J.P. Morgan’s 12-bedroom mansion for sale for $93.5 million

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Business tycoon Mike Jatania is looking to sell a 12-bedroom mansion just west of London, in what would be one of the UK’s biggest ever country house deals.

The Grade I-listed stately home in Denham, Buckinghamshire — a 30-minute drive from central London — will go on sale next week for £75 million ($93.2 million) through Knight Frank, Savills and Beauchamp Estates. The ultimate owner of the property is the family of Jatania, who built a fortune in cosmetics and sold personal-care brand Lornamead to rival Li & Fung Ltd. for almost $200 million a decade ago.

“It’s very unusual to get a stately home of those palatial proportions that’s on par with a royal residence,” said James Crawford, a partner in Knight Frank’s country department. “Since Anglo-Saxon times, up to the current vendors, there have only been seven owners of Denham Place.”

The planned sale comes 23 years after Jatania bought the property from British American Tobacco Plc, which acquired the building as office space after a £5.1 billion takeover of rival cigarette maker Rothmans. The home — which has a James Bond-themed cinema room and cocktail bar — was rented by American banker J. P. Morgan and James Bond co-producer Harry Saltzman.

Jatania is expecting an international buyer to purchase Denham Place, as the weakness in the pound against the dollar lures more global investors to London’s luxury properties — notably from North America and the Middle East

“In central London, the likes of Ken Griffin and other hedge fund managers have bought properties, so I’m sure the Americans will look at it,” said Jatania, who now resides in Monaco and invests in real estate projects such as Regent’s Crescent in London. “There’s also been a lot of wealth created in the Middle East recently, and we know families there have a tradition of owning London homes.” 

Wealthy buyers who are less reliant on debt have helped London’s most expensive homes defy a slowdown in Britain’s housing market, which is facing disruption as it adapts to higher borrowing costs. New sales instructions for homes priced at £5 million or more were 74% higher in the final quarter of 2022 compared with the pre-Covid average, according to data compiled earlier this year by researcher LonRes.

What’s more, 17% of ultra-high-net-worth individuals bought at least one home last year, according to a report by Knight Frank. Residential property is seen as the safest asset class for rich investors, the research shows, ranking above gold and bonds, respectively.  

“Demand for properties of this kind is stronger than it has been for decades,” said Crispin Holborow, joint-head of Savills’ private office. “There has been a widening interest from the world’s wealthiest families for period property in the UK.”

Still, the gap between buyer and seller demands in London is widening. Over half of prospective purchasers looking for a prime property in the capital expected at least a 5% discount in the first three months of the year, compared with 6% in the same quarter of 2022, according to a Savills report published earlier this month.

Property developer Christian Candy sold a luxury estate 20 miles west of London for about £125 million last year, which was reportedly £15 million less than he originally wanted. 

Regardless, Jatania is hoping Denham Place’s history and close proximity to central London will push the price higher than £75 million.

“It wasn’t an easy number to settle on,” Jatania said. “We hope that it’ll have competitive tension and go for more.”

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