Dexus drops office focus, looks to funds management for growth


Office behemoth Dexus’ $180 million investment in Australian Unity’s healthcare fund, the latest in a succession of big deals, is telegraphing a shift away from gleaming white-collar corporate towers while creating headaches for a Canadian takeover rival.

The fast-diversifying property player’s income stream will get a shot in the arm after it tied up a deal this week to invest in Australian Unity’s extensive healthcare platform.

Dexus chief executive Darren Steinberg is shifting focus to sub sectors like healthcare.

Dexus chief executive Darren Steinberg is shifting focus to sub sectors like healthcare.Credit:Janie Barrett

Its investment follows hot on the heels of a $5 billion merger six weeks ago between AMP Capital Diversified Property Fund and a Dexus-managed fund, and the platform’s surprise takeover of ASX-listed APN Property in a $320 million cash deal announced in May.

All three deals are in sectors once unfamiliar to the $11.8 billion office-focused landlord.

Dexus’ latest “platform relationship” with the Australian Unity Healthcare Property Trust (AUHPT) will present opportunities to invest in the fund’s healthcare development pipeline and includes a $180 million cornerstone investment in a $320 capital raising undertaken by AUHPT this week.

Ultimately, the quid-pro-quo arrangement allows Dexus first rights to clip-the-ticket on Australian Unity’s management platform if the healthcare landlord decides to sell its interest. In return, AUHPT gets first rights to acquire a quarter indirect interest in Dexus’ Australian Bragg Centre, an advanced proton therapy unit it owns in Adelaide.

But Dexus’ arrival as a unit holder in the Australian Unity fund is a major upset for Canada’s NorthWest Healthcare Properties, which is navigating a months-long $2.7 billion takeover bid.

The Canadian’s latest offer, sweetened from a previous attempt, values AUHPT at $2.55 per unit, a price Australian Unity rejects as undervaluing the fund.

The fund’s Canadian suitors, who hold a 5.1 per cent stake, need 75 per cent of unit holders to vote in favour of their offer next month. They have support from major holder Hume Partners which owns 11 per cent.

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