London's Walkie Talkie bought for record breaking £1.28bn


LKK Health Products, a member of Hong Kong's Lee Kum Kee Group known for its oyster sauce products, announced on Thursday it will purchase a London commercial property for £1.3 billion (US$1.7 billion) in the UK's biggest office deal ever.

The deal for 20 Fenchurch Street will see Hong Kong company LKK Health Products Group buy out the Canary Wharf Group's and Land Securities' 50 per cent stakes in the quirky building. The price tag is the highest ever paid for a single United Kingdom building.

Land Securities said it expects the unconditional transaction to be completed next month. The heat was so intense that a journalist on a City newspaper managed to fry an egg on the pavement. The media responded by dubbing the building the "Walkie-Scorchie".

The "Walkie Talkie" is known for being a hot property - literally. It also features the three-storey Sky Garden with a restaurant, bar and views across the capital.

In 2015, the office block won an award for being the biggest architectural eyesore in the UK.

Another part of London's skyline has been snapped up by an Asian buyer.

More news: Craig-Hallum Downgrades Rating On Seagate Technology PLC - Ordina (STX) To "Hold"
More news: Morata will succeed in Chelsea - James Rodriguez
More news: Branson sells stake in Virgin Atlantic in broader tie-up

The £1.28bn price tag is £130m higher than the £1.15bn price the nearby Cheesegrater sold for in May.

It is understood LKK also made an attempt to buy the Gherkin earlier this year, but no deal was agreed. LKK is a 129-year-old family business that specialises in oyster sauce, shrimp paste and Chinese herbal medicine, and is controlled by 88-year-old billionaire Lee Man Tat.

'Since the vote to leave the European Union, capital targeting London from the Asia-Pacific region has increased to record levels. "This is partly due to currency fluctuations but is more indicative of longer-term confidence in London and investment strategies, which are not derailed by short-term political uncertainty".

The Walkie Talkie is thought have been a commercial success for its developers.

On an investment front, the fully-let building covering 34 floors in the City's insurance district makes it an attractive proposition.

Landsec chief executive Robert Noel said: "Our decision to sell 20 Fenchurch Street at an exceptional price and return cash to shareholders reflects our disciplined approach to the use of capital".