Oakwood Worldwide, the extended-stay apartment company based in West L.A., has been acquired by Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd., a real estate investment trust based in Singapore, in an all-cash deal.
With a footprint throughout the United States and in nearly 100 countries, Oakwood’s global reputation appealed to Mapletree, which already had a substantial stake in the company’s Asian operations.
“The key reason for us was the Oakwood franchise and brand name recognition, not just in the United States, but in Asia and elsewhere abroad,” said Chua Tiow Chye, Mapletree’s chief investment officer.
He did not disclose the deal’s value, but said that Mapletree aims to capitalize on Oakwood’s $600 million in annual gross revenue as an operator of corporate housing and apartments with hotel-like amenities, called “serviced apartments.”
(The much larger and publicly traded Extended Stay America, with a market cap of $3.5 billion, trades at just more than twice its annual revenue.)
Talks of a potential acquisition began nearly a year ago when Oakwood’s then-Chairman Howard Ruby, who founded the company in 1960, approached Mapletree to discuss opportunities for growth.
“I am and will remain the biggest champion for the success of this company,” Ruby said via email, adding that he will now offer support as chairman emeritus.
The octogenarian said he otherwise plans to spend time rowing, boxing, and hiking, as well as go sky-diving with his wife.
Goldman Sachs served as Oakwood’s adviser in the sale.
Taking over for the company as chief executive is Christopher Ahearn, formerly a senior adviser at TPG Capital, and before that, Oakwood’s senior vice president of sales and marketing.
“We’re very excited about putting the company’s resources together,” Ahearn said. “Combining the Oakwood brand with the Mapletree platform will help us continue to spur growth.”
The relationship between the two companies began in 2014, when Mapletree purchased a 49 percent stake in Oakwood Asia Pacific and agreed to partner on nine properties in the United States and Australia. That deal reportedly allocated $4 billion to expand Oakwood’s portfolio in partnership with Mapletree, with plans to open 100 new buildings within five years.
Oakwood had already shed most of its real estate, including the sale of 30 apartment buildings to Archstone-Smith Trust in 2005 for $1.4 billion.
Oakwood has 3,000 employees, who will remain with the company, and manages 20,000 serviced apartments, according to the firm.
Mapletree now plans to charge ahead with new acquisitions, targeting the United States, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region. Three projects are already underway in Japan and Vietnam.
Oakwood counts as clients a swath of Fortune 500 firms and large U.S. relocation companies, the company said.
This expertise is likely part of the appeal for Mapletree, said Curtis Palmer, a managing director at ARA Newmark, the multifamily investment sales division of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank.
“The strength of a company like Oakwood is in their reservation systems and the relationships they’ve built up for 30 or 40 years,” he said.
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