City Developments Ltd. (CDL)—controlled by billionaire Kwek Leng Beng—said late Monday it’s in talks to buy the historic St Katharine Docks (SKD) residential and commercial complex in London from U.S. private equity giant Blackstone.
“The company is always examining opportunities to improve shareholder value and the SKD acquisition is one such opportunity,” the company said in a statement to the Singapore Exchange. CDL said it has signed an exclusive non-binding agreement with the property’s seller, subject to due diligence and negotiation of the terms of the deal.
Faced with redemption requests from its property funds, Blackstone is seeking to sell the property near the Tower of London for £400 million ($496 million), according to a report by CoStar. City Developments didn’t comment on the reported price tag.
“The company wishes to emphasize that there’s no certainty that the SKD acquisition will materialize,” CDL said, adding shareholders should exercise caution when dealing in the company’s shares.
First opened in the 1820s, the St Katharine Docks complex currently comprises more than 500,000 square feet (46,450 square meters) of office space, 400 residential units, and a marina with berths for up to 185 yachts. The property is also surrounded by shops, restaurants and recreational facilities.
City Developments has in recent years been stepping up investments in the U.K. where it owns a portfolio of commercial properties including an office building housing HSBC’s headquarters in London. It had planned to inject the assets into a real estate investment trust that was supposed to list in Singapore, but the IPO was delayed amid heightened market volatility and macroeconomic headwinds.
Kwek is the chairman of CDL and Singapore’s Hong Leong Group, which was founded by his father in 1941. His cousin Quek Leng Chan, also a billionaire, runs a separate group in Malaysia, also called Hong Leong. With a net worth of $9.3 billion that he shares with his family, Kwek, 81, was ranked No. 5 on the list of Singapore’s 50 Richest that was published in September.