UK - Private equity firm The Carlyle Group has acquired six landmark central London office properties - formerly part of the portfolio of assets linked to the troubled White Tower 2006-3 commercial mortgage-backed securitisation (CMBS) - for £671m (€802m).

It is a major acquisition for the company's €2.2bn third pan‐European opportunistic real estate fund, Carlyle European Real Estate Partners III (CEREP III), launched in 2008, and one of the first deals in the UK to capitalise on CMBS distress.

Five of the properties are part of the Thames Portfolio and include 60 Victoria Embankment, a 420,000 square foot office building in Victoria let to JP Morgan Chase.

The sixth property is Alban Gate, a 382,000 square foot office building in the City also let to JP Morgan Chase.

The remaining buildings are: Ludgate House, a 170,00 square foot office on the South Bank let to United Business Media; Sampson House, a 350,000 square foot office on the South Bank let to IBM; Millennium Bridge House, a 200,000 square foot office in the City let to UBS; and BSI Tower, a 140,000 square foot office in Chiswick, West London, let to BSI Management Systems.

The assets were all formerly part of Simon Halabi's troubled £1bn real estate portfolio.
In total, the assets comprise more than 1.6m square feet of space and are currently generating more than £62m of rent a year.

Robert Hodges, managing director at Carlyle European Real Estate, said: "This acquisition has provided us with a rare opportunity to acquire six landmark assets in strong locations, let to a number of global, high-quality occupiers.

"While each property benefits from an existing secure income profile, there are considerable longer-term opportunities across the portfolio for active asset management and redevelopment, where we can add significant value.

"This acquisition is a further example of our strategy in Europe of making long‐term investments in landmark assets in strategically important European centres."

Financing for the Thames Portfolio was provided by a group of banks led by Société Générale.

Hodges said: "We are especially pleased to secure long-term, flexible financing from a syndicate of strong relationship banks led by Société Générale, for such a large portfolio, especially given current debt market conditions."