CLV and Arlington acquire Opal assets

Campus Living Villages (CVL), together with Arlington, has purchased a UK portfolio, formerly part of the Opal Student Property Group

Campus Living Villages (CLV) has confirmed the purchase of a portfolio of 4,539 beds across the UK, which were formerly part of the Opal Student Property Group. The acquisition has been made by CLV together with Arlington Investors Limited, a Guernsey based company representing major family office investors from the Middle East.

The acquisition was funded through a £210m listed bond with a 50 year maturity which has been subscribed in full by a single purchaser. 

Gary Clarke, CLV UK Chief Executive Officer, said: “The acquisition of these assets provides CLV with operational scale in a key global market, and takes its global platform across the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand to over 40,000 beds.  Whilst several of these newly acquired assets are not physically on campus, they all have in common strong links to university partners, and the opportunity to strengthen these partnerships through collaboration and commitment to the student experience”.

George Shweiry, Chief Executive of Arlington Advisors, commented: “The dynamics of the UK student housing sector present a compelling story, where we are seeing a shortage of good quality stock, falling development pipeline and a growing demand. Taken in the context of what is happening around the world in emerging markets, we expect to see a significant increase in international student mobility which is only going to drive up demand further.”

The investment has increased UK student room numbers under CLV’s management from 3,821 to 8,360 and its total UK business, including current newbuild projects under development, to over 11,000 beds.

CLV’s and Arlington’s advisors include international law firms Osborne Clarke, led by partner Chris Wade and McGuireWoods led by partner Hed Amitai; financial advisor DWPF, Grant Thornton, corporate finance company, Traderisks, Knight Frank and Savills.  Around 60 existing staff at the properties acquired will transfer to CLV.

Campus Living Villages (CLV) is a global owner, developer and operator of student accommodation and currently manages over 40,000 beds across Australia, New Zealand, United States and the United Kingdom. As a specialist in student accommodation, CLV has established itself as a leading provider of quality facilities with a focus on the student experience. CLV launched in the UK in 2008.

Arlington Investors Limited is an investment company, established as a Jersey based company in 2013 with a primary focus on UK property, and representing major family offices from the Middle East. It is backed by Sir Fredrick Barclay, who is a shareholder.  

Arlington Investors are 50/50 funding partners with Campus Living Villages in this acquisition of the former Opal portfolio comprising eight student accommodation sites, in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham, Newport and Nottingham. They are advised by Arlington Advisors, a company whose Founder and Chief Executive, George Shweiry, has in excess of 20 years’ experience advising on and managing investments on behalf of Middle East investors.

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