Merrill Lynch spinout secures first UK deal

Peakside Capital, which took over the management of two former Merrill Lynch real estate opportunity funds in Europe last year, has acquired an office in London on vacant possession.

Peakside Capital, the European private equity real estate firm that spun out of Bank of America Merrill Lynch last year, has made the first UK investment for one of the funds it took over.

The firm said it had bought 80 Hammersmith Road in London from Scottish Amicable Life Assurance Society for Peakside Real Estate Fund I, a pan-European opportunistic fund that was launched in 2007 as the Merrill Lynch European Real Estate Opportunity Fund. It was one of two vehicles spun out from BoAML as part of the MBO. The other fund was the Bosphorus Real Estate Fund I, which is focused on investments in Turkey.

The building, for which Peakside is believed to have paid £7.4 million (€8.4 million; $12 million), currently comprises 41,574 square feet of net lettable area over six floors. The firm said it would take vacant possession on completion of the acquisition and will execute an extensive reconfiguration plan. The plan includes submitting a planning application to redevelop the existing building to a Grade A office standard, with a view to releasing it to the occupational market towards the end of this year.

Of the latest deal, Boris Schran, one of the founding partners and head of acquisition and origination, said: “This first UK acquisition for PREF I represents an excellent opportunity to gain exposure to the strong secondary office market in London, the most important office market in Europe.” Local operatng partner and asset manager on the deal was Mercer Real Estate Partners.