In the largest shopping centre transaction of 2017, Royal London has bought Hermes’ 7.5 per cent stake in Bluewater shopping centre in Kent for around £155m. Hermes began the sale process in January with an original asking price of £167m.
Opened in 1999, Bluewater is home to over 330 retailers, cafes, bars and restaurants, including John Lewis, House of Fraser, Marks & Spencer, American Eagle, Victoria’s Secret, Tommy Hilfiger, Jack Wills, H&M and Zara. It attracts 27m visitors a year and has a catchment of 6.6m people, one of the most affluent in the country. Landsec holds a 30 per cent-plus stake and the management rights.
The deal comes as Lendlease and GIC are preparing to relaunch the sale of their combined 42.5 per cent stakes in the 1.8m sq ft mall with a price tag in excess of £900m, currently the largest stake being marketed in the UK. By joining forces the two are able to offer a single large slice of a major shopping centre which they believe is likely to be viewed as more attractive to investors, particularly international wealth funds seeking to allocate larger amounts of cash.
Coady Supple advised Royal London Asset Management while HP Four acted for Hermes.