LaSalle to buy $690m Aussie fund manager

Chicago-based LaSalle Investment Management is buying Australia’s Trinity Funds Management, boosting assets in the country by $690m to $1.8bn.

LaSalle Investment Management is boosting its business in Australia via the takeover of Trinity Funds Management.

LaSalle’s deal should be completed by the beginning of August, it said today, in a move to increase assets in the country by $690 million to $1.8 billion.

The Chicago-based firm will take on 30 staff in Brisbane where it currently has no office and add those to its existing force of 40 currently operating in Australia.

Trinity is a firm owned by Trinity Group and Clarence Property Corporation. It manages four funds overall, with the bulk of the $690 million of assets being housed within flagship open-ended diversified core-plus vehicle, Trinity Property Trust, which will be rebranded, LaSalle Australia Core-Plus Fund.

LaSalle said it was paying $9.9 million for the whole business, though parent company Jones Lang LaSalle will acquire a 6.2 percent co-investment stake in the LaSalle Australia Core-Plus fund from “entities associated with the sellers”.

Trinity’s chief executive, Steve Leigh, will become head of Australia for LaSalle and report to Philip Ling, LaSalle’s Asia-Pacific chief.

Ling said: “We have spent a great deal of time working to identify potential acquisition candidates in Australia, as part of our business strategy to grow our competitive presence in a country where we foresee strong growth prospects. The acquisition of (Trinity) represents the preferred near-term opportunity and entry point for LaSalle into the Australian market, providing immediate scale, visibility and profitability.”

He added the Trinity platform had benefited from a “significant restructuring” over the last 12 -18 months, overseen by the independent directors, the management team and the Investor Representative Committee. 

“We look forward to working with the (Trinity) team and investors to drive the performance of the underlying funds, and we see a significant amount of potential upside for the Australian business in terms of both expanding LaSalle’s presence in the local market and the potential to assist Australia’s institutional investors as they increasingly look to take advantage of international real estate opportunities,” he said.

In the statement, Leigh said he was excited about the prospect of working under the well respected LaSalle brand. “The team has worked hard to completely overhaul the funds management operation over the last 18 months, and the fact that an organisation of LaSalle’s calibre sees the platform as high quality is a testament to the team’s commitment and the results achieved.”

Earlier this week, PERE reported how LaSalle is in exclusive talks to take over another platform, this time JER Partners' European funds business.