Meta pays £149 million to break London lease

The Facebook owner rented 1 Triton Square from 2021 after a refurbishment, but never moved in

Triton Square, London. Getty Images
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The owner of social media platform Facebook has paid £149 million ($181.1 million) to break the lease on one of its London offices as it continues to slash costs.

Meta, which also owns Instagram, rented 1 Triton Square in 2021 from the developer British Land after a refurbishment, but never moved in.

It paid the FTSE 250 property company on Monday to be released from the contract, which analysts at BNP Paribas Exane said has another 18 years to run.

Meta has three operating London sites, including a neighbouring building in Regent's Place, near Warren Street in central London.

The move comes as Mark Zuckerberg slashes thousands of jobs and seeks to reduce the company's real estate footprint as part of a significant cost-cutting programme.

British Land said it will receive the one-off payment to end the lease but the agreement will also reduce its earnings per share by 0.6 per cent over the six months to next March.

However, the firm held its earnings guidance for the year due to a boost from stronger-than-expected collections of rent owed from the pandemic.

On Tuesday, British Land also told shareholders that it has seen "strong leasing activity" in recent months that strengthened its balance sheet.

Simon Carter, chief executive of British Land, said: "I am pleased with the continued momentum in the business.

"Operationally we are seeing strong leasing activity which reflects the exceptional quality of our portfolio and has resulted in our recent upgrade of the expected ERV (estimated rental value) growth in retail parks.

"We have also strengthened our balance sheet in the period and continue to actively recycle capital with the disposal of non-core assets ahead of book value."

Updated: September 27, 2023, 8:54 AM