[THE INVESTOR] A consortium led by NH Investment Securities and Koramco REITS Management has recently been named a preferred bidder to acquire Samsung C&T’s headquarters building in southern Seoul, according to industry sources on July 2.
The deal price is estimated to reach a whopping 750 billion won (US$672 million), or more than 30 million won per 3.3 square meters, a record for a commercial building here.
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The bidding war was heating up, with big names like Blackstone Group and Temasek-backed Mapletree Investments joining the bid. Other Korean bidders include Igis Asset Management, KB Securities and Shinhan REITS Investment.
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, erected in 2007, is one of three landmark buildings owned by Samsung companies in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul.
Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance is renting floor space until 2021, while two other buildings are occupied by Samsung Life Insurance and Samsung Electronics.
There were speculations that Samsung affiliates could purchase the building as the adjacent area, affectionately called “Samsung Town,” has symbolic meaning for the nation’s largest conglomerate.
Since Chairman Lee Kun-hee’s hospitalization in 2014, Samsung has been selling key office buildings in central Seoul it had owned for decades. In 2016, Samsung Life Insurance and Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance sold their headquarters buildings to Korean builder Booyoung Group for 438 billion won and 571.7 billion won, respectively.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org)