Just one month after taking over from his father Li Ka-shing, Victor Li has signed his first high profile deal for CK Asset, snapping up the UBS headquarters in London from GIC and British Land for £1 billion ($1.3 billion).
The Singapore sovereign wealth fund and its UK-based developer partner announced the sale of 5 Broadgate in the City of London to CK Asset Holdings in a joint statement. The deal gives CK Asset a chance to re-invest some of the $5.2 billion dollars that it took in from its sale of the Center in Hong Kong which closed last month.
The sale of the 700,000 square foot (65,032 square metre), 12-storey office block allows both GIC and British Land to achieve a partial exit from the 4.7 million square foot Broadgate commercial complex. GIC acquired its 50 percent stake in the multi-building office and retail development in London’s EC2 district from Blackstone in 2013 for a reported £1.7 billion.
London Market Still Favored by HK Investors
“We delivered a modern, truly distinctive building for UBS, located at the heart of our largest central London campus, adjacent to the forthcoming Crossrail station,” said Tim Roberts, Head of Offices at British Land in the statement. “We are delighted to have found such a high profile and respected investor who shares our long-term plans for the campus.”
The 2015-vintage office block was purpose-built for UBS and is fully let to the Swiss investment bank until 2035, while it serves as the institution’s UK headquarters. The en bloc transaction translates to a price per square foot of approximately $1,857.
Designed by Make Architects and rated as Excellent on the BREEAM sustainability index, the office tower is adjacent to the Liverpool Street railway station and is a five-minute walk from the Liverpool Street subway stop.
From Blackstone to GIC to CK
CK Asset announced the London acquisition as an opportunity for the The Hong Kong-based conglomerate to buy into a larger London commercial project. “5 Broadgate is a great quality asset with a high-quality tenant, and we are delighted with this investment. We are also very pleased to become a partner of British Land and GIC and share their long-term vision for the entire Broadgate campus,” said Gerald Ma, a member of Executive Committee of CK Asset Holdings in the statement. The 13 hectare Broadgate campus was the largest commercial development in London before it was superseded by Canary Wharf some two decades ago.
At the same time that the Hong Kong conglomerate has been acquiring the London property, Victor Li has also kept busy chasing assets in other areas. Earlier this week the 53-year-old Stanford graduate revealed an A$13 billion ($9.8 billion) joint bid by CK Asset, CK Infrastructure Holdings and Power Assets Holdings for Australian gas pipeline operator APA Group, which would be the group’s biggest overseas acquisition ever.