Equiem acquires property management arm of British Land as ‘PropTech’ deals soar

NEW YORK, April 25 (Reuters) – Equiem, an Australian company that provides tenant services for office buildings, has acquired the property management platform of British Land Co Plc (BLND.L), a deal that marks a change in the way owners manage their real estate needs.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed in a statement from the two companies released on Monday.

British Land, the UK’s largest property investment fund, has acquired a less than 10% stake in Equiem in exchange for property management platform Vicinitee, a source familiar with the matter said.

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The acquisition is the latest wave involving real estate-focused start-ups known as “PropTech” firms, a sector which in the first quarter raised $4.5 billion in investment, double the the quarterly average in 2019, and completed more than 40 M&A deals, according to GCA Advisors in San Francisco.

Vicinitee will be key for Equiem to capture the growing demand from landlords for technology that streamlines commercial real estate operations and improves the tenant experience, said Gabrielle McMillan, managing director of New York-based Equiem.

“It’s a digital interface for your building that becomes a remote control for everything you need in a post-COVID world,” McMillan said.

The agreement brings Equiem’s ​​scale to 500 buildings in Europe, North America and Australia, expands its product range and deepens an existing partnership with British Land, which owns and manages prime office assets in London, she said.

It follows HqO, a Boston-based operating system, which two weeks ago raised $60 million to expand its operations. Real estate software and data company View The Space Inc bought Rise Buildings, another tenant experience operator, in March for about $100 million, the Wall Street Journal said, citing sources.

Marcus Moufarrige, founder of software company Ility, a commercial real estate operating system, said of the Equiem deal that a centuries-old change involving the way technology is used to aggregate, manage and distribute real estate assets, in this case offices, is happening.

“The problem is that (landlord) services now have to be delivered through technology that they don’t have the capacity to do,” Moufarrige said of building owners.

Tenant experience apps initially provided tenants with information about food and other services in a building. During the pandemic, apps have allowed landlords to communicate to their tenants about a building’s hygiene, air quality and other safety issues.

Property management software coordinates and tracks a myriad of data on tenant accounts, tenancy information, building entry and security, HVAC management, and maintenance workflow.

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Reporting by Herbert Lash; edited by Diane Craft

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