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MSREI acquires Australian childcare developer

The New York bank’s real estate investment management platform has acquired a developer and operator of childcare facilities in Australia.  

Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing (MSREI), the real estate investment management platform of investment bank Morgan Stanley, has acquired an Australian developer and operator of childcare facilities and services, Australian Childcare Projects Limited (ACP).

MSREI declined to comment on the acquisition price. However, PERE understands that MSREI made an initial investment of up to A$20 million (€13.6 million; $15.67 million), with further investments slated to be made to develop the pipeline of projects. The investment is believed to have been made via the firm’s eighth global opportunity fund, Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund (MSREF) VIII Global, which was launched in early 2014 and has a fundraising target of $2 billion to $3 billion.

Chris Tynan, head Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing in Australia said in a statement: “The childcare sector is attractive to us with its strong market fundamentals and a government and policy emphasis on the provision of quality childcare as key social infrastructure.”

MSREI will retain the key staff and senior management of ACP. 

ACP has secured leases to operate 12 new childcare centres across eastern Australia. The first two centres – Petit Early Learning Journey in Burdell and Petit Early Learning Journey in Port Douglas – opened recently in Queensland.

“Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing is a strong parent,” said Craig Napier, chief executive officer of ACP. “ACP aims to be a pre-eminent developer and operator of childcare centres in Australia and Morgan Stanley’s involvement will assist this process on a number of levels.”

ACP was formed in 2013. Its wholly owned subsidiary, SQM Acquisitions is responsible for managing the design, greenfield construction or refurbishment processes. 

In August last year, MSREI announced plans of liquidating two Australian funds acquired as part of its takeover of Arena Investment Management, formerly called Orchard Capital Investments, in 2011. The process was completed in January this year, with the divestment of all the residual direct property assets in the funds to the Sydney-headquartered boutique investment house Anton Capital for A$249.3 million. 

During the same time in August, the group also announced plans of spinning off the management of Arena’s listed childcare property trust.