British Land in Broadgate stake talks

BRITISH Land, the UK&rsquo;s second largest property company, is in talks with Israel&rsquo;s Property and Building over selling a &pound;100m stake in the City&rsquo;s iconic Broadgate office complex, City A.M. can confirm.<br /><br />&nbsp;A British Land spokesman said last night: &ldquo;The company declines to give further details about any of the parties but confirms that discussions are at very early stages.&rdquo;<br /><br />Under the proposed deal with British Land, Israel&rsquo;s Property and Building would take a stake in the 32-acre office development based near Liverpool Street station, whose tenants include UBS. The complex was was developed by British Land and Rosehaugh Stanhope Developments in the mid 1980s.<br /><br />JP Morgan analysts last night said a partial disposal of Broadgate would be positive for British Land: &ldquo;It would degear the company balance sheet twice as fast (100 per cent of debt will go off balance sheet), the company may start to look at other opportunities and reduces its City office exposure (and future capital expenditure).&rdquo;<br /><br />Property and Building, a subsidiary of holding company IDB Holding, said in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange it would buy shares in a real estate firm, which holds Broadgate, from an existing shareholder, which would give it a significant minority stake in the firm.<br /><br />An industry source said the firm was British Land&rsquo;s subsidiary through which it holds Broadgate. <br /><br />The Broadgate complex is a wide space with seating spanning a total 4.4 m sq ft. <br /><br />It is currently valued by the property group at &pound;2.3bn. A deal would also mean Property and Building would take on a sizeable chunk of the &pound;2bn debt secured on the City office complex. <br /><br />Harel Insurance and Financial Services, Israel&rsquo;s third-largest insurance group, said in a separate statement it was examining an acquisition of &pound;45m worth of shares in the Broadgate firm. Property and Building said the examination of the deal was at an early stage and there was no certainty it would go ahead, but said it aims to take advantage of opportunities in the real estate sector.