DWS HQ U-turn puts £100m deal in doubt

A u-turn by Denton Wilde Sapte management may have scotched a £100m deal for its City headquarters.

Standard Life was set to acquire Dentons’ London offices for £100m until the firm re-entered negotiations with landlord British Land to discuss incentives to forgo an early break-clause in the firm’s lease.

The firm had previously rejected the property investment company’s offer to buy back the option to break its lease on 1 Fleet Place in 2009. It had gone so far as to begin a search for a new 150,000-200,000sq ft headquarters, and place its two other buildings – 5 Chancery Lane and 122-126 Chancery Lane – on the market.

The change of heart could scupper British Land’s proposed sale of 1 Fleet Place to Standard Life as Dentons’ decision to honour the full lease would push the property’s value up past Standard’s proposed purchase price.

According to property publication Estates Gazette, a closed-ended German fund will be prepared to buy 1 Fleet Place instead if Dentons committed to stay until its lease expiry in 2018.

The about-turn is not, however, expected to impact on Charles Russell‘s anticipated move to Dentons’ 85,000sq ft premises at 5 Chancery Lane.

Charles Russell, which has two break clauses in the lease for its current premises on New Fetter Lane in 2006 and 2009, confirmed that it had looked at 5 Chancery Lane, but to date had not agreed a deal on new premises.