Blackstone eyes €400m purchase of stake in Facebook’s Dublin 4 HQ

US investor in ‘pole position’ for four blocks at social media giant’s Ballsbridge campus

Blackstone is said to be in pole position to acquire a substantial part of Facebook's new European headquarters in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

The US private equity giant's offer of about €400 million is understood to have prevailed in the face of intense competition from a range of parties including Tishman Speyer and Deka Immobilien. It also comfortably exceeds the guide price of €395 million set when the investment was brought to the market last September.

Should the deal be completed, it would see Blackstone secure ownership of four buildings comprising 31,536sq m (339,456sq ft) of office space within the wider 83,612.7sq m (900,000sq ft) Facebook campus which is in the process of being delivered on the former AIB Bankcentre site.

The sale is being conducted on behalf of the Serpentine consortium, a syndicate of private individuals and companies assembled by AIB Private Banking and Goodbody Stockbrokers. Efforts by The Irish Times to contact the selling agent, Cushman & Wakefield, for comment were unsuccessful.

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Second-largest campus

Facebook's Ballsbridge campus is poised to become Facebook's second-largest campus globally, outsized only by its global headquarters at Menlo Park in California. More than 60 Facebook teams will eventually be located in Ballsbridge. It will also be home to staff working for its subsidiary applications, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger, and its Oculus virtual reality unit.

The highest-profile element of the campus will face on to Merrion Road and is being developed by Johnny Ronan's Ronan Group Real Estate. Fibonacci Square, as it will be known, is expected to comprise 34,838sq m (375,000sq ft) and has been fully let to Facebook on a 25-year lease commencing in 2022. The four blocks being sold by the Serpentine consortium meanwhile are also fully let to Facebook and offer a weighted average unexpired lease term of more than 15 years. The leases are held on full repairing and insuring terms and benefit from five-yearly upward-only open market rent reviews, the next of which is due in October 2022.

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan is Acting Property Editor of The Irish Times