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State of Kuwait swoops on €2bn London office

St Martins, a property investment and asset management arm of the State of Kuwait, is said to have acquired London Bridge Holdings’ More London office complex in a jumbo, single-asset deal.  

St Martins, a property investment and asset management arm of the State of Kuwait, has reportedly agreed a deal to buy the More London office, leisure and retail complex for £1.7 billion (€2 billion; $2.8 billion).

New service CoStar has reported that St Martins is taking control of the 2.1 million square feet property by acquiring London Bridge Holdings, owned by a Bahamas-based foreign entity and ultimately controlled by Dikran Izmirlian, an entrepreneur of Armenian descent who has made a fortune from the peanut industry. London Bridge Holdings originally acquired the property in 2002 from German’s Depfa bank and CIT Group and tenants include Ernst & Young which occupies one of the office buildings as its European headquarters.

There has been no statement from St Martins, however, London Bridge Holdings said: “London Bridge Holdings originally had commenced a process to refinance More London by the early summer of 2014 but, when presented with a highly attractive offer which maximizes the value of its ownership of More London, London Bridge Holdings determined to capitalise on this opportunity.”

Terms of the transaction, including price and the identity of the purchaser, were not disclosed, but London Bridge Holdings added in its statement: “This transaction underscores the success of London Bridge Holdings in transforming a blighted, brown field site into a vibrant and vital global business center.
“More London today is a magnificent development of properties, home to world class tenants from both the private and public sectors. It is an important symbol of London's position as an international business centre with morning, lunchtime and early evening footfall traffic at levels comparable to Bond Street.”

The More London asset will add to St Martins’ £3.25 billion portfolio of assets in Europe, Australia and Asia that has been added to in recent times. In January it acquired 5 Canada Square in London’s Canary Wharf area from Evans Randall for £385 million. In 2008, it bought the Willis building in the traditional financial center of London for £400 million. Its portfolio also includes Lietocourt Arx Tower in Tokyo, Rialto Towers in Melbourne, Tour Manhattan in Paris, Cenahir shopping mall in Istanbul. 

The London-headquartered company has regional branches in Melbourne and Perth.