HK billionaire buys London building for $455m, say sources

Above: Aldwych House, a 174,000 sq ft building near Covent Garden in London, has been leased to tenants after a recent refurbishment. Left: Ms Angela Leong, who has a net worth of $5 billion, with her husband, Macau tycoon Stanley Ho, in a 2009 photo
Aldwych House, a 174,000 sq ft building near Covent Garden in London, has been leased to tenants after a recent refurbishment. PHOTOS: ALDWYCHHOUSE. COM, REUTERS
Above: Aldwych House, a 174,000 sq ft building near Covent Garden in London, has been leased to tenants after a recent refurbishment. Left: Ms Angela Leong, who has a net worth of $5 billion, with her husband, Macau tycoon Stanley Ho, in a 2009 photo
Ms Angela Leong, who has a net worth of $5 billion, with her husband, Macau tycoon Stanley Ho, in a 2009 photo.PHOTOS: ALDWYCHHOUSE. COM, REUTERS

HONG KONG • Hong Kong billionaire Angela Leong has bought a historic building in London's Aldwych district for about £250 million (S$455 million), people with knowledge of the deal said.

Ms Leong, who is married to casino magnate Stanley Ho, has completed the purchase of Aldwych House from Rowan Asset Management and GI Partners, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deal is confidential.

The 174,000 sq ft building near Covent Garden has been leased to tenants, including workspace-sharing firm WeWork and Roka restaurant, after a recent refurbishment.

A spokesman for the vendors declined to comment. Representatives for Ms Leong, 55, did not return calls and e-mails seeking comment, Bloomberg said.

Hong Kong investors have poured into London's commercial real estate market following the Brexit vote, lured by the cheap pound and lower values than those in their domestic market.

Chinese and Hong Kong buyers spent almost £4 billion on London commercial property in the first half of the year, up from £2.7 billion in the whole of last year, according to data compiled by broker CBRE Group.

Hong Kong-based LKK Health Products Group agreed to buy the tower known as the Walkie Talkie for £1.28 billion in July and Hong Kong real estate developer C C Land Holdings paid £1.15 billion for the Cheesegrater tower in May.

Hong Kong investors have poured into London's commercial real estate market following the Brexit vote, lured by the cheap pound and lower values than those in their domestic market.

Cindat Capital Management is joining an acquisition of QHotels Group valuing the British hospitality company at more than £500 million, people with knowledge of the matter said earlier this month.

Ms Leong, who has a net worth of US$3.7 billion (S$5 billion) according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, is executive director of SJM Holdings, Macau's third-largest casino operator by revenue.

She started investing in property in her early 20s when she worked as a treasury clerk in Mr Ho's Lisboa casino, and supplemented her income by teaching ballroom dancing and children's ballet, according to Forbes magazine.

By 1986, when she met Mr Ho, she owned three flats in Macau and one in Hong Kong, which she bought to be her mother's residence, all in traditional walk-up buildings.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2017, with the headline 'HK billionaire buys London building for $455m, say sources'. Print Edition | Subscribe