Blackstone agrees €650m deal to buy Hansteen

US asset management giant Blackstone has agreed a deal to acquire industrial specialist Hansteen for £500 mln (€650 mln).

Hansteen has accepted a 116.5 pence per share bid from Potter UK Bidco Ltd, a company indirectly owned by investment funds advised by affiliates of US-based alternative investment firm Blackstone.

Blackstone's takeover bid represents a 10% premium to Hansteen's closing price in London on Tuesday of 105.6p, and an 18% premium to the volume-weighted average price for the three months to Tuesday of 98.7p. The offer has the unanimous backing of Hansteen's directors, who will recommend it to shareholders.

Some 75% of shareholders need to approve the deal, Hansteen said, with a meeting expected to be called for early February. Hansteen would then expect the takeover to complete during the first quarter.

Hansteen was founded and launched on AIM in 2005 by Joint Chief Executives Morgan Jones and Ian Watson. Hansteen is a UK-REIT group that invests in urban multi-let industrial property, with a £647 mln portfolio of high yielding properties delivering a 7.6% yield on passing rent from the £50.1 mln rent roll as at 30 June 2019.

Commenting on the acquisition, Ian Watson and Morgan Jones, Hansteen's joint CEOs, said: 'We founded Ashtenne in 1989, floated the business in 1997 and successfully sold it in 2005. Throughout the life of the business we regarded our shareholders and ourselves in a joint enterprise to build and ultimately crystallise the value we created. Following that successful realisation, in early 2005 we floated Hansteen to create a similar business to Ashtenne, firstly in continental Europe and, as values fell, in the UK as well. Many Ashtenne shareholders followed us into Hansteen and have remained with us since. Again our philosophy has been to work with our shareholders, who supported six successful fundraisings, enabling us to acquire opportunity rich properties in the early stage of the cycle. This included acquiring the core of Ashtenne's team and properties.'

They continued: 'Over the last few years we have been crystallising much of the value created, returning substantial capital and making high returns for shareholders. The offer from Blackstone is a continuation and conclusion of that strategy and we believe provides a highly satisfactory outcome for our shareholders and employees. We have given irrevocable undertakings to vote in favour of Blackstone's offer in relation to our own shareholdings.'

Blackstone announced plans in September to launch an €8 bn last-mile logistics platform, Mileway. The deal would allow it to expand the new business to the UK, according to James Seppala, head of Blackstone Real Estate Europe. He commented: 'This transaction is a compelling opportunity to expand our pan-European last-mile logistics real estate company, Mileway, in the U.K. and it is testament to our long-term belief in investing in the country. We look forward to working with Hansteen's team to support the growing demand for last mile logistics real estate across the UK in the years to come.'

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