By David Meyer
August 11, 2017

Two home rental firms are merging to create the U.S.’s largest single-family home rental outfit, with a valuation of around $11 billion.

Invitation Homes, created by private equity firm Blackstone Group in 2012, will merge with Starwood Waypoint Homes in a stock-for-stock “merger-of-equals” deal. Invitation Homes stockholders will own around 59 percent of the combined company, which will continue to use the Invitation Homes name, and Blackstone will own the rest.

Fred Tuomi, Starwood Waypoint’s current CEO, will be the merged company’s chief executive. “We will have an irreplaceable portfolio of homes focused in select high-growth markets, offering unrivaled service and high-quality housing options for families choosing to rent,” he said in a Thursday statement.

Like other real estate investment trusts (REITs), Invitation Homes and Starwood Waypoint both took advantage of the U.S. foreclosure crisis, buying up the homes of people who could no longer afford to pay their mortgages.

The combined operation will have a portfolio of 82,000 properties. Although this is the largest such portfolio in the U.S. – American Homes 4 Rent is in second place with around 49,000 properties on its books – there are around 17 million single-family rental properties in the country, the vast majority of which are rented out by individuals or smaller companies.

Blackstone took Invitation Homes public in February, raising $1.54 billion in the initial public offering. Starwood Waypoint, meanwhile, is the result of a 2016 merger between Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust and Colony American Homes.

The news of the new merger upped Invitation Homes’ share price by 3.9 percent and Starwood Waypoint’s by 5.2 percent.

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