04 August 2003 – Financial Times
The billionaire Reuben brothers, two of the UK’s wealthiest private investors, have taken an equity stake in one of Tom Hunter’s investments, signalling their intention to work much more closely with the Scottish entrepreneur.
Simon and David Reuben, who were born in India, have joined Mr Hunter’s consortium that has bought a portfolio of six shopping centres from REIT Asset Management for £310m in one of the biggest property transactions so far this year.
The brothers will take a portion of the equity in the deal through the original joint venture between Catalyst Capital, the pan-European real estate investment and asset management group; Bank of Scotland; and West Coast Capital, which Mr Hunter launched in March 2001.
This is the second time in less than three months the Reubens have linked with Mr Hunter. In June, the brothers became late-stage backers for Mr Hunter’s bid for Selfridges, the upmarket department store, but lost the bid to Galen Weston, the Canadian billionaire.
Mr Hunter said the tie-up with the Reubens underscored the relationship established at the time of the Selfridges tussle. “We will explore further opportunities to partner with them in the retail and property sectors.”
The acquisition from REIT takes West Coast Capital’s investments to £1.5bn since its launch.
The majority of the sites, which cover 1.5m sq ft, are retail properties and include the Rivergate Centre in Irvine, the Strand in Bootle, Sunbury Cross in Sunbury, Saddlers Centre in Walsall and The Spindles and Town Square in Oldham. Sunbury also houses a 12-storey office development.
Notoriously secretive, the Reuben brothers stepped into the spotlight in April when they launched a website, partly to gain recognition as mainstream business players.
Raised in India by their Iraqi mother, the brothers made most of their fortune in Russia where they succeeding in building up a highly profitable metals and real estate business.
Both brothers are British citizens, but David lives principally in London while Simon spends most of his time in Monaco.