Blackstone 'to sell London office stake to Singapore's GIC' for $3.4b

LONDON (REUTERS) - Singapore's investment company GIC is in exclusive talks to buy Blackstone Group's stake in the Broadgate office and retail complex in London for 1.7 billion pounds (S$3.4 billion), Britain's Times newspaper said.

Reuters reported on Monday that the private equity firm was selling the stake in the 30-acre site in London's financial district to an unnamed sovereign wealth fund as it gears up to raise US$5 billion (S$6.3 billion) for a new European fund.

The Times said on Wednesday that the agreement with GIC was still in the very early stages.

Blackstone bought the stake with 77 million pounds of equity in 2009 from British Land, which still owns the other half-share. British Land said in January that it intends to retain its stake in the site, whose tenants include Swiss bank UBS.

GIC, one of the world's largest investment firms, is a 3.95 per cent shareholder in British Land. Its investments in Britain a stake in the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent and student housing in London.

GIC, Blackstone and British Land declined to comment.