[THE INVESTOR] Private equity giant Blackstone Group and Temasek-backed Mapletree Investments have joined an estimated 700 billion won (US$650 million) bid for Samsung C&T’s headquarters building in southern Seoul, according to industry sources on June 12.
Some Korean bidders also participated in the auction held on Jun 7. They include Igis Asset Management, Koramco REITS Management and Trust, NH Investment Securities, KB Securities and Shinhan REITS Investment.
Samsung Group's three office buildings in southern Seoul and the adjacent area are affectionately called "Samsung Town."
With the bidding war heating up, sources predict the deal price could reach a whopping 700 billion won or 30 million won per 3.3 square meters -- a record for a commercial building here. The current record is owned by Gangnam N Tower that was sold to KB Real Estate Trust in April for 29 million won per 3.3 square meters.
In February, Samsung C&T, the de facto holding unit of Samsung Group, announced it was selling its headquarters building to secure cash for liquidity issues. The 32-story building, established in 2007, is one of the three landmark buildings owned by Samsung companies in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance is renting the floor space till 2021, while two other buildings are occupied by Samsung Life Insurance and Samsung Electronics.
Before the open bidding, there were speculations that Samsung affiliates could purchase the building as the adjacent area, affectionately called “Samsung Town,” has a symbolic meaning for the nation’s largest conglomerate.
“Bidders have shown keen interest in the building that has been well managed over the past decade, which means no additional costs for renovation. At the time, Samsung spent big on the construction -- almost 10 million won per 3.3 square meters,” an industry source said on condition of anonymity.
A preferred bidder is expected to be named soon to close the deal by August.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org)