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UK's Landsec sells London data centre, office block to BlackStone for $263m

Data centre tenant Equinix has an unexpired lease term of nearly 20 years. The deal also gives BlackStone its first data centre hard asset on European soil.

By João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

3 Mins

November 15, 2021 | 1:00 AM GMT

UK's Landsec sells London data centre, office block to BlackStone for $263m

Landsec's headquarters are based in Victoria, central London. Source: Landsec

FTSE 100 member Landsec Securities Group Plc (LON: LAND) said it has sold a data centre and office block to Blackstone European Property Income Fund (BEPIF) (NYSE: BX) for £196.5 million (US$263.48 million) as the firm reshapes its real estate portfolio.

The sale of 6-9 Harbour Exchange, in East London is unconditional, with completion set to take place before the end of the calendar year. The sale price reflects a net initial yield of 3.99%.

Harbour Exchange is located in the Docklands area of London, adjacent to Millwall Dock, directly to the south of Canary Wharf.

The property comprises of two adjoining re-purposed office buildings, originally constructed in 1989 with approximately 278,198 sq ft of data centre and office accommodation.

The space is let to Equinix (NASDAQ: EQIX) with an unexpired lease term of nearly 20 years.

On its website, Equinix says the facility, named LD8, offers access to dense concentrations of financial services, Internet service providers, cloud and IT services, enterprises and content and digital media companies.

The transaction gives BlackStone its first data centre hard asset on European soil following the flagship $10 billion acquisition of data centre REIT QTS Realty Trust (NYSE: QTS) earlier in the year.

Marcus Geddes, Managing Director Central London at Landsec, said: “The sale of Harbour Exchange is very much aligned with our strategy. Through this disposal we are recycling capital into  opportunities where we can  bring to bear Landsec’s skills and expertise  to drive growth and returns for our investors.”

Landsec’s new strategy was set out in October 2020, and identified a future growth strategy focused on three key areas: Central London offices; major retail destinations; and urban mixed-use neighbourhoods in London and other major regional cities.

The company explained the goal of this strategy is to accelerate growth through recycling capital into higher return opportunities and deliver for investors an attractive combination of income and growth driven returns.

The Harbour Exchange transaction is the latest in a number of steps Landsec has taken in recent months including the purchase of a 75% stake for £425.6 million ($570.68 million) in MediaCity, the 37 acre media, digital and tech hub in Salford, Greater Manchester.

Landsec’s portfolio diversification is in line with wider market disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic which has forcer office real estate owners to look into other verticals such as digital infrastructure.

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