The Gherkin ain’t workin’, as we told you this morning.
The iconic skyscraper is on the market for £650m after the tower’s co-owners – IVG Immobilien and Evans Randall – could not finalise a restructuring deal.
Jamie Olley, head of City investment at Deloitte, the receivers of the skyscraper, said: “The property will appeal to a wide range of domestic and international investors and we are confident of maximising returns to the receivers and creditors.”
Here are five people who we think could be in the running to buy the Gherkin:
From the Shard to Harrods to the Olympic Village, London landmarks always figure on shopping lists for the Qatari sovereign wealth fund. Perhaps the Gherkin will be another one the Qataris will snap up.
According to various media reports, the Gherkin’s co-owner IVG Immobilien was in talks with Qatar last year to sell its properties, including the Gherkin and IVG’s Frankfurt Airport office complex, The Squaire.
We’ve told you about how China has been buying up British assets in recent years. Just last year, Chinese insurer Ping An forked out a whopping £260m for the Lloyd’s of London building.
At the time of purchase, Humbert Pang, the Chinese head of Ping An’s adviser Gaw Capital Partners, said in a statement: “As an active player in the real estate market in China, Gaw Capital Partners is seeing more opportunities to assist Chinese institutional investors going overseas.”
Buying up the Gherkin may be just that opportunity Ping An is on the look-out for.
Read: How China bought Britain
In 1995, the Canary Wharf project entered receivership and developers Songbird Estates approached Prince Alwaleed to invest in the development. In 2005, the billionaire prince sold 41% of his Canary Wharf stake at a profit.
Prince Alwaleed has a thing for London assets, with the Savoy Hotel in his kitty. So he may come to the Gherkin’s rescue.
Malaysian consortium SP Setia bought Battersea Power station for £400m and has embarked on work on the £8bn revamp of the south-west London site.
According to media reports, SP Setia wants overseas sales to account for “50% of its sales”. The Gherkin may be another overseas asset that SP Setia gobbles up.
Insurers Swiss Re have previously owned the Gherkin and are one its biggest tenants. The insurers made a whopping £630m by selling the skyscraper in 2006. Could they buy the skyscraper back? Watch this space.