Commercial property developer and investor British Land has finalised the sale of half of its Broadgate Estate to private equity firm Blackstone.
The sale of the stake in the £2.2 billion London office space development gained British Land just £77 million. However, Blackstone will also be taking on almost £1 billion in debt.
The move is a tactical one for British Land. Clearing this quantity of debt from its books is designed to enable the company to purchase new commercial properties, and therefore benefit from prices that are now vastly reduced from their over-inflated peak in 2007, when valuations were around twice as high.
Chris Grigg, British Land’s chief executive, commented: “At the current state of the market, we think that’s an important opportunity and one we intend to take.” Shares in British Land rose 20p or around 4% on the news.