Skanska to invest in Business Link
Biggest investment by a global corporation in a Polish start-up with a plan to expand into CEE countries.
Business Link and Skanska will co-create in Central-Eastern Europe (CEE) an innovative ecosystem for start-up companies, small and medium enterprises, and companies from the business services sector. The developer has decided to invest in Business Link – the largest network of co-working space and private offices in Poland. With Business Link’s planned international expansion, the company will become the biggest network of its kind in Europe and second in the world. As a result, Skanska will be in a position to create the most comprehensive commercial office proposition for a wide range of businesses on the CEE market.
Over the next few years, Business Link will create approximately 12 new locations in CEE, totaling approximately
45,000-50,000 sqm. The investment of up to EUR 10 mln will be spread over time and will depend on fulfilling previously mutually agreed business goals. This is an investment in a stable and reliable company which thanks to the partnership with Skanska has the chance to become a giant on the international market.
“This is a strategic move from Skanska in terms of building our business proposition in the CEE region,” said Claes Larsson, Executive Vice President at Skanska Group, responsible for commercial development business globally. “As the biggest building and developer company in this part of Europe, we take into account all the dynamic changes in the real estate market and do our best to promptly respond to the latest trends. Business Link’s offer is the perfect answer to a growing need for flexible space in corporate portfolios that we observe in our key client’s real estate strategies, especially from the business services sector.”
Skanska and Business Link’s cooperation is an example of a sustainable approach to business. The developer, as an equal partner, is not taking over the start-up company but investing in its development.
“This is the first significant involvement of an international corporation in creating such a start-up environment in Europe,” said Dariusz Żuk, co-founder and CEO at Business Link. “Thanks to this investment, Business Link will strengthen its leading position in Poland and will become the biggest player on the market of modern co-working office space in Europe. Moreover, as a result of the expansion planned in Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary, we have the chance to become number two on the global market. This provides us with even greater possibilities to contribute to the development of entrepreneurship in Poland and the CEE region.”
Skanska and Business Link’s partnership adds the most up-to-date model to the developer’s office space commercialization proposition – a solution highly in demand especially among start-up communities as well as small and medium sized enterprises.
“This is the first fully comprehensive offer of this kind, on this magnitude on the CEE market.”
“We are diversifying our real estate portfolio, adding new flexible and creative office space that is accessible 24/7, and can be leased ‘on demand’ with a ramp-up, and mentoring package if needed,” said Katarzyna Zawodna, President at Skanska commercial office business in Central and Eastern Europe. “Ultimately, up to 9,000 people will be able to work in office space provided by Business Link in Skanska’s buildings located in Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary. For major players on the BPO/SSC market it might be particularly valuable to have the possibility to lease office space ad hoc, without the necessity of traditional agreement clauses, but with the added bonus of cooperating closely with start-up environments. While for young entrepreneurs it’s a great chance for business development in high-class offices in central city locations. This is the first fully comprehensive offer of this kind, on this magnitude on the CEE market.”
Business Link’s offer has become an inherent part of the global trend dubbed co-working 2.0. This is a unique and complex service comprising an all-in-one office space – creative, innovative, with chill-out zones, functional kitchens, designer spaces for focus, as well as climbing walls and saunas. On the other hand, an essential part of the offer, apart from traditional co-working spaces, is the lease of private offices and conference rooms available 24/7, and advanced acceleration programs for entrepreneurs. So far, amongst the companies that have taken advantage of Business Link’s offer are Uber, Brand24 and Groupon. The large amount of interest in these sort of services reflects
our changing lifestyles, a growing need for flexibility and the trend of co-sharing such as sharing cars or workplaces and the popularity of co-living approach. The concept of Business Link’s offices suits Skanska’s office philosophy – certified A-class office space located in central parts of the largest cities of the CEE region. These are prestigious places for business, chosen by top employers who deem comfort at work, flexibility of office space and the investment’s green surroundings as extremely important. Skanska’s newest investments are built with full accessibility in mind, for people with disabilities, parents with young children and the elderly. Resultant from the partnership between Skanska and Business Link is a unique ecosystem of innovative space that allows for development of various business models. Creation of such a complex service was of paramount importance for both companies.
Skanska ultimately will acquire up to 50 percent of Business Link’s shares and will become the majority shareholder of the company. The venture will be managed by a newly established company. The first Business Link offices in Skanska’s buildings will be open later this year. In the transaction, Business Link was advised by RSQ Associates, while PWC and Linklaters acted jointly as advisors for Skanska. The transaction will be finalized upon obtaining permission from the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (Urząd Ochrony Konkurencji i Konsumentów – UOKiK).
Press release by Skanska.