Billionaire Magnier Said to Purchase $56 Million U.K. Estate

The family of John Magnier, the Irish bloodstock entrepreneur, acquired the Sutton Scotney Estate in Hampshire from a unit of Zurich Insurance Group AG, according to two people with knowledge of the deal.

Most of the land is leased to farmers and the family doesn’t intend to change how the estate is run in the near-term, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deal is private. The estate, about 60 miles southwest of central London, was offered through Savills Plc for about 45 million pounds ($56 million). The estate includes 24 homes and more than 4,000 acres (1,619 hectares) of land, according to the broker’s website, which indicates that the property was sold this month.

A spokeswoman for Magnier declined to comment. Rajan Lakhani, a spokesman for Zurich Insurance, confirmed that the estate is up for sale, but declined to confirm that the Magnier family is buying it.

John Magnier

Photographer: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Magnier, a former shareholder in English soccer club Manchester United, is a breeder of thoroughbred horses through his Coolmore Stud operation and also owns real estate. He has a fortune of about 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion), according to The Sunday Times. The U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union is likely to have a muted impact on the market for agricultural land as the weak pound creates a favorable buying environment for overseas investors, Savills said in December.

Zurich Insurance took control of Sutton Scotney as part of a takeover of Eagle Star Insurance. The U.K. firm had proposed building as many as 12,500 homes on the land, but Winchester City Council opposed the development.

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