Economist Group Said Seeking to Lease Space From Blackstone

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The Economist Group, publisher of the 172-year-old politics and business magazine, is in talks with Blackstone Group LP, to lease space at a London office overlooking the River Thames, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

The publisher, whose largest investor is Italy’s billionaire Agnelli family, is negotiating for about 25,000 square feet (2,300 square meters) of space at the Grade II listed Adelphi building near The Strand, which is being remodeled by the private equity investor, said the people, asking not to be named because the matter is private. Spokesmen for Blackstone and the Economist declined to comment.

Pearson Plc sold its half stake in the magazine in December last year for 469 million pounds ($691 million). The shares were bought by investors including Exor SpA, the Agnelli’s investment company and the Rothschild family. The Economist Group agreed to sell its headquarters in London’s St James’s district to U.S. real estate investor Tishman Speyer in February.

“The Economist editorial team have looked long and hard for a single floor, in a prestigious building,” said Jules Hind, partner and head of leasing and development at broker Farebrother. “The Adelphi has got history and undeniable prominence.”

Blackstone spent about 30 million pounds refurbishing the lower floors of the art-deco building, unveiling them at a launch party in October featuring actors in 1930s’ costume, a vintage car and a DJ set by the daughter of Duran Duran singer Simon Le Bon. Tenants including U.S. co-working members club NeueHouse and the Association of Chartered Accountants have already leased four of the refurbished floors.

Work refurbishing floors seven to 13 of the building, which originally opened in 1938, continues. Rents in the area are about 85 pounds a square foot for new buildings, and as much as 72.50 pounds for refurbished space according to broker Carter Jonas LLP.