Singapore conglomerate Keppel Corporation is staking a claim in the U.S. seniors housing market with its acquisition of a 50% stake in Watermark Retirement Corporation. That 50% interest plus 50% of the minority interests held by Watermark’s owners in certain communities managed by the company is valued at approximately $77.3 million. This is a big step for Keppel, which had previously not been active in the space. Watermark currently manages 52 seniors housing communities and about 9,400 total beds in 21 states, with a development pipeline of an additional eight properties scheduled to open by 2020.
Watermark already had begun reaching across the Pacific with Watermark Senior Living China and has a joint venture with a Chinese state-owned financial and insurance group to manage its senior living projects throughout China. Making the acquisition through its subsidiary Keppel Capital Senior Living, Keppel will fund the deal with its internal financial resources. Keppel Capital has S$29 billion of assets under management.
Closing is expected to take place in three tranches, with the first by April 2019, but Watermark’s existing management team will continue to be responsible for day-to-day operations.