The largest real estate deal in Australia in 2019

2 minute read  21.04.2021

Urbanest has been a long‑standing client of the Firm for more than 10 years. Over that time, we have worked closely with them to develop, finance, construct, and operate their 14 student accommodation buildings across four states in Australia.

So when the decision was made to sell the business, MinterEllison was their first choice. We worked closely with Urbanest on the A$2 billion sale of its student accommodation business and property portfolio to Scape Australia, and in doing so, successfully enabled the largest real estate deal in Australia in 2019. This was a monumental deal in the purpose-built student accommodation sector, one of the most exciting and innovative real estate classes in Australia.

Our role involved running the competitive sale process for Urbanest, and negotiating and managing a complex transaction involving numerous structuring and regulatory considerations. This transaction was a truly whole-of-firm effort, and involved every business unit across Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Queensland. In the last few months and weeks of closing the deal, the team worked tirelessly to overcome COVID-19 restrictions, FIRB delays, the logistical challenges of preparing and circulating documents for signing while in lockdown, and running completion electronically over a call (highly unusual for a deal of this size).

Through it all, our trusted relationships across our Firm at all levels within Urbanest have had lasting impacts. Urbanest’s investors have built, and now sold, a highly successful portfolio and business. And, over the years, Urbanest’s impact on the $37 billion international education sector, and in particular students and their families, has also been significant; because knowing there is a safe place to live when you arrive in Australia really matters.


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