Scape Living, iQSA to buy UK's GCP Student Living in $1.3 billion deal

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(Reuters) -Student housing providers Scape Living and Blackstone Group-backed iQSA will buy GCP Student Living in a deal valuing the UK-listed rival at 969 million pounds ($1.34 billion), the companies said in a joint statement on Friday.

Shares in GCP soared 12% to an all-time high on the deal, which comes at a time when student accommodation providers are facing persistent uncertainty as pandemic-led travel restrictions and Brexit hinder international students from entering the United Kingdom.

GCP's assets will be acquired by Gemini Jersey JV, a newly formed joint venture between Scape and iQSA, whose offer value of 213 pence was at an 11% premium to GCP's last close on Thursday.

"With its high-quality asset base located primarily in London and the South East (of UK), GCP represents a strategic fit for both the Scape Living and the iQ platforms," the consortium said of the British firm, whose properties have lost 17.6 million pounds in value.

London-based Scape Living will own about 60% of the total value of GCP's real estate assets, with the rest to be held by iQSA, under the terms of the recommended deal.

Dutch pension provider APG, which backs Scape living, also owns an 11.1% stake in GCP.

($1 = 0.7237 pounds)

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)

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