Iconic London skyscraper the Gherkin, the tower designed by British starchitect Norman Foster that opened ten years ago at a cost of £138M ($247M), just became a new trophy for Brazilian billionaire banker Joseph Safra, who ponied up a rumored £726M ($1.15B) for the property. The distinctive 591-foot office tower had been on the market since July after its last owners, private equity firm Evans Randall and property investor IVG, defaulted on a loan, and it was put into receivership. Naturally, the sale of such a prominent building attracted a lot of attention (a starchitect's giant, glass pickle is the ultimate status purchase), and more than 200 prospective buyers, including many sovereign wealth funds, raised their proverbial bid paddles.
Everyone involved assumed there would be "a lot of interest in this from the Middle and Far East." That may have been the case, but, in the end, the new owner is Lebanese-Brazilian, and the founder of Brazil's eighth-largest bank, Banco Safra. In addition to this grand section of London's skyline and all the prestige that comes with it, Safra Group also owns the Chiquita banana company. Let's leave the phallic jokes implied.
· The Gherkin sold to Brazilian billionaire Joseph Safra [Guardian]
· All Big Deals posts [Curbed National]