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JV sells Brussels tower for €1.2B; BMO RE launches £500M UK housing fund

* Dutch real estate developer Breevast and investor ZBG Group of Cos. sold the Brussels Finance Tower office building in Brussels for over €1.2 billion, making it the largest single asset deal ever completed in Belgium. South Korean financial services and investment group Meritz Securities, which is part of Meritz Financial Group, and its London-based asset and investment management company Valesco Group were the buyers. The tower has 200,000 square meters of office space and last traded for €311 million in December 2001.

* BMO Real Estate Partners held the first close of its approximately £500 million BMO UK Housing Fund. Social impact investor Big Society Capital Ltd. was one of the cornerstone investors of the fund. BMO will use the fund to provide sustainable rental properties to low- to middle-income households in the U.K. It will be governed by an ESG impact policy supervised by an independent advisory group.

* Madison International Realty LLC bought a 46.5% equity stake in a €500 million Polish real estate investment platform from majority owner Redefine Properties Ltd. The European Logistics Investment platform comprises 14 assets totaling around 560,000 square meters across Warsaw, Lodz, Cracow, Silesia, Pomerania and Posnania. The platform, which is co-managed by Panattoni Development Europe Sp z o.o. and 7% minority investor Griffin Real Estate, has 80,000 square meters of nearly completed space and around 90% pre-leasing. It will have an additional 270,000 square meters of space once pre-leases are secured, according to the report.

Madison will provide a €150 million commitment to the portfolio, broken down into €83.7 million for the purchase of 46.5% interest in the existing assets and €66.3 million for the expansion of the platform over the next years.

* Polish Enterprise Fund VII, a private equity fund managed by Enterprise Investors Corp. agreed to sell Polish prefabricated homebuilder Danwood SA for €140 million, the Warsaw Business Journal reported. South Korean construction company GS Engineering & Construction Corp. is the buyer, and the deal is subject to approval of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, according to the report.

UK and Ireland

* New York-based W. P. Carey Inc. bought in an off-market transaction a class A logistics facility in the U.K.’s East Midlands region for £85 million. The cross-docked logistics property spans 67,500 square meters and is equipped with clear heights of up to 15 meters, solar panels and capacity for automation and expansion. The asset is triple-net leased to Dixons Carphone PLC’s U.K. operating subsidiary for 13.5 years with fixed rent increases.

* London's luxury residential property market saw a 78% jump in deals in the fourth quarter of 2019 from a year ago, Bloomberg News reported, citing LonRes. Sale of houses priced £5 million and above surged in the three months ended Dec. 31 as buyers race to beat the new tax on purchases by foreign investors planned by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

* Sidra Capital, on behalf of wealthy Saudi Arabian families, is in talks with David and Frederick Barclay to buy the Ritz Hotel in London, according to London's Financial Times, citing people close to the discussions.

A person in charge of another potential bidder told the newspaper that the Barclay brothers wanted offers for the hotel property to exceed £750 million. The billionaire brothers were previously reported to have commenced the sale process for the hotel without a guide price, tapping Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. and Spartan Advisors LLC as brokers.

* Arlington submitted its plans to Reading Borough Council to develop a logistics park in Reading, U.K., Property Week reported. The logistics park will span 162,250 square feet with four warehouse units ranging from 24,150 square feet to 69,070 square feet.

* Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said the country's ruling Fine Gael party will boost state subsidy for first-time homebuyers if reelected in February, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, rival party Sinn Féin plans to introduce a three-year rent freeze and slash rents by up to €1,500 a year with "refundable tax credit", The (U.K.) Times reported.

Germany and Poland

* German real estate investment manager Patrizia AG sold a 68-property retail portfolio in Germany to a fund managed by GPEP. The portfolio has a total rental space of roughly 122,000 square meters and is anchored by German food retailers such as Edeka, Lidl, Netto, Penny and Rewe.

* M7 Real Estate Ltd. sold two office buildings and a shopping center in Poland. M7 disposed of the 3,741-square-meter Dwor Hamburski and 2,431-square-meter RB House office buildings in Poznan to local investors. It also sold Zgorzelec Plaza, a 12,624-square-meter shopping center in Zgorzelec, to Polish developer DL Invest Group.


* U.S. investment bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. said it plans to buy a central Paris building from BNP Paribas SA to house up to 450 employees in the coming years, Reuters reported. The acquisition is part of the lender's move to relocate some of its service from London ahead of Brexit, according to the report.

* Aviva Investors bought on behalf of one of its mandates an office building in Lyon from Groupe UNOFI, according to Property Magazine International. The 1920-built Lugdunum Building in Place Jules Ferry spans 21,180 square meters and is fully let, according to the report.


* Tristan Capital Partners LLP's opportunistic fund EPISO 4 sold four shopping centers in the Greater Stockholm to institutional investor NREP for an undisclosed sum. The grocery-anchored retail portfolio consists of the 11,300-square-meter Näsbypark Centrum in Täby, the 11,700-square-meter Viksjö Centrum, the 11,000-square-meter Ekerö Centrum, and the Rondellen property in Upplands Väsby.

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