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Aberdeen sells London asset after post-Brexit trading halt

The investment manager of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund has acquired Sedley Place for £124m as Aberdeen Asset Management looks to free up liquidity after it halted trading on two of its funds last week. 

Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), the investment manager of the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund Government Pension Fund Global, has bought a prime retail and office building in London’s Oxford Street for a figure believed to be around £124 million ($165 million; €149 million).

The building, 355-361 Oxford Street, which is also known as Sedley Place, had been placed on the market by Aberdeen Asset Management following liquidity pressures after a number of redemption requests by investors in two of its open-ended retail funds two weeks ago.

Aberdeen was one of a number of firms that suspended trading in their property funds as a result of the redemptions, but the firm took the unique step of forcing investors that did withdraw money to accept a 17 percent price cut.

The deal for the 59,000 square foot asset was completed on July 15, and NBIM confirmed there was no debt attached to the property and no financing was involved in the transaction.

The property was sold on behalf of the Aberdeen UK Property Fund, one of the vehicles affected by the trading suspensions.

Just last week, it was reported that Sedley Place would be put on the market for approximately £150 million, though the official sale price has not been disclosed by Aberdeen. A spokesman for the firm said it would not comment on any individual deals.

Another London property put up for sale by Aberdeen, 10 Hammersmith Grove, has also reportedly been sold. The Evening Standard, a London-focused daily, suggested that London-based investment manager Brockton Capital had acquired the office block for a knock down price of £89 million.

It is understood the property had been put on the market for £100 million. Aberdeen would not comment on the deal.

The main tenant in Sedley Place is Boots, which has a 31,500 square foot flagship store over four floors. The company also occupies 14,500 square feet of office space on the upper floors of the building. The transaction also includes two adjoining buildings, which comprise office, restaurant and retail space totaling 13,000 square feet.