KB Securities Co. Ltd., a unit of a top South Korean banking group, has bought a building used as Facebook Inc.’s second Dublin office for around 150 billion won ($140 million), in the first property investment in Ireland by a South Korean financial institution.
The securities firm committed 70 billion won to a fund of LB Investment, a South Korean asset manager and borrowed 80 billion won in a secured loan to close the acquisition on May 29, according to investment banking sources on May 30.
It bought the property from the Comer Group, a London-based property developer, which reportedly spent €5 million on the purchase in 2013 and poured an additional money to renovate the then vacant space.
KB Securities is believed to resell the equity interests in the Beckett building to other South Korean institutional investors, but no further details were available immediately.
The target IRR was 8-9%, domestic news outlet MoneyToday said in February when LB Investment was picked as a preferred buyer of the property.
Facebook has been using the six-story building since last year on a 15-year lease, according to the sources.
Completed in 2008, the property is located in the north Dublin docklands and has a floor space of 17,566 square meters.
A number of Silicon Valley tech companies lease offices near the Beckett building in the City Center of Dublin, pointing to the strength in the Dublin property market.
“Not only Facebook, but also Google and Apple have their European head offices in Ireland which gives a range of benefits to foreign companies to promote their investment,” said one of the IB sources. “Its office building market is attracting attention.”
The transaction was advised by London-based Knight Frank Investment Management and Helaba, a German bank, provided acquisition finance, CoStar, a property data company, said in a recent report.
KB Securities, with an equity capital of 4.2 trillion won as at end-March, is considering buying additional commercial properties in Europe and Japan.
Last year, it teamed up with domestic brokerage companies to snap up two logistics centers leased to British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s and BAE Systems, a British defence and aerospace company, for 167 billion won and around 100 billion won respectively.
To expand global business, KB Securities is now seeking to buy an Indonesian brokerage firm after acquiring a brokerage company in Vietnam in January.
By Ikhwan Kim and Jin Seoung Kim
<Edited by Yeonhee Kim>