US investors back European fund IPO by Kennedy Wilson to tune of £910m

Kennedy Wilson’s newly floated European fund is to continue the company’s successful real estate strategy of buying debt and equity investments in Ireland, Spain and the UK. The US company raised £910m from mostly US investors in a larger-than-expected initial public offering on 25 February. The fund is acquiring two seed portfolios of UK assets, valued at £211m by CBRE. The 1.2m sq ft Tiger portfolio, to be acquired in new shares, was already owned by Kennedy  Wilson in partnership with Varde and has 14 retail, office and industrial properties.

The 1.4m sq ft Artemis portfolio comprises 26 English and Scottish properties. Kennedy Wilson invested £90m in the IPO, with management taking up £3m of shares. The fund’s investors include Canadian financial group Fairfax, which has invested with the firm in Europe before and is an investor in Bank of Ireland; and George Soros’s Quantum fund. The IPO prospectus reveals Kennedy Wilson has “resolved” 23 of 24 loans from its first European asset deal in October 2011, when it bought a €1.6bn Bank of Ireland performing and non-performing loan book.