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UK government sells London project stake for US$531 million

[LONDON] The UK is cashing out of some of its London property as the state chips away at its debt.

The government agreed to sell its 36.5 per cent stake in the 67-acre King's Cross project to AustralianSuper, the largest pension fund in Australia, for 371 million pounds (US$531 million), according to statements by the Treasury and broker Savills Plc on Friday.

AustralianSuper is increasing its holding in the project after acquiring 25 per cent of it last year. King's Cross, a former red-light district, has been transformed by new offices spaces, homes and stores and Google Inc. plans to construct its London headquarters there.

The UK government and Deutsche Post AG's DHL parcel service said in August they would sell a combined 42.5 per cent stake in the King's Cross Central development in London. Europe's largest city-center development project will have 5.8 million square feet (540,000 square meters) of space across 50 buildings near the King's Cross and St. Pancras railway stations, Savills said at the time.