On April 3, leading self storage sector players Extra Space Storage and Life Storage announced they will be combining to form the largest storage operator in the US by number of stores. In the $12.7 billion all-stock deal, the combined entity is being valued at about $36 billion. The context of this is a vibrant self storage sector, with 52.6M square feet of new storage space expected to be delivered in 2023 compared to 37.9M in 2022.
Extra Space Storage Inc., based in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, and founded in 1977, is the larger of the two companies. It is currently the US’s 2nd-largest owner of self storage units and no self storage company in the country manages more storage properties. At the end of last year, it had over 2,300 stores encompassing around 1.6 million storage units in at least 41 states plus Washington DC. It has been listed on the S&P500 since 2016.
Life Storage Inc. has its headquarters in Buffalo, New York, and is the nation’s 4th-largest storage company in terms of both owning storage units and managing stores. Founded in 1982, it was formerly known as Sovran Self Storage, starting with facilities across the East Coast states, and has also operated as Uncle Bob’s Self Storage, acquiring its current name in 2016. In February 2023, it had more than 1,100 facilities in 37 states and DC, and it served over 675,000 customers.
Extra Space were not the only company interested in Life Storage. At the beginning of February of this year, it was announced that Public Storage, the US’s largest self storage brand, had made them a $11 billion offer. This was the latest of several hostile takeover attempts made by the Glendale, California, company, all of which were rebuffed.
The merger with Extra Space was clearly seen as more advantageous by Life Storage. For every share their shareholders own, they will get 0.895 of an Extra Space share. It is expected that Life Storage and Extra Space shareholders will own, respectively, approximately 35% and 65% of the newly enlarged company. Both companies are real estate investment trusts and after the merger they will have created the 6th-largest REIT in the “RMZ” MSCI Index.
By teaming up, not only will the two companies’ up-to-date technology and data analytics platforms be combined to good effect, but additional services such as renters’ insurance can be made more streamlined. Market consolidation and increased diversification will also be significant advantages of the merger — in the central Dallas, Texas, self storage market, for instance, Life Storage’s single facility, in the Farmers Market District, will be supplemented by several nearby Extra Space stores.
It is currently anticipated that the transaction will close at some time during the latter half of 2023, subject to shareholder approval and satisfaction of closing conditions. Trading on the New York Stock Exchange will continue under the Extra Space name.
In terms of current rentable storage space, Extra Space have around 176 million square feet and Life Storage have around 68 million square feet.