Blackstone in the running to buy Aon's London offices at Devonshire Square
Aon's flagship London offices may soon be sold to Blackstone for approximately £330 million.

Reports have suggested Blackstone is the preferred bidder for the City asset, although nothing is yet formally under offer. Devonshire Square, where the Aon headquarters are located, is owned by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Rockpoint, which purchased the City offices for £410 million in 2006. The reported sale price of around £325-330 million would signify a profit loss.

Aon will soon move out of 8 Devonshire Square, EC2, after agreeing a 191,000 sq ft pre-let with Oxford Properties and British Land. The financial giant will take space at the Leadenhall Building, EC3, which is scheduled to be completed in 2014. The pre-let by Aon represents a third of the available City offices in the skyscraper.

The debt structure of the building means progress still has to be made on the financial side, which could be hindering the formal completion of the deal. Aon currently accounts for around 45 per cent of the rent for Devonshire Square, something Blackstone will no doubt be keeping in mind to ensure the asset is profitable.

When the Leadenhall Building pre-let was announced in November, Aon chief executive officer Robert Brown said: "The Aon Centre at the Leadenhall Building places us at the heart of the City's insurance sector and the building's impressive location and offices reflect our standing as the leading global professional services firm focused on risk and human capital management. The UK, and indeed London, [remains] an integral part of Aon Corp's strategy."

Aon will take up space on the lower ten levels of the 47-storey skyscraper, with the option to add an extra 85,000 sq ft of City offices across floors 14 to 18 if it needs to further down the line.

Posted by Emma Davies

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