Capital One is buying up a majority stake in the country’s largest property developer Gld (which owns Gld’s UK real-estate division), which is expected to boost its UK operations by as much as £1bn, according to people familiar with the matter.
The deal is the latest sign that the UK’s economy is heading for a difficult period.
The Bank of England, which is considering a range of stimulus measures to help boost the economy, has said that there is “little doubt” that the government will need to raise interest rates, with the possibility of a negative rate, if it is to avoid another recession.
The sale is the biggest corporate acquisition in Britain since the takeover of Gld in 2014.
The firm, which has a portfolio of over 1,000 properties across the UK, has been a key player in the UK real property market, which rose from £7.2bn in 2006 to £18.9bn in 2020.
It is one of the UKs biggest property developers and has been widely criticised for its high-priced real estate policies, particularly in London.
In recent months, the company has been accused of making decisions that have pushed up prices, including its purchase of the entire West Midlands in 2014, which increased the prices of properties in the region from £300,000 to £600,000.
The buyout comes amid concerns that the global economic downturn has hit the UK hard, particularly among younger Britons.
In its 2017-2023 economic outlook, the Bank of International Settlements said it expects to see a drop in real estate investment, and warned that the number of people with a mortgage in the first quarter of 2021 will drop from 14.3 million to 8.7 million.
The bank also warned that “in the near term, the UK housing market may become less accessible for those who want to purchase a home”.
The Gld Group’s board has said the company is “very pleased” to be acquired by Capital One.
The board of the Gld group is chaired by the chairman, Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of Virgin Group, who was instrumental in the deal.
Mr Branson is one the few people in the world to own 50% of the company.
Mr Cameron, who has said he would like to see the country move from the “salt and pepper” approach to “tougher, more robust, more ambitious” economic policy, is due to visit Gld headquarters in Milton Keynes on Monday.