Guardian Life Makes a Big ($200 Million) Real Estate Bet

A 150-year-old mutual insurer wants to get into the real estate investment game. To do so, it is partnering with a national real estate development firm.

The Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America will acquire a substantial, non-controlling interest in the investment management subsidiary of Lowe Enterprises. As part of the agreement, Guardian has allocated more than $200 million to Lowe Enterprises Investors’ investment portfolio. Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Lowe Enterprises Investors will continue to be managed by co-CEOs Brad Howe and Bleecker Seaman. “This partnership positions us to take advantage of the recovery of the real estate market and will allow us to better serve our clients by improving our capital resources,” Mr. Howe said.

Both firms expect the partnership to broaden their respective footprints in real estate. “This agreement presents a tremendous opportunity to expand our real estate investment activities,” said Lowe chief Robert J. Lowe.

Added Guardian’s chief investment officer, Tom Sorell: “We view this as an opportune time to invest in real estate.”

Founded in 1860, Guardian offers individuals, business owners and their employees with life, long-term care, disability income, group medical and dental insurance products. It also offers 401(k), annuities and other financial services.

Lowe Enterprises entered the real estate investment management field in the late 1980s.

Grail Partners acted as financial adviser to Lowe, while De Guardiola Advisors acted on behalf of Guardian in the transaction.


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