A report that appeared in the UK daily newspaper The Guardian has revealed that Qatar plans to add yet another London landmark to its string of assets in the English capital with a bid to take over the company that controls Canary Wharf.
If successful, the energy rich state would be adding to an already impressive portfolio that includes some of the London skyline’s most iconic constructions.
Only two weeks ago, Qataris reportedly bought HSBC’s 44-storey global headquarters in Canary Wharf for just over £1.1bn. The deal made the tower London’s most expensive office building.
The attempt to take full control of Canary Wharf comes at a time when office buildings in London are securing rising rents and as the Docklands site prepares to expand for the first time since the banking crisis. Qatar built an investment in Canary Wharf in the immediate aftermath of that crisis by pouring billions of pounds into a rescue fund, which stopped the business collapsing under its own debt.
Qatar’s property-buying spree in London started in 2008 with a 20% stake in Camden market, followed by the high-profile takeover of Harrods for £1.5bn. It bought the famous Knightsbridge store from Mohamed al-Fayed, who had owned it for 25 years.
The stakes are held through a number of investment vehicles which also own stakes in Barclays and the miner Glencore as well as a 95% stake in the Shard, also snapped up during the financial crisis when other investors took fright. The Olympic Village in Stratford, East London, and Chelsea Barracks, in the west of London, are also among its investments.