Hong Kong's Gaw Capital and South Korean Investors Buy M&S HQ Building

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November 21, 2013 11:55 PM EST

Waterside House (Paddington Waterside Partnership).

Gaw Capital Partners, a Hong Kong-based private equity firm, and three Korean investors have together purchased the London headquarters of retailer Marks & Spencer.

The investors paid $321m (£199m, €239m) for Waterside House, a 237,800 square feet office tower located within the Paddington Waterside mixed-use development, one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe.

The South Korean investors include Hyundai Securities, the Korean Federation of Community Credit Cooperatives (KFCCC) and Suhyup Bank, reported Reuters.

The investors bought the property from D2 Private, an Irish real estate investment firm.

The Waterside House transaction will be Gaw's fourth property deal in London this year, the company said.

Earlier deals include the Lloyd's of London building transaction. Ping An Insurance, China's second-largest insurer bought that property from a Commerz Real-managed fund earlier in the year.

Explaining the rationale behind her company's move, Christina Gaw, Managing Principal and Head of Capital Markets said: "There is definitely a growing demand from Asian institutional investors in safe commercial and residential real estate purchases abroad."

Gaw, which has real estate assets worth $7.47bn under management, raised a $1.025bn real estate fund in October for investment in China.

Asian Investments

Asian investors are increasingly targeting high-yield investment options in recovering Europe.

In August, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund agreed to buy private equity major Blackstone Group's interest in London's Broadgate office complex.

Under the terms of the deal, thought to be worth more than £1.7bn, GIC would buy half of Broadgate, which was once the capital's biggest commercial estate.

In July, the Malaysian government's pension fund said it would invest half a billion euros in commercial properties in Germany and France.

Earlier, Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group said it would build a 62-storey five-star hotel and luxury apartments tower in central London.

The formerly run-down Paddington area is being redeveloped to include office space, residential units, hotels, retail properties and a railway line. Over £2bn has been invested in the area since 1998.  

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