Broadgate purchase fulfils Ritblat dream

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The Independent Online

Deputy City Editor

John Ritblat completed his dream of acquiring London's most prestigious office development yesterday after he persuaded the receiver to Godfrey Bradman's failed Rosehaugh group to part with his 50 per cent share in the Broadgate centre for pounds 120m.

British Land, where Mr Ritblat is chairman, owns the other half of Broadgate, having acquired it in March as part of its takeover of Stanhope, Rosehaugh's partner in the popular but heavily indebted centre.

Consolidating his position in the City's leading office development will be viewed as an expression of faith in the faltering commercial property market, where over-supply continues to depress capital values.

Analysts welcomed the deal, which continues an extended pounds 400m spending spree by British Land since March, and means the company leapfrogs MEPC into second place in the quoted property sector behind Land Securities, with a portfolio of properties valued at more than pounds 4bn and a market capitalisation of pounds 1.7bn.

The acquisition accompanied the purchase of seven Tesco superstores for pounds 148.2m, bringing its supermarket portfolio to almost 100. That deal is to be financed by a one-for-six placing and open offer at 370p a share to raise pounds 222.5m. The placing, British Land's second in six months, pushed the company's shares 13p lower to 382p.