IQON Capital (“IQON”), the newly established London-based real estate company focused on innovation and sustainability has closed the acquisition of The Connection business campus for Aljazira Capital, with Oval Real Estate (“Oval”) acting as Asset and Development Manager.
Located in Newbury, Berkshire, the campus comprises seven office properties which have served as Vodafone’s UK headquarters since its construction in the early 2000s. The seven properties have a net internal area of 486,810 sqft (45,226 sqm) and are set on 38 acres (15 hectares) of landscaped grounds.
Vodafone sold The Connection as part of a sale-leaseback transaction whereby it will continue to lease four properties for its UK headquarters for the long term. Since 2022, Vodafone has implemented a new blended working model for its 10,000 UK employees which includes a combination of home, site and field-based working, shifting the company’s traditional office space to become hubs for co-workers to interact in person.
The remaining three properties will be comprehensively refurbished into newly re-designed and highly sustainable workplaces which will contribute to transform The Connection into a world-class business and innovation campus.
IQON was founded by Giovanni Gregoratti (former CEO of Aegila Capital Management) and Carlo Ratti (founder of design and innovation firm CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati, and Director of the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) with the objective to combine the vision and expertise of the two founders in the fields of investments, design, technology and engineering and create a new real estate investment platform that brings innovation and sustainability at the core of the investment process.
Oval was founded ten years ago by Nick Prior and James Craig and has been investing and developing workspace in the UK ever since. It has an agile team based across offices in London, Birmingham and Manchester. Oval is focused on tenant experience and leaving buildings and neighbourhoods better than it found them.
Vodafone was advised on the transaction by Colliers, with Chris Lewis, Head of Office Investment and Rob Campkin, Head of Corporate Capital Solutions, whilst Osborne Clarke acted as legal advisors.
Addleshaw Goddard acted as legal advisers of the purchaser, while JLL acted as Debt Brokers and Savills as Technical Due Diligence Advisor in the transaction.