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Feb 28 (Reuters) - British Land and Oxford Properties are in advanced talks to sell the “Cheesegrater” skyscraper in London, with some media reports naming China’s CC Land as the potential buyer in a billion pound ($1.2 billion) deal.
A sale of the distinctive central London office building will give an indication of the health of the UK commercial property market following last June’s Brexit vote.
“It is not certain that these discussions will lead to a sale of the building,” British Land said in a statement on Tuesday on the future of The Leadenhall Building, as the office block is formally known.
For British Land, the sale would allow the company to accelerate its transition toward campus-orientated office portfolios, while disposing of a building that is now fully let.
CC Land, a company run by the Chinese property magnate Cheung Chung-kiu, was seeking to buy the entire building for 1.02 billion pounds, having seen off rival bids from Korea Investment Corp and Temasek Holdings, specialist property website CoStar said.
That valuation would make it the second most expensive building sold in London behind the HSBC tower in the Canary Wharf financial district.
British Land had hoped to fetch about 500 million pounds for its 50 percent stake in the Cheesegrater, although it could fetch a premium due to the building’s status in London, a source told Reuters in November.
CC Land was not immediately available to comment, while British Land and Cushman & Wakefield, which are managing the sale for British Land, declined to comment.
The market has speculated that an overseas group would buy the building as the pound’s slide to multi-year lows since the Brexit vote has drawn in foreign buyers, especially from China.
Oxford Properties, which invests in real estate for one of Canada’s largest pension plans, had also been thought of by analysts as a potential buyer. ($1 = 0.8053 pounds) (Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Michelle Price in Hong Kong; editing by Jason Neely/Keith Weir)