Property entrepreneur Nick Leslau says he is in no hurry to invest the £448m from the sale of Max Property.
Nick Leslau claims he is in no hurry to spend the £447.7m from the sale of Max Property Group to US private equity giant Blackstone.
Leslau, who also listed the £1.5bn Secure Income REIT on AIM last month, told Property Week: “There will be no son of Max immediately. We’ve got Secure Income REIT to focus on and we are very ambitious for that. Plus, we think the market is quite expensive right now, so we’ll sit, watch and wait.”
However, he stressed, this did not mean he thought the market had peaked.
“We are not calling the top of the market here,” he said.
“I would like to think we are doing with Max what we said we would do. We had five years of very active management turning ugly ducklings into swans. We bought towards the bottom of the market and we’ve sold closer to the top. We had 22 months left to run, and we either waited another 12 months or did a swift deal now. We took the view that it would minimise exit risk if we sold everything in one go, and Blackstone offered a great opportunity to do just that.”
Leslau added that Max Property had gained 46% shareholder approval for the sale before announcing it on Tuesday, and that he had been confident institutional shareholders would back it.
“We went round to the family offices and high net worth investors and gained 46% approval,” he said.
“The response since the announcement has been almost uniquely positive.”
Leslau and business partner Mike Brown confirmed the sale of Max Property to Blackstone Real Estate Partners Europe IV this week.
The sale is conditional on approval by more than 50% of shareholders voting in favour at an extraordinary general meeting on 11 August.
The valuation of Max Property reflects a 22% increase over the net assets reported in the group’s 31 March 2014 annual report, and a 112% increase in headline net asset value since Max Property was established at the bottom of the market in 2009.
Leslau added that his ambitions to turn Secure Income REIT into the UK’s largest REIT, worth more than £5bn, should be realised within five years.
“There is no reason why we won’t
have the largest REIT in the UK in five years,” he said. “There are a huge
amount of assets tied up in big institutions and supermarkets that
will come to market.
“We have to be patient, but we believe there are £15bn worth of assets out there waiting for someone to buy them. We are not saying Secure Income will buy them, as we are going to be patient. But we have huge ambitions.”