Blackstone, Temasek-backed Mapletree vie for Samsung building in Seoul

Samsung Electronics launches fund for SMEs
A worker works on a Samsung outdoor advertisement installed atop an office building in central Seoul March 23, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Blackstone Group and Temasek-backed Mapletree investments have made bids to acquire Samsung C&T Corporation‘s office building in Seoul in a deal that could set a new record for the most expensive office building in South Korea.

According to a Korean Investors report, the building is expected to be sold for around W787 billion ($730 million) because of its prime location. The bidding price is expected to go up with the participation of foreign investors.

At about W32 million per 3.3 square-meter, the building could break the previous record held by Gangnam N Tower, which is estimated at W30 million per 3.3 square metre.

Other bidders include NH Investment & Securities Co. Ltd.; KORAMCO; IGIS Asset Management Co. Ltd.; JR AMC Co. Ltd., a real estate investment trust company; Pebblestone Asset Management Co. Ltd.; and Mastern Investment Management Co. Ltd.

Built in December 2007, the 32-story office building is one of the three buildings owned by Samsung companies in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. Currently, the other two buildings are occupied by Samsung Life Insurance and Samsung Electronics.

The building is located near the landmark Gangnam Finance Center, which is owned by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC. The adjacent area is called “Samsung Town”.

The book value of the land that the building occupies is at W384.5 billion ($358 million), according to an information memorandum distributed to investors by Savills Korea, which is handling the sale.

It was the first time for Mapletree Investments to make a bid directly for a South Korean asset, although it had invested in logistics centres in South Korea via its listed REIT, Mapletree Logistics Trust.

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