UK regulator clears Unite to buy Liberty in huge student living deal

The acquisition by student accommodation developer The Unite Group of its rival Liberty Living Group, has been approved by the UK regulator.

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) greenlighted Unite's purchase of Liberty for €1.2 bn.

Following approval, the deal is due to completed by the end of this month.

The seller was Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Unite said it is on course to deliver cost synergies of €4.65 mln in 2020 and €17.4 mln from 2021.

Liberty Living has over 24,000 beds under management across 51 residences and partnerships with more than 40 educational institutions.

Richard Smith, chief executive of Unite Students, said: '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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