Oxford Properties Group has bolstered its European logistics holdings with the acquisition of M7 Real Estate, an investment and asset manager with a strong base in the sector. The deal brings M7’s portfolio of €4 billion (CAD $6.16 billion) in assets under management to Oxford’s umbrella, aligning with other recent moves to augment logistics, life sciences and multifamily investments and enter new markets worldwide.
Oxford is the real estate arm of the OMERS (Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System) pension plan and has a stated ambition to deploy CAD $5.2 billion in Europe’s logistics sector. Light industrial, urban logistics and retail warehouse facilities account for about half the value of the M7 portfolio.
M7 will continue to operate as a stand-alone business under the day-to-day management of the current leadership team, led by Richard Croft and David Ebbrell. They oversee 225 employees in 14 countries who collectively manage more than 45 million square feet of space across 620 assets.
“M7 is a market-leading platform, led by a highly ambitious and entrepreneurial management team that has deep-rooted expertise in the sector, through which we intend to significantly expand and accelerate our investment in this asset class across Europe,” says Jo McNamara, executive vice president, Europe, with Oxford Properties.
“This transaction provides us with the support and resources of a significant global real estate investor which shares both our entrepreneurial ethos and our strong ambition to grow the M7 business substantially over the next few years,” affirms Croft, M7’s executive chair.
The acquisition is contingent on regulatory approval, and is expected to be completed in the first half of 2021. It follows a new foray into the U.S. life sciences sector announced earlier this month, which will see Oxford gain four properties encompassing 415,000 square feet of space along with development land.
The USD $276 million (CAD $350 million) deal includes three buildings in Boston and one in the San Francisco Bay area. Oxford has also signalled plans to invest a further USD $500 million (CAD $635 million) to expand and/or develop new facilities on the sites, as well as converting existing office and retail space to laboratory uses.
“Growing a meaningfully sized life sciences business represents one of our highest conviction investment strategies and top priorities across our business,” reports Chad Remis, Oxford’s executive vice president, North America.