Axel Springer Sells Berlin Assets for $865M

A Norwegian sovereign wealth fund is the new owner of the German publisher’s future headquarters, while a Blackstone joint venture acquired the company’s current home.

Axel-Springer-Neubau
Axel-Springer-Neubau

In separate deals, Axel Springer has sold the Axel-Springer-Neubau and Axel-Springer-Passage, both located in Berlin, for a combined price of $865 million.

Axel-Springer-Neubau, a 13-story office building complex which is currently being developed, was acquired by Norges Bank Real Estate Management, a Norwegian sovereign wealth fund. Designed by noted architect Rem Koolhaas, the project is set to be finished in December 2019.

“We are delighted about the high level of interest in our Berlin real estate and that we were able to conclude this transaction so rapidly,” Dr. Julian Deutz, Axel Springer’s chief financial officer, said in a prepared statement. “The realized purchase price significantly exceeds our initial expectations.”

The property consists of a total rental area of nearly 561,000 square feet and is situated on an almost 108,000-square-foot piece of land in the heart of Berlin. It’s close by the former Berlin Wall and next door to the company’s existing office buildings.

With the deal finalized, Axel Springer will lease the new building back on a long-term lease.

Relocation scheduled beyond 2020

A joint venture between Blackstone and QUINCAP Investment Partners has acquired the nearby Axel-Springer-Passage in Berlin Kreuzberg. Originally constructed in 2004, the 10-story office building has more than 567,000 square feet of rentable space. Axel Springer will use the majority of the overall area until the end of 2020.

According to Deutz, the company will use the extra liquidity for future digital growth initiatives.

“The new Axel Springer building is key to our goal of deepening the cultural transformation of the company,” he said. “Whether we own the building or rent it is irrelevant in that regard.”

Axel Springer was advised by JLL and Hengeler Mueller in both transactions. Patrick Reich, managing partner of Caleus Capital Investors, accompanied both deals as senior advisor.

Image courtesy of OMA