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ARA to grow property credit platform with majority stake in Europe's Venn Partners

REAL assets fund manager ARA Asset Management on Thursday said it has completed the acquisition of a majority stake in Venn Partners, an investment manager in European real estate private debt.

The acquisition, done via its subsidiary ARA UK Asset Management, was completed as part of a previously announced joint venture (JV), ARA Venn.

ARA Asset Management will provide cornerstone capital and working capital to drive the JV's expansion of its investment management business for real asset-backed credit markets in the UK, Europe and other geographies, both companies said.

The amount of capital to be provided was not disclosed.

The acquisition is ARA Asset Management's second investment partnership in Europe and its first venture into European real estate credit.

Mark Ebbinghaus, chief executive officer of ARA Europe and chairman of ARA Venn, will join Venn Partners' management team.

Founded in 2009, Venn Partners has a combined assets under management and investment mandates of over £5 billion (S$8.59 billion).

Its current strategies comprise a UK government-backed lending programme into private sector rental housing, value-add strategies in UK and European commercial real estate debt, and residential mortgage finance in the Netherlands.

Mr Ebbinghaus said: "In the current and likely near-term volatile market environment driven by reactions to the global pandemic, the real assets credit market is viewed as a positive space to be in, particularly for participants with committed undeployed capital, and those with established track record managing government programmes."

ARA Asset Management directly manages Singapore-listed Suntec Reit, Cache Logistics Trust and ARA US Hospitality Trust, and also has a stake in Cromwell Property Group, the sponsor of Cromwell European Reit.