Russia's O1 buys Microsoft's Moscow office for $1 bln - source

LONDON, March 19 Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:36am EDT

LONDON, March 19 (Reuters) - Russian property company O1 Properties has bought Moscow's White Square office complex, home to a local arm of Microsoft, for about $1 billion in the country's largest ever office deal, a source close to the sale said.

The deal, financed by Russia's Sberbank, will help O1 revisit plans for a stock market listing in London, a move that was shelved last year due to the weak state of the new issues market, the source said.

The White Square site comprises three buildings in Moscow's business district and was sold by a consortium of Russia's VTB Capital, U.S. private equity company TPG Holdings and developer AIG/Lincoln, according to a statement on Tuesday.

It did not disclose the sale price but the transaction was described by property consultant Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), which advised AIG/Lincoln and VTB on the deal, as "one of the five largest single-asset deals across the globe in 2012".

Tenants of the complex, which was completed in 2009 and has 76,000 square metres of space, include accountants PwC and Deloitte as well as U.S. software group Microsoft.

"This property will take its justified place among other trophy assets in our portfolio and raise its gross asset value to almost $4 billion," said Dmitry Mints, chairman of O1 Properties.

Moscow has a shortage of top-end office space, which has helped push rents up from $700 per square metre per year in the second quarter of 2009 to $1,150 today, JLL said.

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