Last week, the Financial Times added fuel to a long-running rumor by reporting that Atlanta-based Gables Residential was on the market. The paper also said that bankers and broker Eastdil Secured were hired to handle the sale and that bids would arrive in the next couple of weeks.
It seems to be a good time to test the market. The Financial Times wrote that real estate-related mergers and acquisitions has reached $2 trillion in volume this year—a level not seen this early in the year since 2007.
Sources told the Financial Times that Gables could “fetch between $2 billion and $3 billion and attract interest from private equity, sovereign wealth and institutional investors.”
Analysts told Multifamily Executive that the field of buyers was fairly wide open with private buyers or even REITs as possibilities.
“I would assume that the most logical buyer is another big apartment owner—they'd be willing to pay more than another financial investor,” says Ben Thypin, director of market analysis at New York-based research firm Real Capital Analytics.
The eventual buyer of Gables will get an established multifamily platform that’s piloted by 2010 Multifamily Executive of the Year Sue Ansel. Gables was 35th on the 2014 NMHC 50 Managers List with 36,081 units and 22nd on the MFE Top 25 Developers List with 982 units.
In June 2005, ING Clarion, a real-estate fund, bought Gables for $2.8 billion. It was one of a number of privatizations in that era. In a $2.1 billion transaction, PRIME Property Fund, a core, open-ended, institutional real estate fund managed by Morgan Stanley, took Chicago-based AMLI Residential Properties Trust private in 2006. In 2007, Lehman Brothers and Tishman Speyer bought Denver-based Archstone. Lehman declared bankruptcy in 2008 and later sold Archstone to Chicago-based Equity Residential and Arlington, Va.,-based AvalonBay Communities in 2013.
Gables wouldn’t provide comment to MFE on the sale.