The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has completed yet another major acquisition: London’s Canary Wharf. After many failed attempts, Songbird Estates, which owns 70% of the Canary Wharf Group, caved in for a US$4 billion bid by the QIA. Prior to the bid, Qatar owned 29% of Songbird Estates, and it had to challenge three major shareholders who owned 50%: New York-based investor Simon Glick, Morgan Stanley and the China Investment Corporation. It’s also worth mentioning that Canada’s Brookfield Properties, who were involved with QIA in the acquisition, already owned 22% of the Canary Wharf Group.
Many major banks, firms and other businesses including HSBC, Barclays, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, have their European or world headquarters setup at Canary Wharf. The district is also working on its first residential building, and it’s also gearing up for further expansion. Despite surpassing previous major acquisitions (QIF’s subsidiary Qatar Holdings purchased department store Harrods for $2.3 billion in 2010), could QIA’s investments get bigger than this? There could be a financial institution or two in the now QIA-owned Canary Wharf speculating just that.