Stone Point Capital, the financial services-focused private equity firm, has acquired Lewis Ranieri’s Situs Holdings for around $200m, reflecting a sale at the upper end of expectations when the firm was put up for sale last October.
In Europe, Situs manages around €24bn of European commercial real estate loans in primary servicing and a further €700m of loans in special servicing and is one of the region’s largest third-party servicers in Europe.
Stone Point, which has with €13bn in committed capital under management, has acquired Situs from Ranieri Partners and WL Ross & Co.
In a statement released published earlier today, Situs said the sale will provide “access to Stone Point’s broad network of relationships and the funding to capitalize on growth opportunities”.
Further details on the potential evolution of Situs’ diversified business model were not elaborated on.
Ranieri, the American finance visionary who helped pioneer mortgage-backed securitisation at Salomon Brothers in the 1980s, acquired the then-named The Situs Companies in October 2011, in a joint venture between Ranieri Partners and Helios AMC.
At the time, Situs contemplated converting its commercial real estate loan expertise into a platform to buy non-performing and sub-performing loan portfolios and was even a first round bidder on Lloyds Banking Group’s Project Royal commercial property loan portfolio. However, Situs shortly after curtailed such ambitions.
The game-changer for Situs in Europe was the firm’s acquisition of Deutsche Bank’s CMBS loan servicing platform, DECO, in September 2012, with included around €6bn worth of securitized loans.
Since the beginning of 2012, Situs has been named the primary and/or special servicer on the majority of the securitizations issued in Europe, including Merry Hill-Deco 2012, Florentia 2012, Taurus 2013 GMFI, Chiswick-Deco 2013, and Debussy DTC PLC transactions.
As part of the sale to Stone Point, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015, Situs’s President, Steve Powel, will become CEO and “lead the firm through its next phase of development”, the statement added.
“We have known Situs and its management team since 2010 and are delighted to be partnering with them. With its diverse capabilities, strong track record and blue-chip client base, Situs is well positioned for growth as the market increasingly utilizes outsourced CRE services,” said Chuck Davis, CEO of Stone Point Capital, in a statement.
New Situs CEO Powel added: “We are excited to have entered into this partnership with Stone Point.
“Their commitment as a strategic capital partner, along with the innovative solutions and services that Situs provides, will allow us to further expand our capabilities to benefit our clients. Given the current solid market conditions in our industry, I look forward to leading the Situs executive management team through this galvanizing high-growth stage.”
Lewis Ranieri, the securitisation pioneer which founded one of Situs principal shareholders, Ranieri Partners, was interviewed in October 2013 by CoStar News in person in this two-part special report which can be viewed here: