SM’s buyout of 61.2% of “MyTown” dorms ok’d
The country’s leading conglomerate SM Investments Corp. has obtained approval from the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) to acquire a 61.2 percent stake in Philippines Urban Living Solutions Inc. (PULS), the company that operates a growing chain of dormitory buildings under the “MyTown” brand.
In a press statement on Saturday, the PCC announced that it had approved SMIC’s acquisition of shares in PULS, a leading owner, developer and manager of purpose-built staff-housing at walking distance from the major central business districts in the Philippines.
PULS, an investee company of Franklin Templeton Investments and BPI Capital Corp., currently owns and manages five buildings in Makati and BGC with over 1,000 beds all operated under the “MyTown” brand. The company specializes in building 10- to 20-square meter residential units rented out near Metro Manila central business districts.
The PCC’s Mergers and Acquisitions Office (MAO) found that the transaction would not result in substantial lessening of competition in the relevant market, the statement said.
“After the acquisition, sufficient competitive constraints on the merged firm remains from other market participants,” the PCC said.
The PCC also reminds firms that it has the power to require production and access to relevant business information but also mindful of its duty to protect confidential business information obtained in the course of the proceedings.
PCC, the country’s anti-trust body, is mandated under the Philippine Competition Act to review mergers and acquisitions to ensure that these deals will not prejudice the interest of the consumers.
Investing in dormitories catering to young professionals in the central business districts, including business process outsourcing (BPO) workers, is seen as a new growth area for property developers. Across the metropolis, there is a growing pool of office workers – especially young people who had just entered the workforce – who need halfway homes but can not afford yet to purchase their first residence.
Based on its website, MyTown units come in four configurations, each fully-furnished with a bath, kitchenette, a desk, and smart bunk beds with ergonomic gadget provisions. MyTown buildings also have a wide range of comprehensive amenities and recreational areas. Its biggest property to date is MyTown New York, a 700-bed dormitory in Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati, which is also equipped with a movie theater, game rooms, resto bars, KTV rooms, function and study rooms, and a roof deck.
Each fully-fitted room is rented out at around P17,000 monthly. Two people sharing a room thus pay P8,500 each while four people sharing pay P4,800 each.
MyTown buildings also come with retail outlets, such as convenience stores, restaurants, coffee shops, payment centers, laundromats, and pharmacies.
PULS was established in 2013 by a group of Dutch and Filipino ex-investment bankers.