Bahrain-based GFH Financial Group has signed a deal to take a controlling stake in US-based SQ Asset Management.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Established in 2013, SQ is a living sector asset manager and property manager focused on student housing.

Its primary investment strategy is to acquire and manage purpose-built student housing assets at large public US universities, and increase their value through capital upgrades and operational efficiencies.

The firm currently has more than $1.4bn in aggregate transaction value with 32 housing properties and 10,300 beds currently under management across the US.

As part of the deal, GFH will launch its US operations by adding 180 real estate professionals to its employee base, bringing significant investment and asset management experience in US real estate.

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GFH CEO Hisham Alrayes said: “We’re excited to announce this acquisition, which launches GFH’s operations in the US and provides us with direct access to the attractive living space and provides the Group with local and well positioned access in the US to help execute our real estate strategy.

“This investment is in line with GFH’s strategy of growing its presence globally by partnering and acquiring leading and well-established platforms with strong market reputations in Europe and North America. The acquisition of SQ will add to GFH significant investment and operational expertise in US real estate.”

Following the close of the deal, SQ will be owned by GFH alongside founders, a $51bn alternative investment firm, and US-based private equity firm TriPost Capital Partners.

SQ CEO Andy Feinour said: “With the support and backing of GFH, we strongly believe in our ability to unlock further growth at SQ and execute on our clear plan to triple our assets under management.

“Over the past nine years, we have grown our client base and assets under management, and we are confident we will significantly build on this by benefiting from GFH as our strategic partner. We will continue to provide the best service for our investors and will be in a stronger position to deliver attractive results”.

In 2020, GFH took a 50.4% majority stake in Bahraini investment bank Global Banking Corporation.