Qatar wealth fund buys 9.9% stake in Empire State Building owner

Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund of the Middle Eastern country, bought a 9.9 percent interest in Empire State Realty Trust, owner of New York’s Empire State Building. The fund purchased 29.6 million newly issued Class A common shares at $21 each, and will have a 9.9 percent economic and voting interest in the real estate investment trust. The acquisition translates into a new $622 million investment in Empire State Realty, the company said in a statement Tuesday. The investment will help Empire State Realty “plan for the future, now with more capital and one of the most sophisticated and reliable real estate investors in the world as our partner,” John Kessler, the company’s president, said in the statement. Empire State Realty didn’t say how it will deploy the money raised. Chief Financial Officer David Karp said in the statement that the company recently expanded its revolving credit line to $1.1 billion. Those funds, combined with Qatar’s infusion, will enhance the company’s “ability to drive long-term value” for shareholders, he said. Empire State Realty Trust has been a publicly traded REIT since October 2013, following two years during which Empire State Building supervisors Peter Malkin and his son Anthony battled with some of the tower’s longtime investors over whether going public was in their interests. Shares closed today at $20.52, up 14 percent this year. The company owns 10.1 million square feet (938,000 square meters) of office and retail properties, mostly in Manhattan, with the rest in New York’s northern suburbs. Last October, Qatar Investment Authority and Brookfield Property Partners LP formed a joint venture on Manhattan West, an $8.6 billion mixed-use project on New York’s far west side. Bloomberg

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