(Reuters) -Blackstone Inc will buy American Campus Communities Inc for $12.8 billion including debt, the student housing company said on Tuesday, as the world’s biggest alternative asset manager bets on rents rising after colleges reopen.
ACC owns 166 properties across 71 university markets including Arizona State University and the University of Texas at Austin.
The per-share price of the all-cash deal is $65.47, nearly 14% higher than ACC’s last stock close. Shares of the Austin, Texas-based company surged nearly 13% to $64.84 in premarket trading on Tuesday.
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 sell its assets aggressively and buy back stock.
M&A activity in the real estate investment trust (REIT) sector reached a record high in 2021 thanks to cheap capital from low interest rates, a robust U.S. housing market and an economic recovery from the pandemic.
In 2021, REIT M&A transaction volumes rose to $140 billion from $17 billion in the previous year, according to real estate services provider JLL.
ACC said it will be taken private through Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust Inc and Blackstone Property Partners.
In another bet on real estate, Blackstone in December agreed to buy Bluerock Residential Growth REIT in a $3.6 billion deal.
(Reporting by Niket Nishant and Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru, Additional reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain; Editing by Devika Syamnath)