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Bahrain's GFH acquires US-based Big Sky Asset Management

January 4, 2023
banking

Bahrain investment bank GFH Financial Group has acquired a majority stake in Big Sky Asset Management, a US-based real estate asset manager focused on the defensive healthcare segment.

The deal expands GFH's presence in the US, the world's biggest economy, and “builds on its thematic focus on attractive and defensive markets”.

Defensive segments are those that hold up well during economic slumps. The healthcare sector is considered one of the consistent defensive industries because it usually profits from rising customer needs irrespective of the overall economy.

The move follows GFH's acquisition in May of the US-based SQ Asset Management, a specialist in student housing in prime US states and cities.

GFH has completed acquisitions of two portfolios of medical clinics through a joint venture with Big Sky that is valued in excess of $800 million as part of its “investment strategy of acquiring portfolios of stabilised assets supported by strong market fundamentals and operating growth”, said Nael Mustafa, co-chief investment officer of GFH.

“This partnership will further strengthen our real estate offering and allow us to introduce unique and attractive products to our investors.

“This acquisition is instrumental to the future growth of GFH by giving us strong management teams that are able to execute our growth strategy and give us a local presence … Big Sky’s strong track record further complements our strong performance in the US markets and boosts our market know-how.”

Listed on the Bahrain Bourse, Dubai Financial Market and Boursa Kuwait, GFH manages more than $16.35 billion in assets and funds including a global portfolio of investments in logistics, health care, education and technology in the Middle East and North Africa region, Europe and North America.

Big Sky, which has more than $2 billion in cumulative transaction value, has strong capabilities in sourcing, acquiring and managing healthcare assets with a focus on medical clinics and life sciences real estate. The company seeks premier medical facilities where it can directly add value through active and enhanced asset management.

“Having GFH as a strong partner will enable Big Sky to further offer unique investment opportunities to investors in the US and the GCC,” said Jason Signor, chief executive of Big Sky.

Big Sky is well positioned to grow its AUM [assets under management] and become one of the largest healthcare real estate investors by combining our market capabilities with GFH’s strong global access.”

In October, GFH acquired a portfolio of medical clinics in the US in a deal valued at $400 million.

In November, it reported a 3.3 per cent rise in its third-quarter profit, helped by higher income from global investments and funds, as the company continues to boost its portfolio.

Net profit attributable to the shareholders of the bank for the quarter that ended on September 30 climbed to $24.06 million from the same period a year earlier.

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