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£1.1bn of student digs: Nabarro, Clifford Chance and Morgan Lewis take lead on Liberty Living acquisition

Nabarro and Clifford Chance have picked up a major real estate instruction advising on the £1.1bn acquisition of UK student accommodation provider Liberty Living by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB).

One of the UK’s largest student accommodation providers with over 40 residences located in 17 of university towns and cities, the deal saw CPPIB acquire 100% of the Liberty Living management platform and Liberty Living Management Two from the Brandeaux Student Accommodation Fund to create a single integrated company.

Nabarro advised CPPIB with a cross-practice area team including funds and indirect real estate partner Amanda Howard alongside partner Christopher Luck, real estate partner Nick Collins, banking & finance partner Mike Delaney, tax partner Kirsten Prichard Jones, intellectual property partner Louise Gellman, employment partner Richard Brown and pensions partner Anne Marie-Winton.

Magic Circle firm Clifford Chance advised the Brandeaux Student Accommodation Fund with a team including partners Adrian Levy, Imogen Clark, Catherine Cook and David Saleh. London partner Iain Wright, with support from partner Kate Habershon, led for Morgan Lewis & Bockius which advised the owner of Liberty Living Management Two.

Commenting on the acquisition, Nabarro partner Amanda Howard said: ‘The student accommodation sector is now a key part of many global investment portfolios. The number of overseas students coming to study in Britain has triggered exponential growth. We are always excited to work on deals of this scale and complexity for international investors. CPPIB is perfectly placed to develop the Liberty Living brand.’

Other major instructions handled by Nabarro include partner Marie Scott advising Google on the £1bn acquisition and development of a site at Argent’s King’s Cross estate in 2013 for the development of its new UK headquarters, which includes around one million square feet of office space.

Clifford Chance also recently landed a leading role on the acquisition by Legal & General Property of Bishopsgate Long Term Property Fund Unit Trust and its 24-strong portfolio of commercial properties for £370m, on which it advised Dutch fund pension fund manager PGGM which partnered with Legal & General.

For more on real estate activity, see Back in the game – revival at last for real estate but the players have changed