Gazeley’s chief executive is stepping back under a succession plan completed in tandem with Global Logistic Properties’ acquisition of the European logistics platform, the firm said Wednesday.
The Singapore-based firm announced Wednesday that it had completed its $2.8 billion acquisition of Gazeley, which adds 32 million square feet of assets in some of Europe’s key logistics markets to its platform, namely in the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands. The transaction was originally announced in October.
As part of the takeover, Gazeley co-founder Pat McGillycuddy, who has been Gazeley’s CEO for a decade and worked with the company for 30 years under its various owners, is handing over the reins to Nick Cook, the firm’s chief operating officer. The change is effective Wednesday.
“This is an outcome that we at Gazeley have been priming for a long time,” Cook toldPERE, highlighting five years of succession planning. “This is a natural evolution for Pat and me and we couldn’t be happier with the way it’s played out. From my perspective, it’s an incredibly exciting time for Gazeley. We’re joining an organization who are global experts in what we do, and we think that’ll be a great place for us to be to capitalize on the opportunity we have in Europe.”
Cook joined Gazeley in 2003 as director, working with the UK team for five years, according to the firm’s website. In 2008, he worked in Dubai to establish the firm’s United Arab Emirates unit, and also worked with Gazeley’s business in China for several years. He previously worked at Knight Frank.
In addition to the management transition, Gazeley is rolling into its $2 billion portfolio of operating assets into a new vehicle, GLP Europe Income Partners I. Additionally, the firm’s existing land bank of 16 million square feet of buildable area will now be held inanother new vehicle, GLP Europe Development Partners. Future vehicles are expected to be raised to fund development on the land over next four years, Cook said.
Geographically, Gazeley plans to invest in the short term in the countries where it currently has a footprint, which Cook called the “best and strongest logistics markets” in Europe.
“We’re an energetic, ambitious organization owned by an energetic, ambitious organization, so the market should not be surprised to see us looking elsewhere,” he said. “We at Gazeley have been successful in Spain and Italy, for example, and could get back into those markets.”
The new CEO also plans to leverage GLP’s global customer base in its leasing strategies.
“Gazeley has had several owners over the last few years, but this is the first time we’ve had an owner who focuses on what we do,” Cook said.
In 2013, Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management bought a 95 percent share in UK-based logistics firm EZW Gazeley for $370 million from state-owned investment firm Dubai World. Then, a year later it acquired a 100 percent share in IDI for $595 million from the US subsidiary of Japanese construction firm Kajima Corporation.
Both businesses were acquired on behalf of the firm’s first global real estate opportunity fund, the $4.4 billion Brookfield Strategic Real Estate Partners. Brookfield then combined the two business in 2014 to create IDI Gazeley, a $3.5 billion platform, which had a European and North American footprint with 150 million square feet of assets housing more than 900 tenants.
In May, PERE exclusively reported that Brookfield was seeking a major refinancing of its logistics business ahead of a potential sale. The Toronto-based alternative assets manager appointed investment bank Morgan Stanley to handle the refinancing. Sources familiar with the matter said at the time that refinancing could be a precursor to the sale of IDI Gazeley’s European business. It was also understood that although Brookfield was not actively marketing a sale, it would re-examine the matter should any offers come in as a result of the refinancing.
Although not confirmed, Blackstone and Schroders were also reportedly in the running to buy the Gazeley portfolio.
GLP emerged the winner, which gives the Singapore-based logistics powerhouse significant presence in each of the world’s three main logistics markets, including $15 billion worth of assets under management in the US and $10 billion in Asia.