Feb 26, 2020 - Economy & Business

Blackstone to acquire U.K. student housing company iQ for $6 billion

Stephen Schwarzman, co-founder and CEO of Blackstone Group, on Nov. 5, 2019. Photo: Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Blackstone Group agreed to buy British student housing company iQ for $6.06 billion (£4.66 billion) from Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking and Wellcome Trust.

Why it matters: It's Britain's largest-ever private real estate acquisition, and is part of Blackstone's apparent goal to become much of the world's landlord.

The bottom line: "Property firms have turned to Britain’s budding build-to-rent sector, which caters to students and city dwellers seeking affordable accommodation, as traditional home building and selling falters," Reuters reports.

Go deeper: Blackstone Group buys majority stake in Bumble parent company

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Elevator deal is largest European buyout since financial crisis

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Thyssenkrupp of Germany agreed to sell its elevators unit for $18.7 billion to a consortium that includes Advent International, Cinven, ADIA and the RAG Foundation.

Why it matters: This is Europe's largest buyout since before the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

Coronavirus crisis drives housing advocates' push for rent and mortgage relief

Homeless people who live in tents along a underpass in Washington D.C. Photo by Michael S. Williamson: The Washington Post via Getty Images.

Affordable housing advocates are calling on Congress to do more to protect the fragile housing options for low-income workers who are at heightened risk of losing their homes as the COVID-19 public health crisis drags on.

Why it matters: Without a place to stay, it's next to impossible to maintain the "social distance" necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Small business' rent problem amid coronavirus crisis

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Small businesses can lay off or furlough employees if they are forced to close for the duration of a lockdown. They can stop buying goods from vendors. They can even stop paying their owners. But they still owe rent.

The big picture: If no money is coming in, then most businesses won't write those rent checks. Some will simply fall behind; others will take advantage of formal rent moratoriums. Either way, the problem just gets kicked down the road, creating a nasty past-due rent liability.