Toronto-based asset manager Brookfield Property Group and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), have completed the acquisition of Canary Wharf’s owner, London-listed property developer Songbird Estates, for £2.6 billion (€3.5 billion; $4 billion) and the share capital of Canary Wharf Group not owned by Songbird.
The pair launched a joint bid to take control of Canary Wharf Group in December 2014, but their efforts were rebuffed by Songbird’s board. Just over two months later, in early February 2015, the joint venture partners’ 350p per share offer for Songbird was accepted and became wholly unconditional.
Qatar Holdings, an investment arm of QIA, already owned 28.6 percent of Songbird, while Brookfield – the world’s second-largest real estate manager by assets managed – owned a 22.08 percent stake in Canary Wharf Group. Qatar also held 125 million preference shares in Songbird.
It is expected that Songbird’s shares will cease to trade on London’s AIM market from 7.00 am on April 23, 2015.
“Canary Wharf remains one of the most treasured property estates in the world. With the transaction now concluded, we look forward to working with QIA and the Canary Wharf Group management team to advance the substantial development pipeline and to realize the full potential of the site for our tenants, stakeholders and the people of London,” commented Ric Clark, chief executive of Brookfield Property Group.
The Canary Wharf east London estate is home to some of the world’s largest financial services groups. Its iconic buildings include towers One Canada Square, 25-30 Bank Street and One Churchill Place. CWG also owns a significant joint venture stakes in 20 Fenchurch Street, known as The Walkie Talkie, in the City of London alongside Land Securities and the Shell Centre on the capital’s South Bank, with Qatar Holdings’ related company Qatari Diar.
The Canary Wharf Group is also entering a new wave of 6 million square feet of development projects in London, including the 1.5 million square feet Shell Centre on London’s South Bank – again with Qatar. At its flagship Docklands estate, Wood Wharf, a 4.9 million square feet project includes 3,100 flats and homes, and 1.9 million square feet of offices, and Heron Quays West will comprise two offices of 700,000 square feet each.
“We look forward to realizing our partnership with Brookfield as long term investors, to support the management’s strategy of pursuing further expansion through the creation of a sustainable, mixed development comprising offices, homes as well as retail and leisure space,” Sheikh Abdulla bin Mohammed Al Thani, chief executive of QIA, said in a statement.