Sol Zakay

About Sol Zakay

Once described by Property Week as the man behind the deal of the decade, Sol Zakay is one of the most successful businessmen in the property industry, having been involved in deals worth many billions of pounds.

Sol worked with his brother to create the Topland Group during the property book of the early 1990s, involved in some landmark deals that ultimately led to the brothers appearing in the Sunday Times Rich list at number 51 with an estimated wealth of £3.4Bn.

Sol has been credited by many as a pioneer of the ‘sale and leaseback’ style transaction that the company has used so successfully. In a rare interview with The Times newspaper in 2008, he described how he established his family’s fortune through judicious property investments over two decades. The Times themselves credit him with the ‘sophisticated property finance structure’ that helped make Topland the successful business it is today.

Recent Successes

Some of the most notable successes for the company using the ‘sale and leaseback’ mechanism include the 2001 purchase of 76 M&S stores and the 2008 transaction to buy 12 hypermarkets from Eroski.

The purchase of the M&S stores for £348M is seen as a landmark deal in the industry and was described by property week as the deal of the decade. Meanwhile, the £289M paid for the Eroski hypermarkets was the biggest deal of its type in Spanish history.

The Eroski deal came 4 years after another, much bigger deal with the British supermarket giant Tesco, where Topland purchased 33 stores for £650M as part of a joint venture that ensured Tesco paid rent on the stores on a long-term lease. Topland eventually sold their 50% stake in the venture for a huge profit, completing a £1Bn sale in 2007.

2020 saw another groundbreaking deal that has seen Topland and Beltane Asset Management gain planning permission to redevelop 150 Aldersgate Street in London, which will bring 60,000 sq ft of office space to the area, alongside adding great urban greening benefits.

Supporting Communities

It isn’t all about work for Sol, who is a passionate supporter of Jewish Care, including hosting the Jewish Care Business lunch for the last 13 years, with 2022 alone raising £440,000 to support the Jewish community across London and the South East.