While the news continues to be dominated by concerns about Meta’s plans to implement large-scale cuts to its global workforce and the impact this may have on its Irish operations, the family firm of Zara founder Amancio Ortega remains on course to acquire Fibonacci Square, the 34,838sq m (375,000sq ft) office space Johnny Ronan’s RGRE is developing as part of the US-headquartered tech giant’s new European headquarters in Ballsbridge.
The Irish Times understands that contracts for the deal are due to be exchanged next Wednesday between the scheme’s owners, Fortress, and the Spanish billionaire’s firm, Pontegadea. The much-anticipated transaction comes as the Dublin 4 offices near completion. And while the current uncertainty surrounding the near- to medium-term prospects for Meta and the wider technology sector might have been expected to impact on the figure Ortega is prepared to pay, it is understood that the €550 million valuation ascribed to the scheme in the early stages of negotiations for its sale remains in place.
Should the deal proceed as expected, Ortega’s family office will begin collecting rental income of €22.6 million from Meta in 2024 following the expiry of an agreed rent-free period of about 18 months. The company, known formerly as Facebook, signed a 25-year lease with Fibonacci Property ICAV, a joint venture between RGRE and its then funding partners Colony Capital, for Fibonacci Square in 2018. While the agreement contains a break option in year 15, it is unlikely Meta will avail of this given its longer-term goal of locating and maintaining its European headquarter operations within a single campus.
The expected sale of Fibonacci Square comes just over 10 months on from US investor Blackstone’s €395 million purchase of 31,536sq m (339,456sq ft) of office space across the four existing blocks occupied by Meta to the rear of its new European headquarter campus. Previously a part of AIB’s former Bankcentre headquarters, the four blocks had been owned by the Serpentine consortium, a syndicate of private individuals and companies assembled by AIB Private Banking and Goodbody Stockbrokers.
The four blocks are fully let to Facebook and offer a weighted average unexpired lease term of over 15 years. The leases are held on full repairing and insuring terms and benefit from five-yearly upward-only open market rent reviews, the first of which fell due in recent weeks.