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Barclays to Buy Mortgage Lender Kensington for £2.3 Billion

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(Bloomberg) -- Barclays Plc has agreed to buy Kensington Mortgage Company Ltd., expanding the reach of its offering in Britain’s housing market.

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The lender’s UK unit will pay about £2.3 billion ($2.8 billion) for the specialist mortgage lender that is owned by Blackstone Inc. and Sixth Street, according to a statement Friday.

Kensington, which is based in Maidenhead, England, and has around 600 employees, originated approximately £1.6 billion of mortgages in the year to March 31. Barclays Bank UK will also acquire a portfolio of UK mortgages -- expected to total about £2 billion at the end of the year -- as part of the deal.

Kensington targets the self-employed, those with multiple incomes and the over 55s, according to its website, cohorts that major banks often struggle to reach. It is the most frequent issuer of mortgage bonds in the UK market and was listed on the London Stock Exchange from 2000 until 2007.

The UK housing market is a key business for Britain’s lenders. It was supercharged by the pandemic, although the market is beginning to cool as interest rates rise and warnings multiply that the economy is headed for recession.

The acquisition will be financed from the British bank’s “existing resources” and is expected to reduce its CET1 ratio -- a key measure of capital strength -- by about 12 basis points. It is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to complete late this year or early next.

What Bloomberg Intelligence Says

Barclays’ planned £2.3 billion purchase of UK specialist mortgage lender Kensington Mortgage Co. confirms the bank’s desire to grow its mortgage-market share beyond 10% and is no real surprise. Adding about £2 billion of annual mortgage origination capacity, Barclays’ funding benefits and a CET1 impact of 12 basis points suggest this bolt-on deal will be EPS-accretive but no game-changer.

Jonathan Tyce, BI banking analyst

Bloomberg reported earlier this month that Barclays was nearing a deal for Kensington.

(Adds Bloomberg Intelligence analysis)

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