Columbia Threadneedle to acquire Houston’s Lionstone Investments

Houston-based Lionstone Investments, a nationally focused firm with properties across the commercial real estate spectrum, is being acquired by a subsidiary of Ameriprise Financial, attaching itself to a financial services giant while allowing it to stay in its hometown and retain control of its investment activities.

The deal announced Wednesday morning with Columbia Threadneedle Investments will give Lionstone access to client, research and other capabilities, and bolster it with the financial strength of Columbia’s publicly traded parent company.

It also will extend Boston-based Columbia Threadneedle’s investment reach into U.S. real estate and add to its $10.5 billion property business in the United Kingdom. Lionstone will become the headquarters for Columbia Threadneedle’s U.S. real estate investment management platform.

Founded in 2001, Lionstone employs data analytics to help identify opportunities.


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“That investment strategy now gets supercharged,” chief strategy officer Glenn Lowenstein said.

The local company manages $6 billion in assets, including properties in Santa Monica, Calif., Austin, Nashville, Midtown Atlanta, Seattle and elsewhere. Its Houston-area properties include downtown’s 708 and 712 Main buildings, now called the Jones on Main; the GreenStreet mixed-use development; and Sugar Land Town Square.

Lionstone’s investors are public and corporate pension funds, foundations, endowments and high-net-worth individuals. The group, which includes Oregon Public Employee Retirement Fund and California State Teachers Retirement System, must approve the deal.

The response from those investors has been overwhelmingly positive, Lowenstein said.

Lionstone will keep its name, identity within Columbia Threadneedle and its Houston headquarters.

“That’s the real positive news for Houston,” said CEO Jane Page, who will report to Columbia Threadneedle’s CEO Ted Truscott.

Page said Lionstone’s investment philosophy and approach will not change.

Both companies, she said, are built on a research platform that drives their investment process.

Lionstone will be gaining a much larger platform on which to invest and conduct research, said Jefferson Duarte, Gerald D. Hines Associate Professor of Real Estate Finance at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business.

“It’s the kind of acquisition it makes sense for both parts,” Duarte said.

As it sought to expand its research and data capabilities, Lionstone last year hired New York investment bank Moelis & Co. to explore options for the company.

Terms were not disclosed on the deal, which is expected to close later this year.

There are no changes planned in Lionstone local headquarters, which has a staff of 55 employees.

Columbia Threadneedle is a global asset management group providing investment strategies and services to individual, institutional and corporate clients.

The company employs more than 2,000 people in North America, Europe and Asia and manages $473 billion of assets.

“Real estate is an important asset class for institutional and retail clients, and we are enthusiastic about the opportunity to further our capabilities in this growing asset class,” Truscott said in the announcement.

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