KPMG property revamp put on ice

A high court judgement has forced KPMG to put plans to restructure its
property portfolio on hold.

The Big Four firm wanted to leave its Puddle Dock building by 2007 in an
overhaul of the five offices in its London property portfolio.

The firm pays £4.75m per year to occupy the site, where it has been located
since 1985.

But Puddle Dock landlord, Network Rail Infrastructure, challenged KPMG’s
claim that the lease offered break clauses allowing it to leave the premises by

The lease was particularly complicated, as it was structured to save KPMG –
at the time still known as Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co – stamp duty tax.

It was also structured to accommodate the joint ownership of the freehold by
Network Rail – then the British Railways Board – and Cambridge’s King’s College.

Justice Blackmore heard the case and found in favour of Network Rail, leaving
KPMG stuck in the property and unable pursue its plans.

The Big Four firm would not comment on the judgement, but would not rule out
appealing the decision.

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