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London site of celebrity weddings sweeps insurer unit off its feet

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The real estate investment market in London has been jittery ahead of this month's referendum on whether the United Kingdom should leave the European Union.

But Axa Investment Managers Real Assets, a unit of Paris-based insurer Axa S.A., has taken a punt and splashed out on a historic office building for a cool £80 million ($117.0 million) on behalf of one of its funds.

The 57,000-square-foot Asticus building originally was built in 1878 as Westminster Town Hall, and during that incarnation played host to A-list weddings of Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Collins, among others, according to the London Evening Standard.

Huw Stephens, U.K. head of transactions at Axa IM Real assets, said the purchase reflected the company's “confidence in London's long-term attraction as a leading business center,” the Standard reported.