Blackstone plans to sell Nido for $500m

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The Independent Online

Blackstone, the US private equity giant, is plotting to sell its Nido student accommodation for about $500m (£317m).

The owner has held early stage talks with fewer than five parties, which are thought to include sovereign wealth funds, banks and an investment group that already own student housing.

The interested parties – who are primarily non-European and not yet active in the UK student market – may seek to buy all or just parts of the Nido business. A shortlist for preferred bidders is set to be drawn up next month. Blackstone did not return calls.

The Nido portfolio comprises three UK assets and one in Barcelona, Spain. Nido, which means "nest" in Spanish, includes the world's tallest accommodation block in Spitalfields, east London, and a 277-bed site in Notting Hill, which are reportedly worth about £200m and £45m, respectively. The block in Barcelona has 724 beds.

The potential shedding of Nido follows Blackstone putting its student accommodation block in King's Cross, London, up for sale for £180m. The US private equity giant entered the UK market with the King's Cross development in 2005.

Separately, Blackstone has acquired Mint Hotel, the European hotel chain, in a deal worth about £600m. The chain was founded by Sandy and David Orr and Donald MacDonald with Bill Crerar as City Inn in 1995. The first hotel opened in Bristol in 1999 and the group now has eight 4-star hotels, including two of the largest hotels in London and one in Amsterdam.

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