Korea’s NPS to buy Berlin landmark from MSREF VI

In its latest high profile purchase, the National Pension Service of Korea is to acquire Berlin’s landmark Sony Centre from Morgan Stanley’s sixth global real estate fund.

South Korea’s National Pension Service is in the advanced stages of buying the Sony Centre, one of Berlin’s highest profile buildings, in what would be its first major continental European acquisition.

NPS declined to comment on the deal, but it is understood that it has teamed up with Houston-based Hines to purchase the 135,000 square meter asset. Morgan Stanley placed the Sony Centre on the market last summer, seeking bids of more than €600 million.

The deal is part of a core asset spending spree by the $200 billion fund. Last year in London it bought the long lease to the HSBC Tower in Canary Wharf for £772 million (€863 million; $1.29 billion) in its largest deal to date. That deal was led by JP Morgan Asset Management, with whom it has a separate account.

It also acquired an office at 88 Wood Street in the City of London from ING REIM for £183 million with another firm it has a joint venture with to acquire Central London property – Rockspring Property Investment Managers.

The Sony Center, on Berlin’s famous Potsdamer Platz road, was previously purchased by Morgan Stanley on behalf of MSREF VI for between €550 million and €600 million in partnership with Corpus Sireo and an affiliate of the John Buck Company in July 2008. It was sold by Japanese electronics company, Sony.

The building holds predominantly office space but also has a cinema and some retail. The majority of the asset is let to Deutsche Bahn, the national rail company.

Neither Morgan Stanley nor NPS would comment.