TORONTO, ON, – Sun Life Financial Inc. (“Sun Life”) (TSX:SLF) (NYSE:SLF) and Bentall Kennedy Group announced today an agreement whereby Sun Life will acquire Bentall Kennedy for a purchase price of $560 million. Bentall Kennedy is a premier real estate investment manager operating in Canada and the U.S. and provides specialized real estate investment management and real estate services, including property management and leasing. As at March 31, 2015, Bentall Kennedy had assets under management of $27 billion and provided real estate services across 91 million square feet of properties.
The acquisition is part of Sun Life’s strategy to broaden its asset management pillar by expanding and diversifying the capabilities of Sun Life Investment Management, which provides investment services to third parties and manages Sun Life’s general account. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2015, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. It will be immediately accretive to earnings and return on equity.
“The acquisition of Bentall Kennedy is a perfect fit with Sun Life’s four pillar strategy,” said Dean Connor, Chief Executive Officer, Sun Life Financial. “It expands and diversifies our asset management pillar, with one of the most respected names in real estate.”
The two firms will combine their real estate investment management teams and Bentall Kennedy will be a unit of Sun Life Investment Management. Bentall Kennedy will retain its brand name and be Sun Life’s exclusive real estate investment management platform. Together, the real estate and mortgage teams of Bentall Kennedy and Sun Life Investment Management will have $47 billion in assets under management, serving 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, President, Sun Life Investment Management, and Chief Investment Officer, Sun Life Financial. “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.”
Bentall Kennedy’s management team fully supports the transaction and is committed to continuing to deliver strong performance and continuity of relationships with all clients. Following completion of the transaction, Bentall Kennedy will continue to be managed by its current team, led by Group Chief Executive Officer, Gary Whitelaw, who will report to Steve Peacher and join the Sun Life Investment Management leadership team. Bentall Kennedy and Sun Life Investment Management will maintain their existing locations.
“For more than 100 years, Bentall Kennedy has been providing top-ranked service and strong performance for its clients. My colleagues and I are excited to take this next step in our evolution,” said Gary Whitelaw. “Sun Life is a strong, highly regarded, and extremely well run financial services organization. We share a deep commitment to investment management as a core business. This combination enables Bentall Kennedy to further advance its mission to stand apart for exceptional client service and high performance culture, all with a strong commitment to Environmental, Social, Governance, and Responsible Property Investment principles.”
Bentall Kennedy’s institutional shareholders, the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC) and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), have both approved the transaction and will continue to be key clients of Bentall Kennedy under Sun Life’s ownership.
“bcIMC strongly supports the transaction, which we believe is beneficial to all stakeholders and ensures that Bentall Kennedy remains well positioned to continue to deliver value to its clients,” said Dean Atkins, Acting Senior Vice President, Real Estate, bcIMC. “Bentall Kennedy has been a valued and trusted adviser of bcIMC for more than 24 years. We look forward to continuing our close relationship with the firm under Sun Life’s ownership.”
“CalPERS looks forward to the future in partnership with Sun Life Investment Management, building on its 17-year longstanding relationship with Bentall Kennedy,” said Paul Mouchakkaa, CalPERS Senior Investment Officer for Real Assets.
About Bentall Kennedy
Bentall Kennedy is one of North America’s largest real estate investment advisors and one of its foremost providers of real estate services. Bentall Kennedy is a recognized global leader in Responsible Property Investing, currently ranked first globally in its category in the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark study, the broadest measure of governance quality and sustainability performance in the global real estate industry. Bentall Kennedy is a member of UN PRI and has received the Energy Star Partner of The Year—Sustained Excellence Award for the past 5 years.
Bentall Kennedy includes Bentall Kennedy (Canada) Limited Partnership and Bentall Kennedy (U.S.) Limited Partnership. For more information, visit www.bentallkennedy.com.
About Sun Life Investment Management
Sun Life Investment Management is an institutional investment management arm of Sun Life Financial that includes the investment operations of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, Sun Life Investment Management Inc. in Canada, and Ryan Labs Asset Management Inc. (acquired April 2, 2015) in the United States. As of March 31, 2015, these Sun Life Investment Management operations had combined assets under management of $141 billion.
About Sun Life Financial
Celebrating 150 years in 2015, Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Sun Life Financial and its partners have operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of March 31, 2015, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of $813 billion. For more information please visit www.sunlife.com.