Goldman Sachs-backed Woodstock hires IDFC’s Nimesh Grover as co-head
Bengaluru: Nimesh Grover, a former top executive at IDFC Alternatives Ltd, has joined Woodstock Ambience Pvt. Ltd, a student housing venture backed by Goldman Sachs Inc., as president and co-head, said three people familiar with the development.
Goldman Sachs bought a majority stake in the Bengaluru-based venture that focuses on student housing facilities for educational institutions, from Manipal Integrated Services Ltd (MIS) earlier this year. The global financial institution now plans to scale up the business and take it to different cities.
“The student housing business is an alternative real estate asset class. With an annuity income model, Woodstock Ambience has a scalable platform where they will buy land and build these facilities for universities across cities. Along with Grover, there are plans to hire a co-head as well in the near future,” said one the three people cited above, who did not wish to be named.
A Goldman Sachs spokesperson and Grover declined to comment.
Globally, Goldman Sachs has taken big bets in the student housing space. In early 2016, Goldman Sachs joined hands with Wellcome Trust, a British charitable foundation, in a £2 billion student accommodation joint venture.
The new venture, Vero Group, was formed to address the supply crunch in student accommodation, newspaper reports said. Goldman Sachs has also invested in student housing in Australia.
“Though globally, Goldman Sachs and other investors have keenly looked at the student housing business, it is still at a nascent stage in India. However, with institutional investors backing this space now, it is pegged to evolve here as well,” said Shobhit Agarwal, head of capital markets at JLL India.
In India, this will be its first concerted effort in this space. “The venture will look at greenfield opportunities, in cities with a large student population, where it will buy land and build accommodation facilities for students,” said a second person, also declining to be named.
The resignation of Grover, who was partner-real estate, comes at a time when there have been reports on IDFC Ltd selling off its alternatives business. IDFC Alternatives is the alternative asset management vertical and manages over $3.4 billion across three asset classes – private equity, infrastructure equity and real estate.
An IDFC spokesperson confirmed Grover’s resignation but declined to comment on talks regarding the sale of the alternative asset management business.
Grover was instrumental in setting up the office platform for IDFC Alternatives, which pursued a strategy to acquire complete control of ready office assets.
In 2014, IDFC sold off a special economic zone (SEZ) in Pune and an information technology (IT) park in Noida to Blackstone Group Lp for a combined enterprise value of Rs.1,100 crore, providing a 22% internal rate of return, thereby exiting its commercial office investments.
As part of the real estate vertical, the residential debt fund management business is handled by Ritesh Vohra, partner, IDFC Alternatives.