Singapore firm acquires L.A. pioneer of extended-stay corporate housing

Howard Ruby, founder of Oakwood Worldwide, is shown in June 2007, when he announced an initiative to reduce the greenhouse gases produced by Oakwood by 35%.
(Karen Tapia–Andersen / Los Angeles Times)

Oakwood Worldwide, a Los Angeles real estate firm known for pioneering extended-stay housing, has been acquired by a Singapore development company.

Mapletree Investments paid an undisclosed sum for the Los Angeles firm that has properties locally, across the United States and overseas. It bills itself as the largest provider of corporate housing in the world with more than 50 Oakwood-branded locations globally.

Mapletree’s chief executive, Hiew Yoon Khong, said the company will retain and grow the Oakwood brand through the acquisition and development of additional properties.

“Oakwood is a reputable global brand and we intend to continue strengthening its presence,” he said in a news release Thursday.


Founder Howard Ruby, an apartment developer who launched Oakwood in 1969 and created an international empire of furnished units, will leave his chief executive post, but stay on as chairman emeritus, the release said.

“It has been my very special privilege to lead this organization for 57 years,” Ruby said in the statement. “I am very excited about the future of Oakwood as we embark on this new journey with Mapletree as the company’s new owner.”

A former senior vice president with Oakwood, Christopher Ahearn, was named chief executive.

The acquisition follows a smaller business relationship that the two companies established.


In 2014, Mapletree acquired a 49% stake in Oakwood’s Asia Pacific subsidiary. Oakwood also manages Mapletree’s nine corporate housing and serviced apartment properties in the United States and Australia.

Oakwood Worldwide will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Mapletree.

Twitter: @khouriandrew