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GIC circling Blackstone’s Australian retirement villages

The Singaporean sovereign wealth fund is reportedly looking to acquire Australian retirement village owner National Lifestyle Villages.

GIC is reportedly inquiring after Blackstone’s Australian retirement village platform, National Lifestyle Villages.

Blackstone formed a strategic partnership with the greenfield developer of retirement communities in Australia back in November 2014 with intentions to invest $150 million in nine communities in Western Australia and in one community in Victoria. The amount that GIC could potentially pay for the assets has not been disclosed.

The New York-based alternative asset manager made the investment in both the operating company and real estate assets through its Tactical Opportunities Fund, which employs an opportunistic, multi-asset class investment strategy focused on special situations. The Tactical Opportunities Group has a flexible mandate that allows it to shift its strategy depending on market conditions. The group targets investments from real assets to corporate debt and equity securities to unsecuritized streams of cash flows.

If Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund is successful in its pursuit of the retirement village platform, it will follow New Zealand’s sovereign wealth fund, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund in making a foray into the sector.

The super fund and a New Zealand-listed asset manager, Infratil, paid A$640 million to acquire Retire Australia from joint owners Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan in December 2014.

Alternative real estate sectors, such as senior living, are gaining more popularity in Australia as investors are up to weight in the traditional asset classes but still want to increase their exposure to property.

“Those alternative sectors are definitely growing in interest for many investors,” Robb Macnicol, executive director at advisor and placement agency Pacific Capital, told PERE at the magazine’s recent Australia roundtable.

He added: “Some of the bigger investors that are already set in Australia for office, retail and industrial are looking at the demographic thematics to find opportunities. An aging population, for instance, speaks directly to healthcare and retirement villages. For super funds it makes great sense because it is matching the profile of their members and investing in sectors relevant for them.”

GIC did not respond to request for comment by press time. Blackstone declined to comment. The potential GIC deal was first reported yesterday in IPE Real Estate.