Brookfield ups stake in Songbird

Brookfield Asset Management has increased its stake in Songbird Estates, the majority-owner of London’s Canary Wharf, after buying shares from Canadian pension fund, Ontario Teachers.

Brookfield Asset Management has increased its stake in the landlord of London’s Canary Wharf, Songbird Estates, after buying a majority of shares from the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan.

The Toronto-based firm increased its stake to 22 percent from 15 percent. A Brookfield spokesperson stated that the stake was increased within the past couple of months from one of the Songbird investors.

“There was an opportunity for us to acquire a stake of one of our consortium members,” the spokesman said, “and that’s an opportunity we took advantage of.”

Songbird underwent a recapitalisation last September, which saw its main investors, Morgan Stanley Real Estate Funds, the Chinese sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation and Qatar Holding (the investment arm of the Qatar Investment Authority) inject £1 billion of equity (€1.1 billion). The cash injection helped Songbird avoid a potential covenant breach, saving the company.

Also today, Brookfield’s publicly-held commercial real estate arm, Brookfield Properties Corporation, purchased a 50 percent interest in the central London development scheme, 100 Bishopsgate, from Great Portland Estates for £43 million in cash, the equivalent today of around €48.3 million.

Great Portland Estates originally bought the site in May of 2008, planning to build a forty storey building. Under the terms of the deal, all income and expenditure will be shared equally

The development is expected to start in late 2011/2012. Ric Clark, chief executive officer of Brookfield Properties, said in a statement the project was “one of the most dynamic sites in the heart of the City of London”.