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LONDON-BP has bought the freehold of No 1 St James’s Square, in London’s West End, from Ericsson. It plans to move its global corporate headquarters there from its current location at Britannic House, Finsbury Circus in the City in the spring of next year.

The Swedish telecommunications group has occupied the 100,000-sf building as its European regional centre since the building underwent major refurbishment by NatWest Group Properties in 1998. Neither party would reveal the terms of the deal but it has been structured through the purchase of the shares in Ericsson Property, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ericsson. This means that BP can avoid stamp duty on the purchase, saving BP as much as £4 million ($5.8 million) on the price which is likely to approach £100 million ($147 million).

For BP the acquisition marks the end of a three-year search for new headquarters to replace Britannic House in Finsbury Circus, where it has been based since 1991. Following its merger with Amoco in 1998, BP has tripled in size. It will retain Britannic House, but the move will allow it shed several other buildings in Ropemaker Street and Old Broad Street, which it has used as overflow space.

‘After a long review of nearly 40 offices for rent or purchase in the London area, we have found a quality building in a prime location which provides the level and configuration of space we need,’ said Richard Paver, General Manager of Property Services at BP. ‘It also lets us rationalise our office use in the Moorgate area where we’ve had to take ad hoc space in scattered locations in the last few years.’

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