Unite's GBP1.4 Billion Liberty Living Takeover Probed By Regulators

(Alliance News) - Unite Group PLC's potential GBP1.4 billion acquisition of student accommodation ...

Alliance News 11 September, 2019 | 8:15AM
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(Alliance News) - Unite Group PLC's potential GBP1.4 billion acquisition of student accommodation provider Liberty Living Group is being probed by regulators, the UK Competitions & Markets Authority said on Wednesday.

The CMA said it is inviting "comments on the transaction from any interested party" and the regulator is considering whether the merger will lead to a substantial lessening of competition within the student accommodation market.

In a separate announcement on Wednesday, Unite said it anticipates regulatory clearance for the acquisition in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Turning to its recent trading, Unite said student intake for the 2019/2020 is "expected to be in line with the record levels seen over the past few years", 98% of bed spaces across its portfolio have been let so far this year, the company said.

Unite said: "We have continued to see strongest growth in acceptances at higher tariff universities, which have risen by 1.8% versus last year."

The FTSE 250-listed company delivered "strong sales in summer 2019", with revenue during the period 40% higher year-on-year, it added. Unite said it anticipates rental growth of between 3.0% and 3.5% for both 2019-20 and 2020-21.

Chief Executive Richard Smith said: "Demand for UK higher education remains robust, as reflected in the record share of 18-year olds choosing to attend university. Student demand also supports our strategic alignment to mid and higher tariff universities.

"Despite increased political and economic uncertainty, we maintain our positive outlook for the business, reflecting the strength of our operational and letting performance and opportunities to drive further improvements in utilisation and efficiency while investing in further value-added services for our students."

Shares in Unite were 0.1% lower at 1,021.48 pence each in London early on Wednesday morning.

By Eric Cunha; ericcunha@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2019 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
UNITE Group PLC 1,325.00 GBX -0.75 -

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