Spanish court backs Reuben Brothers' bid for Santander headquarters

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MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s Banco Santander lost a battle to regain ownership of its headquarters outside Madrid on Monday when a Spanish court ruled that the billionaire Reuben brothers had won a tender with a cash bid, net of debt, of 283 million euros ($325 million).

Santander pays millions of euros in monthly rent to the owner of the 250 hectare plot whose nine futuristic buildings include offices, restaurants and a residence for its employees, which has an enterprise value of almost 3 billion euros, a source with the knowledge of the deal said.

The tender made by Reuben Brothers, a fund with investments from real estate to mining owned by British businessmen David and Simon Reuben who are ranked 88th in the Forbes list of world’s billionaires, was net of debt.

A Santander SAN.MC spokesman said the bank would appeal against the result of the tender, which was part of a liquidation settlement of Marme Investments, which bought Santander's headquarters for 1.9 billion euros in a 40-year sale-and-leaseback deal in 2018.

Santander, which had offered 232 million euros, still has the right of first offer for the asset, the source said.

Although Santander does not disclose the rent it pays for its headquarters on a standalone basis, it paid 330 million euros total for renting all its 1,152 offices, ten buildings and the headquarters in 2017 under leaseback deals, its annual results show.

Reporting by Sam Edwards and Andres Gonzalez, editing by Andrei Khalip and Alexander Smith