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Norway Sovereign Wealth Fund Spends $1.5 Billion on NY and Boston Properties

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Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which manages the sovereign wealth of Norway, has inked a deal to acquire a 45% interest in 601 Lexington Avenue (formerly Citigroup Center), in addition to equal shares in two Boston properties for US$ 1.5 billion in cash. This puts the aggregate value of the properties at around US$ 4.06 billion. All the properties are Class A office towers. The seller is the real estate investment trust Boston Properties, Inc. The two Boston properties are the Atlantic Wharf Office Building and 100 Federal Street. After the transaction, NBIM and Boston Properties are forming a joint venture for each of the three real estate properties.

Boston Properties was advised on this transaction by Eastdil Secured.

In the press release, Boston Properties’ Chief Executive Officer, Owen D. Thomas, commented, “We are delighted to expand our very important relationship with Norges Bank Investment Management, a leading global investor, through this partnership on three of our high-quality assets in New York and Boston. This transaction represents an important step in executing our current strategy of recycling capital from existing assets into new development.”

In 2001, then Citicorp, sold its controlling stake in 601 Lexington for US$ 755 million to Boston Properties. Citigroup faced some humility when its name was stripped from the Citigroup Center. In 2008, the building was renamed 601 Lexington Ave.

Mergermarket Gets Ready to be Sold

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Private equity firm BC Partners hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to advise on the sales of Acuris. Acuris is a collection of financial news and data sites, which includes Mergermarket, Dealreporter, and Debtwire. In 2017, BC Partners sold around a 30% stake in GIC Private Limited.

Before the rebranding to Acuris, Mergermarket was part of The Financial Times Group until 2013 when it was sold off to BC Partners.

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Why Japan Post Sees Promise in Aflac

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Aflac Inc. is an American insurance company founded in 1955. The company is the biggest provider of supplemental insurance in the United States. Aflac also has major operations in Japan.

In December 2018, Japan Post Holdings (JPHLF) signaled it was spending US$ 2.64 billion for a 7-8 % stake in Aflac. The goal is that, in four years time, Aflac will become an affiliate of Japan Post. Japan Post hopes to accomplish this by becoming the largest voting shareholder of the company. The world’s 13th largest company, with 400,000 employees, Japan Post needs to expand to chase further growth, mainly because Japan Post expects the postal business to decline. Diversification is seen as the optimal route to long term stability for the holding company. Japan’s economy is worrying. Japan’s aging population means that many insurance companies are facing a shrinking customer base, Japan Post settled on a plan to expand overseas.

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RDIF and Development Agency of Serbia Agree to Explore Joint Investments

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The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and the Development Agency of Serbia, also known as Razvojna agencija Srbije, reached an agreement to work together to identify attractive investment projects to strengthen bilateral economic ties and increase investment flows between Russia and Serbia. Russian capital and businesses are keen on investing in Serbia.

In addition, the two countries signed an agreement to cooperate on civil nuclear energy, according to state-owned Russian reactor builder Rosatom (Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation). Rosatom continues to expand it business of nuclear cooperation deals in a wide number of countries.

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