Student rates

Blackstone buys student housing company American Campus Communities for $12.8 billion

U.S. students practice Chinese calligraphy at the Confucius Institute in San Francisco, the United States, Sept. 27, 2014. Photo: Xinhua

Blackstone Inc will buy American Campus Communities Inc (ACC) for $12.8 billion including debt, the student housing company says, as the world’s largest alternative asset manager bets on rising rents after the reopening of American colleges.

ACC owns 166 properties in 71 college markets, including Arizona State University and the University of Texas at Austin.

The price per share of the all-cash deal is $65.47.

The deal comes months after Jonathan Litt’s activist investment firm Land & Buildings sought a seat on ACC’s board and urged the company to aggressively sell its assets and buy back shares.

M&A activity in the real estate investment trust (REIT) industry hit an all-time high in 2021 on the back of cheap capital from low interest rates, a robust U.S. housing market and a recovery economy after the pandemic.

In 2021, REIT M&A transaction volumes grew to $140 billion from $17 billion the year before, according to real estate services provider JLL.

ACC said it will be private through Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust Inc and Blackstone Property Partners.

In another bet on real estate, Blackstone agreed in December to buy Bluerock Residential Growth REIT in a $3.6 billion deal.