The FINANCIAL — KPMG in the UK, the professional services firm providing audit, tax, deal advisory, risk and management consulting services, has appointed Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) to find a buyer for its landmark London headquarters, 15 Canada Square in Canary Wharf, which it will continue to occupy.
The firm is seeking to sell the virtual freehold of the building to an investor and immediately lease it back on a long term lease, in a transaction known as a ‘sale and leaseback’, according to KPMG.
The building occupies a central location on the Canary Wharf Estate, positioned directly opposite the new Crossrail station and overlooking Canada Square. It comprises 434,261 sq ft (40,328 sq m) of highly-specified office accommodation arranged over 14 floors and is occupied in its entirety by KPMG.
Philip Davidson, Managing Partner at KPMG, said: “We are seeing strong demand from investors for prime London assets and we want to capitalise on this rising market.
“Ownership of property is not core to our business and this move reflects our wider strategy: we lease buildings in 22 locations across the UK, keeping our capital free to invest in our business and facilities. As a firm we are making considerable investments developing technologies to provide new services and solutions to our clients, while enhancing traditional processes like audit. This transaction will accelerate that ambition.
“We are proud to be a London headquartered firm, and are committed to a long term future in the city.”
Andrew Hawkins, International Director and Head of the City Capital Markets team at JLL, said: “London remains a critical hub for global business and foreign investment. The city’s strengths are underpinned by business friendly regulation, a robust legal system and a transparent investment environment, making it an attractive place for domestic and international investors alike.
“Weaker sterling has added further weight to a strengthening property market, shown by an increase of 40% in deal turnover in Central London during the last six months, compared to the same period in 2016. We expect to receive a high level of interest from both domestic and international investors, keen to secure a long term, index linked income secured against a flagship asset in one of London’s most prominent business locations.”