Legg’s Clarion expands in European property


As the European property market starts to look a bit more interesting, compared with the US anyway, Clarion Partners, a Legg Mason affiliate manager, has spread its wings with the acquisition of Gramercy Europe, another property specialist manager.

Clarion is a leading US real estate investment management business with US$50 billion under management, and Gramercy Europe (Jersey) Ltd, a European real estate business specialising in pan-European logistics and industrial assets, announced last week that Clarion had acquired a majority stake in Gramercy Europe. Gramercy Europe will become an operating business of Clarion and be rebranded as Clarion Gramercy, maintaining its offices in London, Berlin and Barcelona.

According to David Gilbert, Clarion Partners’ chief executive: “We are very excited to broaden the investment reach of Clarion Partners into the European markets. Clarion Gramercy and its seasoned team are a natural extension of Clarion’s leadership position in the US, managing a US$16 billion, 700-property portfolio of logistics assets. We are pleased to be in position to expand our product offerings to investors and to satisfy existing tenants that have needs beyond the Americas.”

The current Gramercy Europe chief executive, Alistair Calvert, will continue to lead the business. Formerly, Calvert had been head of the European office for W.P. Carey, one of the largest global real estate investors. In 2006, he established ThreadGreen Partners, a platform that was bought by Gramercy Property Trust in December 2014 and rebranded Gramercy Europe. Since then, Calvert and his team have been responsible for over US$3 billion of real estate transactions in Europe.

Calvert said: “The Gramercy Europe management team has been able to consistently extract upside on behalf of its investors through identifying, acquiring, managing and disposing of institutional quality properties in key logistics locations throughout Western Europe.

“We plan to continue capitalising on the expansion of the undersupplied European logistics property market and leveraging the deep relationships that we have built with some of Europe’s leading businesses. We expect ongoing demand from a range of occupiers that span Europe and the US, fuelled by the growth in e-commerce and expanded trade. We are excited by the synergies created by joining the Clarion Partners investment management platform, and we look forward to enhancing our global investment management business.”

As a majority owner of Clarion Partners, Legg Mason views this transaction as part of its strategic commitment to furthering growth opportunities for its investment affiliates, the firm said in a statement. “Legg Mason is pleased to be able to collaborate with Clarion on this transaction and welcomes Gramercy’s strong management team and investment expertise to Clarion.”

– G.B.