UPDATE 1-Sun Life to acquire real estate manager Bentall Kennedy for C$560 million

Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:32pm EDT
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(Add executive comments, details on transaction)

By Allison Lampert and John Tilak

MONTREAL, TORONTO June 15 (Reuters) - Sun Life Financial said Monday it is acquiring North American real estate investment manager Bentall Kennedy Group for C$560 million, as part of the financial services group's larger strategy to expand its capabilities in commercial property.

Through the deal, Bentall Kennedy, which provides property management, real estate investment and leasing services in Canada and the United States, will become a unit of Sun Life Investment Management, Sun Life said in a news release.

The deal will position Sun Life to capitalize on growing demand by pension funds and other asset managers for higher-yield real estate assets, said Sun Life Chief Investment Officer Steve Peacher in an interview on Monday.

"We think the demand for real estate among institutional investors is only going up. By owning Bentall Kennedy, we position ourselves to take advantage of that trend," Peacher said.

Bentall Kennedy will retain its brand and become Sun Life's real estate investment management platform.

Sun Life acquired Bentall from pension funds British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC), the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and Bentall management, all of which held a one-third stake.

The two institutional shareholders said in the release they will remain Bentall Kennedy clients under Sun Life's ownership.   Continued...