BY Richard Summerfield
Global Logistics Properties, which manages around $39bn of logistics assets in Asia-Pacific and the Americas, has expanded into the European logistics market by acquiring Gazeley for around $2.8bn from Brookfield Asset Management. The transaction is expected to be funded by about $1.6bn of equity and $1.2bn of long-term, low-cost debt.
Global Logistics itself is in the process of being taken over for $11.8bn by a leading Chinese private equity consortium which includes Hillhouse Capital and the Hopu Investment Management Company, and is backed by senior executives from Global Logistics. The consortium, which is known as Nesta, will take Global Logistics private in Asia's largest private equity buyout of the year. According to Global Logistics, the deal for Gazeley is not expected to impact the timeline for the company’s privatisation.
In a statement announcing the Gazeley deal, Ming Z. Mei, co-founder and chief executive of GLP, said: “We have been looking to expand to Europe and this portfolio presents an attractive entry point given the quality and location of the assets. This transaction adds a premier operational and development platform for us in Europe and is part of our long-term strategy to expand our fund management business.”
Gazeley’s existing management team, as well as the company’s brand, are both expected to be retained when the deal has been completed.
Global Logistics will be acquiring a considerable asset portfolio in the deal. The company will gain around 32 million square feet of property currently owned by Gazeley, which is concentrated in Europe’s key logistics markets, with 57 percent in the United Kingdom, 25 percent in Germany, 14 percent in France and the remainder in the Netherlands, according to Global Logistics. Europe has long been a focus for Global Logistics; indeed, the company has been talking about expanding into the market for more than 18 months.
The company, much like the wider logistics industry, has seen a rising demand for facilities, driven by a boom in e-commerce. Earlier this year, private equity group Blackstone agreed to sell European warehouse firm Logicor to China Investment Corp for $14.4bn in a deal which further reinforces the burgeoning interest in the global logistics sector.