In Australia, manufactured home builder and community owner Gateway Lifestyle Group has seen significant growth since the Daily Business News reported a potential deal with Hometown America last August to purchase National Lifestyle Villages (NLV), Western Australia’s largest operator of manufactured home communities.
At the time, the proposed deal would have entailed Gateway acquiring NLV’s land holdings and project pipeline, while Hometown would obtain the company’s passive investment income stream currently held by private equity giant Blackstone.
Blackstone had entertained a possible sell of their portfolio stake for a rumored $225 million, although official comments from the firm said they were “not actively seeking.”
According to The Australian, the manufactured home estate (MHE) segment in the country focuses on providing affordable community living to people 55 and over, similar to the seniors-only communities in the U.S.
Gateway Lifestyle Group was created in 2009, and now owns and operates 55 communities, with more than 9,400 individual sites for manufactured homes.
With the Australian manufactured home market in its early stages, significant opportunity exists. And that has put Hometown and Gateway Lifestyle Group in a potential head-to-head battle.
Most MHEs in the country are privately owned and operated, so the market is highly fragmented. This provides for significant opportunities for acquisitions, and analysts project that the current pipeline of opportunities will provide several years of growth via underfunded retirees who need affordable housing.
In recent weeks, Hometown America decided to formally enter the Australian market via a MHE purchase in Port Macquarie through its subsidiary Hometown Australia.
This move is in addition to a November 2016 rumor that Hometown America was planning a takeover bid for Gateway Lifestyle and Ingenia Communities, valued in excess of $1 billion.
It was suggested that Bank of America Merrill Lynch could be involved in a prospective transaction, but who would actually be involved remains unclear. The Australian reported that Gateway could fetch a purchase price in excess of $643 million.
Founded in 1997, Hometown America is a privately held company that owns and operates manufactured housing communities across the country. Today, the company operates more than 45 communities in ten states in the U.S.
For more on Hometown America, including their proposed acquisition of Laconia, New Hampshire-based Briarcrest Estates, click here. ##
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Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews