Lee Kum Kee Group – an HK company famous for its range of sauces – has moved to acquire London’s ‘Walkie-Talkie’ commercial office building for approx. GBP 1.3bn via its real estate arm. The deal sees the acquisition of the 37-storey 688,000 sqft building of which 671,000 sqft is dedicated to office space and the balance to retail. The building, built in 2014 by Landsec and Canary Wharf, also has a stunning Sky Garden. The building’s selling price puts it at the top of commercial real estate deals in London, surpassing the GBP 1.1bn paid by QIA (Qatar Investment Authority) for the HSBC Tower at 8 Canada Square a few years ago.
This is the LKK Group’s second recent acquisition in London having acquired 3 Harbour Exchange for GBP 37m in December last year.
The deal shows the continued demand from Asian investors for London commercial real estate. While the Mainland continues to monitor spending from some PRC investors, HK investors remain very strong in the London market. Having digested the news surrounding Brexit last year, the pound’s subsequent weakness coupled with the UK’s transparent legal system and the search for steady yields, continue to attract international investors to the UK’s capital.