Extra Space, SmartStop Self Storage’s Big-Ticket Merger

Extra Space Storage and SmartStop Self Storage, the second and seventh largest owners and operators of self-storage facilities in the U.S., will soon become one.
Michael Schwartz,  SmartStop Self Storage

Michael Schwartz, SmartStop Self Storage

Extra Space Storage Inc. and SmartStop Self Storage Inc., the second and seventh largest owners and operators of self-storage facilities in the U.S., respectively, will soon become one. Extra Space has agreed to acquire SmartStop for $1.4 billion in cash.

For SmartStop, formerly Strategic Storage Trust Inc., such a union was considered an eventuality for the public non-traded REIT from the start.

“Our mission was a five- to eight-year investment hold. Since we started eight years ago, the timing for this merger worked well with our strategy,” H. Michael Schwartz, CEO of SmartStop, told Commercial Property Executive. “Today’s investment market is a positive environment for a large-scale transaction at an attractive price.”

Attractive price, indeed. The $13.75 per share that Extra Space will pay SmartStop stockholders constitutes an approximately 27 percent premium over SmartStop’s most recently announced net asset value. The acquisition price will include cash obtained through the roughly $120 million disposition of seven SmartStop properties–one in California, interests in two Alabama assets and five Toronto properties–in advance of the closing of the merger.

“From my perspective, SmartStop spent several years building a portfolio by acquiring a combination of stabilized assets and assets requiring professional management and leasing attention. After achieving improved occupancy and substantial rental rate growth, for the portfolio, and recognizing favorable market pricing conditions in the self-storage industry, SmartStop appropriately chose to pursue a merger this year,” Kevin Gannon, president & managing director with investment banking firm Robert A. Stanger & Co., told CPE. Stanger & Co., along with Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., served as financial advisor to SmartStop.

When all is said and done, Extra Space will add 121 high-quality SmartStop properties and 43 third-party managed properties to its portfolio, which presently encompasses 81.8 million square feet of rentable space at 1,106 self-storage assets spanning 35 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

Storage has become a business of size and scale, an Extra Space spokesperson said, speaking to CPE. This transaction increases Extra Space’s physical and digital footprint by 15 percent, which will make the self-managed REIT’s operating platform increasingly efficient.  The addition of 164 stores provides Extra Space with an opportunity to enhance its presence in existing markets, to enter a few new markets and to continue to build a national portfolio, he added.

And Extra Space will be left with even more than a larger portfolio and a stronger footprint in the billion-dollar deal; it will also get a new property management relationship with SmartStop entities Strategic Storage Trust II Inc. and Strategic Storage Growth Trust Inc.

The SmartStop and Extra Space boards of directors have given the merger the green light, and now it’s the SmartStop stockholders’ turn to sign off on the deal. If all goes as planned the merger will close later this year.