised by SREH.

Disneyland Paris is Walt Disney’s only European theme park and Europe’s most popular tourist destination. The Disney market has experienced almost uninterrupted growth for the last 15 years, set to be driven further by Disney’s €2 billion expansion plan, which will be rolled out from 2021 and is the most ambitious project undertaken since the park opened in 1992.

Developed between 2003 and 2007, the Portfolio has a profitable trading profile and generates strong cash flow. Whilst the assets have benefitted from substantial investment, significant opportunities remain for the JV to create further value through the implementation of targeted asset management initiatives.

The JV has engaged SREH as the Portfolio’s manager.

Marc-Olivier Assouline, Benson Elliot Principal, said: “The Portfolio represents a collection of high-quality, cash-flowing assets being acquired at a substantial discount to replacement cost. The hotels present opportunities to optimise value and grow income through targeted refurbishment programmes. Benson Elliot has built a strong track record in the hotel sector, with over €1 bn in hotel investments and dispositions in just the last five years. This transaction marks another partnership with the former Algonquin team, with whom we have worked successfully in the past.”

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Benson Elliot completes €175 m sale of German housing company

Benson Elliot, the UK-based private equity real estate manager, acting on behalf of its pan-European fund Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners IV (“BEREP IV” or the “Fund”), has sold its 74.9% stake in GWB Elstertal Geraer Wohnungsbaugesellschaft mbH (“GWB” or the “Company”) to an affiliate of Thueringer Aufbaubank, a public entity controlled by the German State of Thuringia. The consideration for the transaction implies an enterprise value for the Company of €175 million.

Benson Elliot acquired the majority stake of GWB in August 2016. At the time, the communal housing company owned and managed a portfolio of c. 6,700 residential units, encompassing 402,000 sqm across 330 assets, in Gera, the third-largest city in the Federal State of Thuringia in central Germany.

Since acquisition, under Benson Elliot’s oversight GWB’s portfolio has been improved significantly, through the introduction of best-in-class leasing and operational management processes to refurbish and lease the core residential properties. Non-core and obsolete holdings were disposed of, and a comprehensive portfolio refinancing was completed with Landesbank Baden-Wurtemburg.

Joseph DeLeo, Benson Elliot Senior Partner, said: “The entire team has worked closely with the City of Gera and the senior lender to define and execute the business plan effectively. We’re confident that GWB’s new owners will continue the positive work we’ve started, further improving this portfolio responsibly for the local community.”

Benson Elliot was advised by Greenberg Traurig and VictoriaPartners. The Purchaser received legal advice from McDermott Will & Emery.

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