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S'pore sovereign fund to pick up London office stake for SG$3.5 bil.

SINGAPORE--Singapore investment firm GIC is buying a large stake in a mega office complex in London's main financial district, in what is believed to be its biggest property foray in Europe.

GIC is acquiring private equity firm Blackstone's 50-percent interest in Broadgate near Liverpool Street station in a deal said to be worth over 1.7 billion pounds (SG$3.5 billion), it said on Wednesday.

The purchase is also believed to be GIC's biggest investment this year, based on public announcements. Analysts said it is also one of Europe's biggest-ever office sales.

“It provides a rare opportunity to invest in a world-class asset,” said Christopher Morrish, GIC Real Estate's regional head for Europe.

The property has development potential that GIC can tap into to create more value.

GIC said in a statement on Thursday: “The estate will give us an attractive combination of stable long-term income with the potential to create additional value through active management, repositioning of the office buildings and by enhancing the retail and leisure offer.”

Broadgate is touted as a “world-class” office complex. About 30,000 people work in the cluster of 17 office buildings and shops and restaurants spanning 4.7 million square feet on 12 hectares.

Major banks such as UBS, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsche Bank and Credit Agricole are tenants.

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