12 July 2018 – Expansión
Inversiones Hemisferio, a company owned by different branches of the Lara family, has reached an agreement with the US fund Blackstone to sell the headquarters of the editorial and media group Planeta before Banco Sabadell can repossess the building in exchange for the debt taken out at the time by the family holding company.
According to sources close to the operation, Blackstone is going to pay €210 million for the property located on Avenida Diagonal in Barcelona, where Planeta will continue as the tenant. The rental income will generate a yield of less than 4% for the investor.
In May, the Lara family, owner of Planeta, agreed to transfer the building, worth €170 million, to Banco Sabadell, but was given until September to try to find another buyer on its own and attempt to agree a higher price.
The complex has a total surface area of 27,000 m2, of which 25,000 m2 correspond to office space, leased to Planeta and other tenants, therefore Blackstone will be paying €8,000/m2. The same sources assure that that buyer and seller have already reached an agreement on the price and conditions and that the operation is just pending the signatures.
In 2001, the Lara family purchased the building – the former headquarters of Banca Catalana – for around €100 million. In 2006, Inversiones Hemisferio, together with other real estate companies, such as the firm owned by Mango’s boss, Isak Andic, Joaquín Folch Rosiñol (Industrias Titán) and Héctor Colonques (Porcelanosa), purchased 12% of Banco Sabadell for €1.295 billion. The Lara family controlled 3% of the bank, but during the crisis, Sabadell’s share price plummeted and Hemisferio was obliged to offer up the building on Avenida Diagonal by way of guarantee.
Hemisferio’s debt with the bank matures in September. Sabadell and the Lara family agreed to transfer the asset two months ago if Hemisferio did not manage to sell the building sooner on its own for a higher price. This situation forced the real estate company owned by the family behind Planeta to organise the sale of the building in record time and to find a buyer with sufficient financial standing to fork out the more than €200 million that it was asking for with the utmost speed. The process was entrusted to the consultancy firm CBRE.
With this operation, Blackstone is further strengthening its commitment to Spain, where it has invested in the real estate sector through the purchase of Anticipa, the former real estate division of Catalunya Caixa, and of HI Partners, created from the hotel assets of Banco Sabadell.
Original story: Expansión (by Marisa Anglés)
Translation: Carmel Drake