GIC-backed Scion acquires Harrison Street student housing assets in US for $1b

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Scion Student Communities LP –  a joint venture between The Scion Group, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB– has acquired a 22-property student housing portfolio of Harrison Street Real Estate Capital for about $1 billion.

The portfolio transaction comprises approximately 12,000 beds across 18 states in the US and involves 20 leading national universities. Harrison Street, a real estate investment firm, focusses on the education, healthcare and storage sectors.

Harrison Street has over 73,000 beds throughout the U.S. and Europe. Since inception in 2005, Harrison Street has invested $18 billion across its portfolio strategies with over $9 billion across 232 properties in education and student housing assets alone.

During this period, the firm has sold more than 96 student housing properties for a gross transaction value of $4.3 billion. According to Harrison Street, the properties were owned by five different Harrison Street funds in conjunction with multiple operating partners.

“This transaction reflects Harrison Street’s strong overall track record in student housing and our ability to create value for our investors and partners by successfully transforming the portfolio,” said Christopher Merrill, Co-Founder, President & Chief Executive Officer of Harrison Street.

“This portfolio demonstrates our long standing strategy of acquiring single assets or development opportunities with substantial value-add potential in or near large, leading universities, making key improvements to increase tenancy, and attracting world-class partners. We continue to identify attractive investment opportunities and remain committed to providing the highest quality student housing facilities to universities across the U.S.”

In March 2017, Harrison Street announced it sold a portfolio of nine high-quality student housing properties to Scion Student Communities LP for $465 million.

In a bid to spur returns, GIC has been investing heavily in student housing. In January 2016, GIC announced a partnership with Scion Group LLC and CPPIB to acquire a portfolio of US university student housing worth $1.4 billion. In April 2017, it acquired student housing blocks in Sydney worth $302 million.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.