AXA IMRA agrees to acquire French lifestyle housing operator

AXA Investment Managers - Real Assets (AXA IMRA) has signed an agreement to acquire Groupe Kley, a fully integrated student housing and co-living operator, and its portfolio of student residences across France, from funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management.

Financial details were not disclosed.

AXA IMRA will become the long-term partner of Kley and will support its management team in its strategy to further expand the company.
Kley was established in 2014 and is one of the leading operators of purpose-built student housing and co-living properties in France. Its portfolio comprises 2,500 beds across seven operational residences, plus a secured pipeline of 3,300 beds across 14 residences, many of which are currently under construction. All assets are located in either regional university cities (Angers, Toulouse, Rennes, Marseille and Caen) or Paris, Île-de-France, in close proximity to student campuses or city centres where demand is greatest. In addition to the current and secured future portfolio, this acquisition also presents AXA IMRA with access to Kley’s ongoing pipeline of student housing and co-living opportunities.
This acquisition sees AXA IMRA build on its global student housing expertise comprising a portfolio of over 15,000 beds. It is in line with the group’s strategy of investing in alternative asset classes and platforms with the capacity to grow and comes shortly after its entry to the Australian student accommodation market, where it has partnered with leading student housing operator and manager, Scape, as well as its acquisition of Spain’s largest student accommodation platform, Resa, in 2017.  
'This transaction gives us an immediate leadership position in the highly attractive French student housing market and the opportunity to build further scale with an experienced management team,' said John O’Driscoll, European head of transactions at AXA IMRA. 'The transaction also shows our willingness to invest in operational platforms, particularly in alternative asset classes, to access attractive opportunities for our clients. It is clear evidence of our ability to secure unique investment opportunities using our strong reputation, combined local and global sector expertise and complex transaction experience. We look forward to working with Kley’s management team to grow the business, taking advantage of the very positive market dynamics and proven demand for its product.'
Jean-Baptiste Mortier, CEO of Groupe Kley, commented: 'We are looking forward to pursue our development with the support of AXA IMRA. Since the beginning of our story with Oaktree, we have continuously been thinking forward with the students’ needs at the heart of our strategy. AXA IMRA shares the same vision and our strong commitment to innovate and adapt their new ways of life.'
Vincent Catherine, managing director at Oaktree added: 'Five years ago, we launched the Kley platform from scratch with our first site in Caen. Over time we have assembled a talented team led by Jean Baptiste Mortier, defined a differentiated product, and developed a tier one portfolio of residences so that Kley has become a unique asset in the student housing market. We believe AXA - IM Real Assets is the right partner for Kley to pursue the development of the group and its most recent initiatives going forward.'
The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.


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