A company controlled by the Safra Group has emerged as the preferred bidder for the acquisition of London’s iconic tower. EuroProperty reported that this bid was for £710m, however new reports state the bid is up to £726. The tower, which was put up for sale in July was bought by its current owners for £600m in 2006 and welcomed bids in excess of £650m for the sale this year.
30 St. Mary Axe, popularly known as The Gherkin, opened in 2004 and was sold to IVG Immobilien and Evans Randall in 2006 from Swiss Re, whom the building was originally built for. IVG chose to dominate it’s loan in Swiss Francs, but the Franc soared 56% against the pound since 2007, which led to a breach of their loan to value cap since 2009. In April the consortium of banks who provided the loan were fed up and called in the receivers. The 46,900sqm 41 floor skyscraper is in good condition and has 20 tenants.
The Safra Group is said to have outbid Ponte Gadea; a company owned by Amancio Ortega, the Spanish Billionaire behind retail giant Zara. Ortega’s Ponte Gadea acquired Devonshire House in Mayfair for £410m last year. The Safra Group is an international network of companies controlled by the Joseph Safra family, comprising banking and financial institutions, industrial operations, real estate and agribusiness.