Mon Dieu! Americans Behind Europe Record-Breaker

Wowza! Apparently they buy buildings in Paris too.

Naturally, it’s a bunch of burly American I-bankers who made the biggest single-asset deal in European history.

Lehman Brothers has purchased Coeur Defense, a series of five buildings, from Goldman Sachs for 2.11 billion euros, or $2.8 billion U.S. dollars. It’s a record for the overseas bunch.

Cushman & Wakefield, which also advised the biggest single-building sale ever in U.S. history at 666 Fifth Avenue for $1.8 billion, advised Lehman Brothers in this deal.

Full release after the jump.

- John Koblin

Cushman & Wakefield
Dept. of Corporate Communications

For immediate release

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CUSHMAN & WAKEFIELD ACTS FOR LEHMAN BROTHERS ON EUROPE’S LARGEST SINGLE-ASSET DEAL – THE PURCHASE OF COEUR DEFENSE IN PARIS

PARIS – March 30, 2007 – Global real estate consultant Cushman & Wakefield has advised Lehman Brothers Real Estate and its French partner the private company Atemi on the largest single-asset deal in Europe, the purchase of the Coeur Defense office complex in Paris.

Earlier this year, Cushman & Wakefield arranged the US$1.8bn sale of 666 Fifth Avenue in New York from Tishman Speyer to Kushner Companies, which was the world’s largest single-building sale.

Coeur Defense was sold by French real estate investment trust Unibail and Goldman Sachs’ Whitehall Funds for €2.11bn, or US$2.8bn. The transaction reflects a gross yield of 4.8 percent.

The office complex is situated in the key business district of La Defense, to the west of the city. It was completed in 2001, and consists of two 160-metre buildings and three low-rise buildings totalling 182,000 sq m and offering 159,000 sq m of office space, making it the biggest scheme of its kind in Europe. Current tenants include AXA Investment Managers, Societe Generale, Credit Lyonnais, Microsoft, Cap Gemini and HSBC.

Anne Lemonnier, Executive Director of Lehman Brothers Real Estate, says: “Coeur Defense is a landmark building not just for Paris but for Europe. In addition, it is located in one of the most attractive office markets in Europe, La Defense.”

Olivier Gerard, head of Cushman & Wakefield’s Capital Markets Group in France, adds: “Offices remain by far the most sought-after asset class in the French market, accounting for nearly 75 percent of last year’s total investment volume. This is largely due to the strong performance of the office rental market, with Paris recording its highest office take-up ever last year with the letting of 2.8 million square metres of office space – the highest in Europe.”

According to Cushman & Wakefield, France’s investment market recorded transactions valued at a total of €24.5bn last year, most of which were in the Paris market. The single largest group of investors in the French market by nationality are the French, with 48 percent market share, says Cushman & Wakefield, followed by U.S. investors, which last year accounted for 16 percent of investment volumes.