Just one month after closing on $2.2 billion in fresh cash, Gaw Capital Partners is bidding to put some of that funding to work in a new asset class, according to an announcement late last week by Australia’s largest self-storage provider.
The board of National Storage REIT declared to the Australian Stock Exchange that Gaw Capital Partners had made a confidential, non-binding indicative proposal to buy out 100 percent of the issued stapled securities in the listed trust.
National Storage, which owns and operates 168 storage facilities across Australia and New Zealand, did not disclose financial details of Gaw’s offer, while cautioning that no deal is certain at this point.
Deal Said Still in Early Stages
“Discussions are at this stage preliminary and subject to a number of conditions and there is no certainty that the discussions will lead to a final recommended offer,” JP Morgan Vice Chairman Simon Ranson, whose firm is advising the REIT on the potential sale, said in National Storage’s statement.
The listed trust currently has a market capitalisation of A$1.69 billion ($1.14 billion) after its units climbed more than 14 percent this month to close at A$2.15 per unit on Tuesday.
The self-storage firm, which has declared 60,000 residential and commercial customers, made the announcement following media reports of the potential transaction.
Gaw Looks into Niche Opportunities
Gaw, which closed on $800 million in sidecar commitments in mid-December at the same time that it wrapped up fund raising for its $2.2 billion Gateway Real Estate Fund VI, has acknowledged its interest in searching for opportunities in emerging trends and operating businesses.
“Our increased expansion into thematic platforms such as data centers, healthcare and education-related real estate platforms are very welcomed by our investors, Gaw Capital Managing Principal Christina Gaw said in a statement announcing the final close of Gateway Fund VI in December. Gaw added that the firm’s migration into these operating businesses follows its earlier investments into retail outlet malls and logistics.
Gaw has yet to comment publicly on its bid for the Australian business. In the same statement announcing the closing of Gateway Fund VI, the private equity firm included Australia among the markets where it would be searching for real estate assets.
Aussie Storage Operator on Acquisition Binge
National Storage REIT has been betting big on self-storage in Australia, despite average annual industry growth of less than 2 percent per year over the last half-decade.
The trust’s total assets under management grew 36 percent in the fiscal year which ended on 30 June 2019, thanks to A$403 million in acquisitions. During the last six months of 2020 National Storage bought up another eight properties.