Press release

Wellcome Trust takes full ownership of iQ student accommodation

The Wellcome Trust has today acquired the remaining 50% interest in the student accommodation venture iQ from Quintain for £106.4 million. The transaction makes iQ a wholly owned subsidiary of the Wellcome Trust.

The Wellcome Trust sees student housing as a robust and growing property sector that will continue to exhibit growth. This acquisition consolidates iQ as a major property asset in the Trust’s investment portfolio.

The investment is consistent with the Wellcome Trust’s approach to take a more active role in the operational aspects in some of its strategic property holdings. The move builds upon the Trust’s recently announced property joint ventures, which include St Katharine (with the Berkeley Group) and the Tune Hotels London business (with the Queensway Group).

The Wellcome Trust invested in iQ in 2007, as a 50:50 joint venture partner with Quintain, and over the last seven years, the joint venture has grown to become one of the UK’s largest and most successful operators of purpose-built student accommodation, achieving a 99% occupancy rate over the last three years.

iQ now owns a portfolio of 5,183 bedrooms across 13 properties located in nine UK cities, with a value of more than £430 million.

The iQ team currently employed by Quintain will transfer to iQ as part of this transaction, including iQ Fund Manager Ian Scott and Head of iQ Operations David Tymms.

Peter Pereira Gray, Managing Director of the Investment Division at the Wellcome Trust, said: “Taking full ownership of iQ is a demonstration of our commitment to the UK student accommodation sector and our confidence in the quality of iQ as a business. We plan to invest additional capital to fund the next phase of iQ’s growth and look forward to its continued success under our sole ownership.

“We would like to thank our partners Quintain and the iQ management team for making iQ such a successful investment for the Wellcome Trust to date.”

Maxwell James, Chief Executive of Quintain, commented: “In the seven years since we established the joint venture with the Wellcome Trust, we have built iQ into a highly respected, market-leading business that’s delivered strong returns.

“With the future of Quintain firmly fixed on London and iQ achieving strong results across the UK, it is the right time to unlock our substantial investment and recycle it into opportunities aligned to our growth strategy. Specifically, we are increasing the pace of residential delivery at Wembley Park, including an investment in PRS accommodation, and acquiring assets that offer the potential for income and capital growth in London.

“It has been a pleasure working with the team at the Wellcome Trust and we look forward to watching the continued success of iQ as it enters a new era. I would also like to sincerely thank the iQ team for their considerable contribution to Quintain and wish them every success as they embark on this new chapter.”