TSE-listed GMO Internet Group has agreed to buy an additional 35 percent stake in a Tokyo commercial tower from Tokyu Group for JPY 15 billion ($100 million), as the online infrastructure giant sees an opportunity to put its name on a tall building.
With the deal set to raise GMO’s ownership in Setagaya Business Square to 90 percent when it is completed in January, the company said in a disclosure to investors late last week that it plans to re-christen the building as the “GMO Internet Tower” in a move to enhance its brand value, while it brings its employees together for collaboration.
“We have recognised the importance of a function our capital (e.g. office) has, as a symbol of corporate brands or a place promoting real communication,” GMO said in the statement.
A Tower to Call Home
Setagaya Business Square is a commercial facility in Setagaya ward, located a 20-minute drive southwest of Shibuya city near Kinuta Park. With both office and retail components, the 28-storey building in Tokyo’s southwestern suburbs has a total floor area of 94,373 square metres (1 million square feet).
GMO is buying the stake in the building from Tokyu Corporation, Tokyu Bus and CT Realty, all of which are Tokyu Group subsidiaries.
The internet company added that it will not relocate all of its work operations to the newly acquired asset, as GMO will continue to operate at its two headquarters in central Tokyo’s Shibuya ward.
The 32-year-old tech firm first acquired ownership in Setagaya Business Square in November 2021 when it purchased a 55 percent stake in the asset from Tokyu REIT for JPY 23.4 billion.
With its primary business in internet infrastructure and online advertising, GMO has also been active in Japan’s real estate market. Aside from this latest acquisition, the group in April purchased an undisclosed property in Tokyo’s Minato ward for JPY 7.6 billion. With that property said to have been purchased for investment purposes, GMO in July said that it had transferred the asset to another wholly owned subsidiary at a valuation of JPY 12.2 billion
Taking Up Tokyo Workspace
GMO is investing in the commercial tower as a Colliers report shows that office vacancy in Japan’s capital tightened to 4.5 percent at the end of September, down 0.3 percentage points from a year earlier.
Last week, TSE-listed Hulic REIT agreed to purchase 90 percent usage rights to a Tokyo office building from its sponsor company for JPY 1.9 billion. Located in Bunkyo ward, the four-storey Hulic Komagome Building is fully leased to Mizuho Bank.
In June, Japan Excellent REIT acquired Bizcore Tsukiji from property consultant Nippon Steel Kowa Real Estate for JPY 9.8 billion.
In March, US alternative investment manager Angelo Gordon (now part of TPG) acquired the 44-storey Office Tower X in Tokyo’s Harumi Island Triton Square complex for an undisclosed price, according to a JLL report.
The Japanese capital has also seen new grade A office towers launched in recent weeks with developer Mori Building opening the doors to the first phase of its 861,700 square metre Azabudai Hills project in November.
Despite continued activity in the sector, the office market in Tokyo has been slowing. According to data from MSCI, investment volume in workspace for the first nine months of the year was JPY 1 trillion, down 35 percent from the same period a year earlier.