Oaktree Said in Talks to Buy De Beers’s London Base From AngloBy and
Anglo American Plc is in talks to sell the historical London headquarters of its De Beers diamond unit to Oaktree Capital Group LLC and Quadrant Estates, according to two people with knowledge of the plan.
The sale of the four buildings has been slowed by the U.K.’s Brexit vote, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The June referendum caused the commercial-property market to stall and the pound to lose value, leading Anglo to lower its price expectations, they said. The London-based company initially aimed to raise more than 100 million pounds ($125 million) from the sale.
Spokesmen for Anglo, Oaktree and Quadrant declined to comment. The property sale is part of a wider restructuring announced by Anglo in February. The company, seeking to reshape its business for an era of lower commodities prices and to cut net debt to less than $10 billion, plans to exit coal and iron ore to focus on more diamonds, platinum and copper, where it has greater market dominance.
Oaktree, the world’s biggest distressed-debt investor, and Quadrant, a U.K. developer, haven’t yet agreed with Anglo on a price for the buildings, the people said. The properties, which include 17 Charterhouse Street, will probably sell for less than 90 million pounds, one of them said.
The vast majority of the world’s rough diamonds were sorted and sold at the Charterhouse Street building during De Beers’ monopoly that ended around the turn of this century. Large parts of the property have been vacant since De Beers moved its sales operations to Botswana in 2013 as part of a 10-year deal signed with the Southern African nation, its biggest source of its diamonds. The company is still the world’s biggest diamond producer.
De Beers staff who are currently based at Charterhouse Street will move to Anglo’s headquarters at Carlton House Terrace, also in London.