BREAKING NEWS: USAA Real Estate to Restructure

Current management and an equity partner will buy a controlling stake in the institutional investor.
Len O’Donnell. Image courtesy of USAA Real Estate

In a major restructuring, financial services giant USAA announced on Thursday that it will sell a controlling interest in its real estate arm, USAA Real Estate (USAARE), to current management at USAARE and an unnamed private investment group. USAA will keep a significant ownership stake in USAARE.

USAARE’s current president & CEO, Len O’Donnell, will continue in his leadership role at the company, which will continue to serve as the exclusive investment manager for USAA’s real estate portfolio. Those holdings include One Liberty Center, a Class A office property that USAARE picked up this summer for $153 million.

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In a statement, USAA CEO Stuart Parker said the move was intended to streamline USAA’s operating structure in its core businesses: banking, auto, home and life insurance and retirement products. According to the company, the deal will minimize regulatory requirements for USAARE, which will allow it to grow more profitably.

The deal, slated to close in early 2020, is expected to have minimal impact on employees of the company, with USAARE planning to maintain its current workforce.

The move is the commercial real estate industry’s second high-profile restructuring in less than a month. On Oct. 21, Howard Hughes Corp. unveiled its own reorganization, naming Paul Layne as its new CEO and revealing a new streamlining plan that would save as much as $50 million a year and involve the sale of $2 billion in no-core assets. The plan also called for the company to move its headquarters from Dallas to The Woodlands, a northern suburb of Houston.

San Antonio-based USAA was founded in 1922 and had more than $30 billion in revenue as of 2017, according to a report from the firm.