Snapchat ups its presence in London with international hub

Snapchat is set to almost triple its current presence in London having agreed terms to occupy 20,000 sq ft of space in Shaftesbury Avenue.The Silicon Valley firm’s new UK arm, Snap Group, has signed a deal at 77 Shaftesbury Avenue in London’s Soho, taking two floors at the Dolford Property Holdings-owned scheme, making the UK its main hub outside the US.It has signed a 10-year lease on the space, paying a rent of just under £80/sq ft.Only last year Snapchat, which is preparing for a $25bn (£21bn) stock market float, opened its first office in London at the nearby 7-11 Lexington Street, where it occupies just under 13,000 sq ft. Since then its staff numbers have grown from just six to 75 in the UK.Snap Group will buck the trend of other top US tech companies, such as Google, Facebook, Apple and Twitter, and book revenue made from advertising sales and pay corporation tax in the UK.‘Good local partner’A spokesman said: “[We have made] a change to the way we operate our business in London. Going forward, we will bill our advertising revenue from the UK [and a few other countries] through a UK entity. This allows us to pay taxes in the UK, which we believe is part of being a good local partner as we grow our business.“We want to pay taxes in the countries where we sell advertising, and this is an important step in building the infrastructure to achieve that goal.”Snap Group will join Bank of East Asia, which occupies around 21,000 sq ft, and financial adviser Quayle Munro in the building.Dolford Property Holdings acquired 77 Shaftesbury Avenue from Swedish Life Insurance firm Gamla for £37.9m in 2010.It has since carried out a £13m refurbishment, adding an extra floor and bringing its lettable office space to just under 60,000 sq ft.The deal follows a string of tech lettings in London in recent months. Online travel company Expedia has signed for an extra 154,000 sq ft of space in Clerkenwell, taking on Cancer Research UK’s and Sage’s leases at the Angel Building.