Unizo strikes deal to sell one of its last New York properties

Joint venture of Kaufman and AXA in contract to buy 40 West 25th Street for north of $120M

TRD New York /
Nov.November 06, 2019 04:31 PM
40 West 25th Street and Kaufman Organization's Michael Kazmierski (Credit: Google Maps and Kaufman)

40 West 25th Street and Kaufman Organization’s Michael Kazmierski (Credit: Google Maps and Kaufman)

Japanese investment firm Unizo Holdings, which is at the center of a heated takeover battle back home, has struck a deal to sell one of its two remaining New York City properties.

A joint venture of the Kaufman Organization and the French insurance firm AXA Financial has signed a contract to buy Unizo’s Flatiron District office building at 40 West 25th Street for more than $120 million, sources told The Real Deal.

The contract price works out to more than $880 per square foot for the 12-story, 135,000-square-foot building between Sixth Avenue and Broadway.

A representative for Kaufman Investments — the Kaufman Organization’s investment arm — declined to comment. Representatives for AXA and Unizo did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Tenants in the building include the interactive content creator Ceros and the software company Looker Data Sciences.

Unizo purchased the property for $106.2 million in 2015 in the midst of a $1.3 billion Manhattan buying spree. But last year the company started putting its investments up for sale one by one, even unloading some of them at a loss.

The company hired the CBRE team of Darcy Stacom and Bill Shanahan to market the building for sale in September. The brokers declined to comment.

Unizo has been embroiled in a takeover battle since July, when travel agency HIS made an unsolicited bid to buy the Tokyo-based company at a significant premium. As of late last month, Unizo said it was continuing talks with the Blackstone Group and Fortress Investment Group on a potential takeover.

The saga has been viewed as a test case for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for greater transparency and governance standards on Japan’s corporations.

The final New York property in Unizo’s portfolio is the glass-and-steel office building at 685 Third Avenue, which had an asking price of $500 million when it hit the market in September. CBRE is marketing the property.

Kaufman Investments, led by its president, Michael Kazmierski, sold the leasehold on one of the former Ring Portfolio buildings at 155 West 23rd Street over the summer for $39.5 million.


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