Canadian investment shop Brookfield Asset Management got one over on Stephen Schwarzman and his Blackstone Group beating out the US-based firm to acquire the International Finance Centre Seoul from AIG Global Real Estate. The bid, which is said to be backed by sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation, has been valued at $2.7 billion.
The mixed-use IFC Seoul complex features three high-rise office towers, a three-level retail mall, and the five-star Conrad Seoul hotel and is located in Yeouido, one of the city’s business hubs. AIG put the complex up for sale earlier this year with Singapore’s Ascendas also in the mix to purchase the project.
There had been talk of a consortium composed of Invesco Asset Management from the US and CIC bidding on IFC Seoul, but it now looks as if the latter will instead serve as an investor on Brookfield’s bid, an industry source was reported as saying by the Korea Herald.
AIG Real Estate, which manages $18.8 billion worth of real estate worldwide, teamed with the Seoul Metropolitan Government to develop the complex. Construction began in 2007 and the final stage of the project was completed in 2012.
Seoul Shows Signs Of Life
While not the investment magnet that New York or New Delhi can claim to be at the moment, Seoul has scored a few notable deals over the past six months.
In June, Blackstone was said to acquire the Capital Tower office building in Seoul’s Gangnam financial district for $430.9 million. The firm reportedly purchased the 63,000 square metre project from Mirae Asset Management.
Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC also made a move in the South Korean capital, spending $136 million to acquire an interest in G-Square City Retail Complex located in the city’s suburbs. The mall is operated by Korean conglomerate Lotte.
CIC Set To Team Up With Brookfield For Second Time
If CIC is indeed backing Brookfield in the IFC Seoul deal, it would mark the second time that the Chinese fund has tied up with the Canadian conglomerage on a transaction this year.
In May, China’s biggest investor in overseas properties took up a 49 percent interest in the 1 New York Plaza office tower from Brookfield Property Partners for $700 million. Brookfield Property Partners is the publicly-listed arm of Brookfield Asset Management.
CIC chose the 195-metre tall office building located in New York’s Financial District for its first US investment. The $1.4 billion tower is home to investment bank Morgan Stanley as well as law firm Fried Frank and boasts 2.6 million square feet (237,000 square metre) of office space, as well as 40,000 square feet (3,700 square metres) of retail.