Accord Group is merging its business with Lakestar Capital, a London-based real estate corporate finance and advisory firm. The combination comes one year after former Presidio Partners founders Jack Berquist and Desi Co, along with fellow managing partner Jeff Sobczynski, officially formed Accord.
Lakestar was established in 2012 by Paul Jackson, the former head of real estate finance at Matrix Corporate Capital. Like Accord, the firm focuses on special situation investment opportunities and provides services in private placement; co-investment opportunities; individual asset or portfolio acquisition finance; development finance; secondary or recapitalization deals; and debt financing.
Most recently, in October, Lakestar worked on a joint venture between Verdion, a London-based logistics developer, and the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) to develop €1 billion of logistics facilities in Europe over the next five years. Additionally, HOOPP agreed to buy out Verdion’s former partner, Mansford Real Estate, which had backed the firm since 2010.
Co stressed that the joining of the two firms was a “combination” rather than a merger as Accord will not be buying equity in Lakestar. Instead, Jackson will wind down his existing business and join Accord as its fourth managing partner and fifth equity partner.
“Anything that Paul does on a go-forward basis will be through the Accord banner,” said Co. The combination, which is expected to close during the second quarter, will bring Accord’s total staff to seven.
Jackson will be responsible for overseeing Accord’s European deals, which currently account for about half of the firm’s business. “I think the placement business is tough,” said Co. “However, if you have a business raising capital around a special situation, I think you can make something very interesting happen. Europe is particularly ripe for a lot of these special situations.”
In Europe, Co said Accord will focus on opportunities in the UK, Germany and, to a lesser extent, France and the Nordic countries. “There’s work that needs to be done, and there’s just a lot more opportunity to add value in a place like Europe than the US,” he added.
Accord has been encountering special situations in Europe where value-added operators are having challenges raising money but hold some quality real estate assets within their portfolios. Raising capital for these types of situations would involve forming a new joint venture or club deal between the operator and one or more new partners, which would take ownership of the quality assets while providing fresh capital to the operator.
Co also pointed out that Accord remains active in private placement for funds. As PERE reported in October, the firm has been hired as a placement agent by a client that is raising its sixth fund and independently had amassed $250 million through both the fund and various co-investment vehicles. Accord, which has been charged with completing the targeted $300 million fundraise, declined to name the client, but PERE understands that the fund manager is Thayer Lodging Group and that its vehicle, Thayer Fund VI, is nearing a final closing.