Investor & Asset Manager Ardent Launches New $530 Million UK Real Estate Investment Business
The Ardent Companies LLC (Ardent), the Atlanta-based real estate investment and asset management firm with $1.3 billion AUM, is launching a new UK business with a major $230 million USD (£165m GBP) strategic acquisition fund – Ardent Strategic Fund I – as well as a $300 million USD (£215m GBP) debt fund.
The UK business, called The Ardent Companies UK Ltd (Ardent UK), will be led by Richard Benson and Andrew Hilston who, until recently, both held senior roles at Battersea Power Station in London.
Ardent UK will continue Ardent’s strategy of being opportunity-driven and sector-agnostic by sourcing opportunities across the UK market. Particular focus will be given to opportunities within established asset classes where Ardent UK can apply value-add initiatives to derive returns that are consistent with the level of Ardent’s performance to date.
In addition to the direct acquisition of real estate assets through the Ardent Strategic Fund I, Ardent will also provide debt to the UK market and is currently raising its fourth debt fund – Ardent Financial Fund IV – with the intention of providing structured and mezzanine level debt to both the US and UK real estate markets.
The main Ardent business, led by CEO, Matt Shulman, has an established track record in the US market for generating compelling returns through substantial capital investment, including direct real estate purchases, high-yield bridge loans and the acquisition of commercial loans secured by real estate.
Backed by The Ardent Companies’ highly experienced leadership team, with an average of 20 years of experience in real estate and investment, Ardent UK, operating out of London, is actively seeking opportunities to invest at least 30% of the new Strategic Fund in projects across all asset classes with immediate scale and value-add opportunities in the UK market.
Richard Benson and Andrew Hilston will both operate as Managing Directors of the UK team, bringing in excess of 35 years of combined real estate experience and complimentary expertise across legal, origination, deal structuring, development, and planning. This includes over six years of experience working together at Battersea Power Station, where the pair jointly sought, landed, and executed the award-winning deal for the 500,000 sq ft HQ office pre-let to Apple.
Richard Benson commented: “We have the capital and confidence from the US team to hit the ground running with our UK origination strategy, focussing on opportunities to invest in high performing asset classes at a good entry rate, where we can scale up quickly and generate quality returns.”
Andrew Hilston also commented: “Richard and I have a longstanding professional and successful relationship. We understand the UK market intimately and bring different skillsets to the table, in addition to our combined experience in deal origination, and are looking forward to working with each other and the US team in the months and years ahead.”