Stock markets have retreated again over worries of further US interest rate rises after the Federal Reserve defied Donald Trump to increase rates for the fourth time this year.

The EU has confirmed it is “actively investigating” a potential breach of its diplomatic communications network, following reports that secret cables had been stolen by hackers.

The Bank of England has welcomed a “crucial and positive” move by the EU to help keep a key part of the financial system functioning in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit.

A handful of banks will be forced to write multimillion pound cheques to buy shares in the construction giant Kier Group after some of its biggest investors snubbed the chance to take part in a £250m fundraising.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is to merge its consumer healthcare unit with that of rival Pfizer, to create a new market leader with almost £10bn in annual sales.

 

Santander has been fined more than £30m for “serious failings” in processing the accounts of dead customers, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says.

REAL ESTATE TOP STORIES

Microsoft’s Reading HQ sold in $130 million deal

Microsoft's Reading HQ sold in $130 million deal

The software giant’s campus in Thames Valley Park has been snapped up by London-based real estate investment manager Valesco Group and AIP Asset Management, which is based in Seoul, South Korea

The duo have purchased the massive 246,138 sq ft office, reported the Thames Tap. The investment in the three buildings is backed by a consortium of South Korean institutional investors. Charlie Nicholson, of Vail Williams which is also based at the park, stated that the move highlighted the Wokingham borough-based business park’s value.

He stated: “This is a very positive sign of the underlying strength of regional offices as an asset class.”

“Having such a key tech employer on seven years of remaining lease interest – in spite of rumours that Microsoft were looking at potentially making a move in part towards the town centre – illustrates the value of this park.” He added further.

“Thames Valley Park is a well located, well connected park and has key anchor tenants such as Microsoft, Oracle and OpenText which are engaged in pushing the park forward. The vibrancy of the park has been further enhanced recently with a joined-up approach to tenant amenity and entertainment, with #TVFoodFest, offering a street food market each week, and charity runs and waterside events on the banks of the Thames.” He further elaborated.

“This investment has recently been proven with imminent letting of 410 Thames Valley Park to Sanofi (Pasteur), a multi-national pharmaceutical firm which is consolidating several locations to an HQ office location.”

Microsoft first set its feet in Reading in the 1980s, setting up Vastern Road, where the office is now known as Great Brigham’s Mead, before it moved into the park.

Shiraz Jiwa, chief executive of The Valesco Group, told Costar News: “This acquisition demonstrates our ability to unlock a complex holding structure by acting quickly and having the capital available to deploy.”

“By doing this, we have secured a prime, sought after asset in a strategically important location, which is generating high quality income backed by an exceptional covenant.” He further added.

“We are very pleased to be adding Microsoft to our portfolio of blue-chip tenants.The real estate fundamentals underpinning Reading are increasingly compelling and its entrepreneurial talent pool is very attractive to multinational occupiers.” He concluded.

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