US asset management firm Blackstone is the front runner to acquire the four office blocks forming part of Facebook’s European HQ at Ballsbridge in Dublin.
According to sources, the owners have agreed to place the asset under offer to Blackstone, which is interested on behalf of the Blackstone European Property Income Fund (BEPIF) - the same fund that just announced the purchase of the Harbour Exchange office and data centre in London's Canary Wharf district.
Talks over Facebook's campus in Dublin are still at an early stage, so there is no guarantee that Blackstone will buy it. However, sources said it was certainly the current favourite.
The offices come at a guide price of €395 mln at 4.04%, which is €15 mln more than was speculated earlier this year.
Advisors to the Serpentine consortium, a group of private individuals and companies assembled by AIB private banking and Goodbody Stockbrokers, began approaching investors at the start of September.
The property is let to Facebook Ireland Ltd. with a full parent guarantee from Facebook Inc., a company with one of the strongest market values of circa £1 trillion. The social media giant has recently embarked on a multimillion (excess €55 mln) refurbishment programme for the office blocks to target LEED Gold and WELL Platinum Certification.
The Grade A office blocks are known as I, J, K & L and are located on Facebook’s campus which measures a total of 79,290 m2.
It is said that investors need not worry that Facebook would decline to renew its tenancy of the buildings given its costly recent refurbishment of them, but also evidenced by the fact it owns the freehold.
Not only that, but Facebook recently agreed to pre-let Fibonacci Square at the front of the campus comprising two buildings for 25 years. The developer, Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE), is expected to complete the project at the end of next year.
Those buildings will accommodate thousands more workers, making it Facebook’s second-largest campus globally, surpassed only by the global HQ at Menlo Park in California.