Korean Investor Hana in Talks to Buy WeWork London Landmark

(Bloomberg) -- Hana Financial Group Inc. is in talks to buy a landmark office property opposite the Bank of England that’s being transformed into a major WeWork Cos. co-working space, according to people with knowledge of the plan.

Aermont Capital LLP, the owner of the building at One Poultry, is seeking a price of about 185 million pounds ($240 million), the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. A spokeswoman for Aermont, a real estate manager spun out of Perella Weinberg Partners LP, and an official at Hana Financial Investment declined to comment.

Korean investors have been pouring into London real estate this year, lured by higher returns than other western European capitals and lower currency hedging costs than in the U.S., where interest rates have risen further and faster. Pension funds and securities firms from the region are on track to spend about 4 billion pounds on property in the U.K. this year including major deals for buildings such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s European headquarters, according to a forecast by broker Cushman & Wakefield Plc.

The terms of the transaction have not yet been finalized and there is no certainty the deal will be completed, the people said.

The One Poultry building, best known for its stripes of pink and yellow limestone and the rooftop Coq d’Argent restaurant, occupies a prime spot in the center of the City of London financial district and has historic protections. The property is being modernized for WeWork, which leased the space last year after previous tenant Aviva Plc moved out.

Leasing space to WeWork can have a downside, though. A study conducted by Cushman & Wakefield Plc found that properties for which co-working companies account for more than 40 percent of the rent typically sell for lower prices.

Moody’s Investor Service last week dropped its ratings of WeWork and its inaugural bond deal, citing a lack of information about the company’s creditworthiness.

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