BILLIONAIRE NEARING DEAL TO SELL PARIS APPLE STORE

A company owned by the family of French billionaire Christopher Descours is in talks to sell the building that will house the Apple store on Paris’s Champs-Elysees to Germany’s biggest pension fund, people with knowledge of the deal said.

Bayerische Versorgungskammer, which oversees 12 compulsory retirement funds for doctors, pharmacists and Bavarian lawmakers, is close to agreeing terms to buy the 114 Avenue des Champs-Elysees building, which will host the store when it opens next year, the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are ongoing.

Morgan Stanley and broker Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. were hired last year to sell the property, the people said. CoStar News reported they were looking for 700 million euros ($864 million).

A spokesman for the Descours family’s EPI vehicle declined to comment. Spokesmen for Morgan Stanley, Jones Lang LaSalle, Bayerische Versorgungskammer and Hines Interests LP, which is advising the potential buyer, also declined to comment. The sale to the German pension fund hasn’t been finalized and there’s no certainty a deal will be done.

Funds for institutional and retail investors have been pouring money into European real estate, lured by higher returns than bonds. Open-ended German property funds registered inflows of 5.5 billion euros in 2017, up from 4.2 billion euros a year earlier, according to data compiled by the BVI German investment fund association.

Descours and his family, which owns luxury brands from the Bonpoint fashion house to Piper-Heidsieck champagne, has a net worth of about 1.1 billion euros, according to local media. Descours became president of EPI. The company was founded by his grandfather.

Apple will open a store in the building once work is completed, Le Figaro reported last year. The property also includes office space above.

Amundi SA, among the most prolific buyers of Paris offices in the past three years, canceled plans to buy two large properties in the French capital for about 1.3 billion euros, Bloomberg reported. The French asset manager has halted talks to buy the Capital 8 and the Kosmo developments as it scales back spending on costly real estate, people with knowledge of the deals said.

French retail investors lured by tax incentives have been buying into property funds, pushing up prices to unsustainable levels, Fidelity International Ltd. warned in a report in July. Yields for Paris’ best offices are 3 percent, according to data compiled by broker Jones Lang LaSalle, below their pre-crisis peak in 2007.

Source: Bloomberg

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