New joint venture will own more than 1,000 rented properties

Team-up between Axa and Kennedy Wilson cleared by EU competition watchdog

While the Republic’s regulator, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, reviews most such deals, the EU steps in where those involved reach a certain scale. Photograph: Getty Images

While the Republic’s regulator, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, reviews most such deals, the EU steps in where those involved reach a certain scale. Photograph: Getty Images

 

EU competition regulators have given the go-ahead to landlord Kennedy Wilson and French insurer Axa to form a joint venture that will own more than 1,000 rented homes in the Republic.

The pair announced plans last year to join forces in a business that will invest in apartments, with Axa taking 50 per cent in Kennedy Wilson ventures that own 1,173 apartments in central Dublin.

The joint venture is likely to buy more dwellings to add to its existing buildings and also looks likely to purchase offices. The Republic is currently wrestling with a housing crisis while demand for offices is high.

DG Competition, Brussels’ mergers and price fixing watchdog, on Thursday said that it would approve the deal.

“The commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns because of its limited impact on the market,” a statement said.

DG Competition’s statement noted that Axa was taking a stake in three newly created companies that will buy, hold and manage private rented homes and offices in the Republic.

Recession

US-based Kennedy Wilson is one of the biggest of a new wave of institutional landlords that entered the Republic as the recession began to ease earlier in the decade. Axa is a significant player in the insurance market.

The parties had to refer the proposed deal to Brussels for investigation because of the size of both businesses.

While the Republic’s regulator, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, reviews most such deals, the EU steps in where those involved reach a certain scale.

That threshold can be a combined worldwide turnover of more than €5 billion or an EU-wide turnover for each of more than €250 million.