Sun Life Financial buys Bentall Group for $560M

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Sun Life Financial Inc. is acquiring a North American property investment managing firm for $560 million in a bid to expand its asset management business.

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In a statement attached to a disclosure before the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), Sun Life said it is in the process of buying Bentall Kennedy Group. The transaction is expected to close within the third quarter of the year, subject to the closing terms and conditions, as well as corporate regulatory approvals.

Sun Life is also listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange.

The acquisition is part of the strategy to broaden its asset management pillar by expanding and diversifying the capabilities of Sun Life Investment Management, which services third parties and manages Sun Life’s general account.

“The acquisition of Bentall Kennedy is a perfect fit with Sun Life’s four pillar strategy. It expands and diversifies our asset management pillar, with one of the most respected names in real estate,” said Dean Connor, Sun Life chief executive officer.

Bentall Kennedy is a real estate investment manager in Canada and the United States. As of end­March, it was holding $27 billion worth of assets under management and servicing 91 million square feet of properties.

Under the purchase deal, Sun Life and Bentall Kennedy will combine their respective property investment management divisions. Bentall Kennedy will be a unit of Sun Life Investment Management (SLIM). The firm will retain its brand name and become Sun Life’s real estate investment management platform.

The total assets under management of both real estate and mortgage teams of Bentall Kennedy and SLIM will amount to $47 billion, servicing over 550 institutional clients and investors.

“The purchase of Bentall Kennedy complements Sun Life Investment Management’s expertise in asset liability management, fixed income and alternative asset classes by extending our real estate and mortgage investment capabilities,” said Steve Peacher, Sun Life chief investment officer at Sun Life and president at SLIM.

“The two companies also share a common focus on customers, quality investments, strong governance and a commitment to sustainability. Together, we are well positioned for future growth to meet the needs of pension funds and other institutional clients,” he added.

Bentall Kennedy’s institutional shareholders approved the transaction, noting that Sun Life’s stewardship will enable them to continue being the key clients of the real estate investment manager. These key clients are the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC) and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS).

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