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Sumitomo buys major equity in Aussie home-building company

Sumitomo buys major equity in Aussie home-building company

The wholly owned Australian subsidiary of the Japanese group has grown its stake in the custom home market, acquiring more than half of Wisdom Properties.

Firms: Clifford Chance (Wisdom Properties Group Pty Ltd); Thomson Geer (Sumitomo Forestry Australia Pty Ltd)

Deal: Sumitomo Forestry Australia (Sumitomo) has acquired 51 per cent of the Wisdom Property Group (Wisdom).

Value: Undisclosed

Area: M&A

Key players: The Clifford Chance team advising Wisdom was led by Sydney-based partner Lance Sacks (pictured). He was assisted by senior associate Owen Thomas and associate Munpreet Soomal.

Deal significance:

Sumitomo Forestry Australia (Sumitomo) has successfully acquired 51 per cent of the Wisdom group.

Wisdom Properties began trading as Wisdom Homes in 1999, initially offering building home and land packages. Today the Wisdom group has more than 150 employees and includes the Wisdom Landscapes, Inspire Homes and My Home Central businesses.

Sumitomo’s new stake in Wisdom places the company in a good position to consider moving into the residential landscaping business and taking that business into other states.  

In a statement released by the Sumitomo, acquiring an equity interest in the NSW-based home builder will also help meet its target of 3,000 homes sold in Australia each year. Wisdom supplies about 400 new homes per year.

Sumitomo is already involved in other Australian housing businesses throughout Victoria, Queensland and NSW. The group hopes its majority stake in Wisdom will expand existing specialty home business operations in NSW. The group is a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo Forestry Co. Ltd, which has a number of active housing development investments across the Asia-Pacific region and US. 

Clifford Chance advised Wisdom founder Domenic Vitalone and the group’s shareholders on the acquisition.

Commenting on the deal, lead partner Lance Sacks said he was pleased that his team was able to offer “deep knowledge of the real estate sector to assist the sellers in this transaction”.

Clifford Chance partner Lance Sacks

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