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Baker & McKenzie takes lead role on £650m Gherkin receivership

Global 100 firm Baker & McKenzie has secured a heavyweight real estate mandate advising on the receivership of London’s iconic building, the Gherkin, valued at around £650m and which has been put up for sale after collapsing into receivership earlier this year.

As one of London’s most distinctive and recognisable landmarks, the 40-storey City of London skyscraper is expected to be purchased by a foreign buyer. Located at St Mary Axe in the City’s primary financial district, the building was placed into receivership in April after one of its owners was placed in insolvency, with big four giant Deloitte appointed as a receiver.

The Bakers team, led by London-based partner and global co-head of financial restructuring & insolvency Ian Jack, is acting for the facility agent for the senior lender syndicate and its receivers Deloitte. The syndicate comprises five banks and is led by Bayerische Landesbank. Other Bakers lawyers involved include London-based restructuring partner Louise Webb as well as teams from the firm’s German and Luxembourg offices.

Bakers’ Jack said: ‘In addition to being one of UK’s best loved buildings, this is currently one of the largest matters in the London real estate market. For those reasons how the receivership progresses is going to be of interest to a lot of people.’

Designed by English architect Lord Foster and opened in 2004, the Gherkin is one of the most well-known buildings in the world. It was purchased by German real estate company IVG Immobilien and investment banking company Evans Randall from Swiss Re for £630m in 2006 but has struggled with debt issues in recent years. That deal saw CMS Cameron McKenna advise IVG on the 50/50 joint venture, which constituted the largest ever UK property transaction for a single office building, while Linklaters advised Swiss Re, and SJ Berwin advised Evans Randall.

The Gherkin is currently home to law firms including US firms Kirkland & Ellis and Hunton & Williams.