Sunday Times – 14th October 2018
The billionaire brothers David and Simon Reuben are bidding for Santander’s €3bn (£2.6bn) headquarters in Madrid, which is being sold following years of legal wrangling between property speculators.
The Reubens, who were ranked fourth in this year’s Sunday Times Rich List with
a fortune of £15bn, are competing against the bank itself, which wants to buy back the costly lease, and the private equity firm AGC Equity Partners.
Santander’s headquarters, a sprawling campus with a championship golf course and an olive grove, was sold for €1.9bn the day after Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008 to Glenn Maud, a former lawyer from Sheffield, and Derek Quinlan, a former tax inspector from Dublin.
It was financed at a loan-to-value ratio of 98% and fell into negative equity when the market turned down.
The deal-maker Robert Tchenguiz launched an assault in 2010, buying a slice of debt with backing from Abu Dhabi in an attempt to prise ownership away from Maud and Quinlan, prompting a legal battle. The company that owned the property went bust in 2015.
The Reubens, who were born in India and made more than £1bn trading aluminium in Russia, are understood to have made it through the first round of bidding. The Santander building is valued at between €2.5bn and €3bn.