Amsprop Estates, the property business owned by Lord Sugar, is selling 42,000 square feet of offices in the heart of the Square Mile to one of London’s newest flexible workspace firms.
The private landlord, run by the businessman’s son Daniel, is in advanced talks to sell the space to US private equity firm Carlyle for around £43 million, according to the Evening Standard.
The space is at the Crosspoint development on the corner of Liverpool Street and Bishopsgate. Amsprop recently redeveloped the building and will keep the retail space.
Carlyle will use the property for its new serviced offices brand, Uncommon, which it launched last year. It said at the time it would invest £150 million to start with, and has already opened in Borough and Fulham.
It joins rivals such as WeWork and London Executive Offices which are expanding in London to capitalise on demand for shorter leases.
There are also a number of start-ups seeking space for only a couple of desks.
Lord Sugar, the star of The Apprentice, is worth around £1.25 billion, making him nearly four times richer than the Queen, but only a quarter as wealthy as another of Britain’s most famous entrepreneurs, Sir Richard Branson.
The technology entrepreneur, of Amstrad fame, actually makes most of his money from property. Amsprop Estates is his biggest cash cow, despite having seen profits slump from £133.9 million in 2015 to £80.2 million in 2016. Lord Sugar took home a record dividend of £181 million in 2016, according to a Companies House filing reported by the Telegraph.
Amshold, the overall holding company of Lord Sugar’s, has a property portfolio that includes The Lever Building near Barbican, which is let out to Tesco, and Gloucester House on Old Park Lane, home to a branch of the Hard Rock Cafe.
2014’s Apprentice winner Mark Wright said in 2015 that “Lord Sugar said you make money from property and do business for fun,” according to the Telegraph.
Amstrad made goods like cigarette lighters and hi-fis. Its most famous product was the e-m@ailer, which turned out to be a flop.
The company was worth more than £1 billion in the 1980s but was sold for just £125 million in 2007.
DealMakerz thinks the latest deal not only shows how businessmen are increasingly turning to property to make their fortunes, but also demonstrates the popularity of flexible workspace in the capital.
The most well-known co-working group, WeWork, which is based in New York and valued at $20 billion, has been on a property acquisition spree this year, recently joining up with two investors to buy a 13-building campus in the city.
The company has made London a key part of its growth strategy, having become the largest occupier of office space in the capital last year, after the government.
Figures from Cushman & Wakefield show Central London saw 2.5 million sq ft leased to flexible workspace providers in 2017 – a 190% increase on the year before and comprising more than 21% of all commercial office leases in the capital.