CPPIB buys £200m stake in Hermes' Milton Park campus

By Paul Norman - Friday, July 14, 2017 11:04

Hermes Investment Management (Hermes), the £30.8bn manager, has agreed to sell a 50% equity stake in Milton Park to Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) for approximately £200m, cementing the relationship between the two groups.

Located in the Thames Valley, Milton Park accommodates leading global science and technology companies as well as emerging businesses, including a number of spin-off organisations from the nearby University of Oxford. At 250 acres, Milton Park is one of Europe’s largest integrated business, science and technology parks and home to over 250 organisations employing over 9,000 people.

Chris Taylor, Head of Private Markets, Hermes Investment Management, said: “The deal marks another significant milestone in our growing relationship with CPPIB, which has already proved highly successful through our JV within central London and our collaboration at Wellington Place in Leeds and Paradise, Birmingham. Our interests are well aligned and, as such, we have been able to work together to deliver strong financial returns and positive impact upon society and the environment.

“Recycling capital in this manner allows us to adequately diversify our global portfolio and invest further in existing and new strategic holdings, where we believe additional value can be added in line with our focus on the occupational impacts arising from growing trends of urbanisation, globalisation, technology and demographic shifts.”

MEPC Limited (MEPC), which manages Milton Park on behalf of Hermes Investment Management, will remain as asset manager and developer under the joint ownership.

MEPC is overseeing the development of Park Drive East, one of the largest speculative developments in Oxfordshire, accommodating the ongoing demand for quality office and laboratory space in the region.

Andrea Orlandi, Managing Director and Head of Real Estate Investments Europe, CPPIB, added: “This transaction provides CPPIB with a further opportunity to grow our existing relationship with Hermes, one of our key strategic partners. MEPC, our asset and development manager on Wellington Place has a strong track record in developing and transforming major real estate projects. We see significant future growth potential at Milton Park as it continues to build on its attractiveness to the life-science sector – a major pillar of the thriving Oxford economy.”

James Dipple, CEO of MEPC, said: “This deal offers an excellent opportunity for us to grow our relationship with CPPIB, which has already been cemented through our work at Wellington Place. This investment is testament to Milton Park’s reputation and MEPC’s excellent track record of delivering strong investor returns by meeting the needs of our customers through a clear understanding of their occupational requirements.

“With the added support of CPPIB, we will continue to accommodate the expansion of businesses on the park through an identified investment programme set out in our long term business plans.”

Hermes Real Estate completed its sale of Project Aviemore - three MEPC mixed use parks - to funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management and Patrizia Immobilien for £430m at an initial yield of 7.3% in 2014.

The three parks were Chineham Park in Basingstoke, Birchwood Park in Warrington and Hillington Park in Glasgow.

The three regional business parks were spread over 4m sq ft of mixed-use space leased to 510 tenants.

Following the deal MEPC continued to manage four business parks for Hermes including the £500m technology park at Silverstone.

In addition, MEPC continues to manage the continued expansion of Milton Park with its position at the heart of the Oxford-Cambridge ‘Technology Arc’”.

MEPC with Hermes and CPPIB is also bringing forward a major development at Wellington Place, Leeds, which is set to be occupied by the Government Property Unit.

pnorman@costar.co.uk

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