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British Land Plans to Keep 50% Stake in Broadgate Complex

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Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) -- British Land Co., the U.K.’s second-largest real estate investment trust, plans to keep its 50 percent stake in the Broadgate office complex after the Sunday Times reported that Blackstone Group LP may sell its holding.

“We have a strong vision of how Broadgate will develop as a vibrant mixed-use estate in the heart of the City of London and expect it to benefit from its position around one of London’s most important transport hubs and from the completion of Crossrail in 2018,” British Land Chief Executive Officer Chris Grigg said today in a statement.

Blackstone, the world’s biggest property-fund manager, agreed not to sell its Broadgate stake for three years after buying half of the development in a 2009 deal that valued the properties at 2.1 billion pounds ($3.3 billion). Now that the agreement has expired, British Land will “work closely with Blackstone through any sale process,” Grigg said in the statement.

Blackstone “can’t just sell it to three men and a dog,” Grigg said in a call with analysts. “There are certain reasonable controls that both parties have and that would include selling it to somebody who would be regarded as sensible for all sorts of reasons.” Blackstone spokesman Andrew Dowler declined to comment on the possible disposal.

British Land is planning to modernize an office building at the complex that’s leased to UBS AG, the developer said today. Blackstone, based in New York, and British Land are constructing a 700,000 square-foot (65,000 square-meter) property that the Zurich-based bank agreed to lease. The building at 100 Liverpool Street will probably become vacant in 2016 after UBS moves.

To contact the reporter on this story: Neil Callanan in London at ncallanan@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Blackman at ablackman@bloomberg.net

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