China’s Fosun International continues to bet on Europe as the private investment giant confirmed this week that it is buying a landmark Milan office building.
The Shanghai-based company led by billionaire Guo Guangchang is said to be paying 345 million euros ($381 million) for the historic Palazzo Broggi in central Milan. The deal for the building, which formerly was home to Italian bank UniCredit, was reported in Mingtiandi during April of this year, but only concluded this week.
Fosun’s Italian acquisition comes less than a month after it created a joint venture with the UK’s Resolution Property to pursue more real estate opportunities in Europe. The Shanghai-based company has made a string of European acquisitions in finance, tourism and other areas in the last year.
Guo Guangchang Has Big Plans for Downtown Milan
Fosun is buying the 1901-vintage palace, which borders Milan’s Piazza Cordusio square, with the goal of redeveloping the urban gathering point.
The Chinese investment firm, which also owns one of China’s largest real estate developers, is hoping to make Palazzo Broggio the centre of one of Europe’s biggest urban regeneration projects, according to an account in the Financial Times. The plan is to build new retail and residential space around the square, and to add luxury hotels as well.
Although the Italian acquisition was confirmed after Fosun announced its joint venture with Resolution early this month, the deal for the Palazzo Broggio was effectively agreed before the UK JV was established, and no mention of Resolution was made in Fosun’s statement regarding its Milan purchase.
Fosun Makes a European Push
The Chinese investment company has shown a growing interest in European assets this year, targetting everything from tourism to finance, as well as real estate.
Earlier this month Fosun agreed to acquire Germany’s H&A Bank for as much as 210 million euros ($231.6 million). The Shanghai-based firm is also duelling with compatriot Anbang Insurance to buy Portuguese financial institution Novo Banco in a deal that is expected to cost the winning bidder 4 billion euros ($4.38 billion).
In Italy, Fosun already owns a 35 percent stake in men’s fashion brand Caruso, which it acquired in 2013.
During this year Fosun has been buying real estate in the US and Australia, as well as in Europe. In January the company bought a Sydney office building for A$116.5 million ($93 million), and Fosun was said to be among the unsuccessful bidders for Morgan Stanley’s Investa properties which were sold to CIC this week for $1.79 billion.
In the US, Fosun made its second American real estate investment after spending $725 million on the Chase Manhattan Plaza two years ago, when it bought a stake in a 47-storey luxury residential project on New York’s Madison Avenue this May.