Kennedy Wilson eyes London IPO

The California-based firm that has been snapping up investments in Europe, is reportedly aiming to raise £750 million on the London Stock Exchange to acquire more opportunistic assets.

Kennedy Wilson, the Los Angeles-based company, has set its sights on raising up to £750 million (€910 million; $1.2 billion) for further European deals via an initial public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange.

Kennedy Wilson, which itself floated on the New York Stock Exchange in 2010 and also listed a Japan company back in 2002 , has been on a buying spree in Europe for three years already snapping up assets in the UK, Ireland and Spain, is planning to use the fresh proceeds of its vehicle to acquire assets in those target countries, according to UK magazine Property Week.

Its first move arrived in 2011 when it acquired Bank of Ireland Real Estate Investment Management (BOI REIM) in order to establish Kennedy Wilson Europe.

If the offering goes according to plan it could become the largest UK real estate listed blind pool of capital assembled in the UK for opportunistic deals.

The target size is between £500 million and £750 million, but appetite for the offer is fuelling hopes that it could reach the upper threshold, said Property Week. An intention to list is reportedly expected within two weeks and the fund could be listed the following fortnight.

Kennedy Wilson’s latest announced deal in the region is the acquisition of debt in the landmark Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin for $152 million. That deal was announced just 10 days ago when the firm revealed it had acquired the notes with $70 million of equity and $82 million in bank loans. Mary Ricks, chief executive officer in Europe, said that investment was struck at a “significant discount” to the unpaid principal balance.

In September it bought a portfolio of UK shopping centers out of administration for $388 million alongside its partner hedge fund, Varde.