Irish investors sell Marks & Spencer’s London HQ for €240m to Asian property syndicate

INVESTORS in D2 Private, including David Arnold, the father of actress Leigh Arnold, are close to bagging a significant profit by selling Marks & Spencer’s headquarters in London for €240m.

This is the final asset to be sold in the UK by D2, which once held a £1bn London portfolio.

The colossal M&S building in Paddington called Waterside House, close to Paddington Station, was bought with debt of about €170m from Anglo Irish Bank during the boom.

It was sold last week by D2 working with the National Asset Management Agency to an Asian consortium led by GAW Capital Partners, according to leading UK property publication the Estates Gazette. The price was sufficient to repay all the buildings debt and return investors their stake plus a premium. The sale price represents a 5.12 per cent yield.

The Sunday Independent understands that Arnold was the building’s biggest Irish shareholder, with a stake of almost 16 per cent. Fellow D2 co-founder Deirdre Foley owned about 9 per cent of the building.

About 20 other investors also once owned the building, including senior counsel John Gordon, the estate of former Elan chief executive Donal Geaney; and Kerry-based Kerogue Holdings also owned shares. Catherine Mullarkey, an ex-Anglo banker who also served on the board of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, owned about 2 per cent. Other shareholders were businessmen Patrick Mooney, barrister Liam Reidy and Brooklawn Property Holdings.

CBRE and Jones Lang LaSalle are advising D2 and all parties have declined to comment.

The potential sale was described by Estates Gazette as symbolising a “historic shift,” as Irish investors shed assets to funds from China, Korea and Malaysia.

DTZ estimates that net Irish sales from 2009 to today have reached more than £3bn, often due to Nama sales.

Other properties sold by D2 include some of the best properties in London: 11-12 St James’s Square, SW1; 23 Savile Row, W1; Woolgate Exchange, EC2; and 1-19 Victoria Street, SW1.

Well-known investors who were involved in D2 syndicates include Bernard McNamara, the developer; Sean FitzPatrick, the former Anglo banker; and one-time AIB chairman and former attorney general Dermot Gleeson.

Sales of D2 assets have been lucrative for Nama but have been a mixed bag for investors.


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