MerchantBridge, a Middle east private equity group, is in
advanced talks with Battersea Power Station owner Parkview
International to take a substantial stake in the £2bn scheme.
MerchantBridge is the latest in a long line of investors to have courted Victor Hwang’s Parkview.
insiders say talks with MerchantBridge have progressed over the last
two months, that the group is now in due diligence and heads of terms
are to be agreed in the next two weeks.
Set up in 1997 as
Safron, Sloane Street-based MerchantBridge describes itself as ‘the
first private equity fund to focus on the Middle East’. It has offices
in Riyadh, Dubai and Baghdad, and a holding company in Luxembourg.
describes ‘direct investment and real estate’ as being among its core
activities, along with corporate and project finance and capital
raising and privatisation.
Ian Rumgay, communications director,
would not confirm or deny whom Parkview is in talks with, but said: ‘We
are well advanced with one party and there are six parties that we have
been talking to.’
MerchantBridge finance director Paul Ainscough also declined to comment.
Week understands that a MerchantBridge-assembled consortium is in talks
to take a stake of up to 50% in the Power Station project. The site’s
value ranges from £150m to £500m, according to different experts.
If a deal is reached, work on a first residential element, the west hotel and parts of the retail would start early next year.
would also end a period of turmoil. On Monday this week Hwang confirmed
his family had taken control of the scheme and removed its management
As Property Week revealed (news, 28.07.06), chief executive
Michael Roberts and chief financial officer Michael Russell have left
Parkview and the Hwang family has assumed direct control. Roberts,
Russell and Swinney would not comment.
This week Parkview
president and executive director Hwang announced that his son, Leo, has
become vice-president and daughter, Vicky, is director of leasing. He
also appointed former Chelsfield, Land Securities and Bovis director John Anderson, who had been at Parkview on a consultant basis, as development director.
Parkview found itself in a catch-22 situation when it could not secure funding.
It had lined up backing from Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays for the redevelopment. But the banks would only commit more money if tenants signed up to the scheme.
While Parkview agreed head of terms with up to 20 retailers, none would sign without a guaranteed opening date.