Legal Business Blogs

In-house: CMS breaks new Crown Estate ground as Heineken UK and DLA toast another two years

The legal adviser overhaul of £13bn real estate business The Crown Estate by general counsel (GC) Rob Booth continues with CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang picking up a sole legal provider mandate for the estate’s £2.5bn regional retail portfolio. Meanwhile, DLA Piper has won another two years as principal legal adviser to Heineken UK.

CMS’s appointment with The Crown Estate, announced Monday (March 12), covers work including asset management, development, sales and purchases for its regional portfolio, which comprises 14 shopping and retail parks, three shopping centres and one leisure destination. It is the first time the firm has secured a role on the panel.

CMS partners Ciaran Carvalho, John Cumpson, Sarah Meldrum, Marie Scott, Karen Clarke and Marcus Barclay led the pitch on behalf of the firm’s teams in London and Sheffield. Carvalho said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled to have won this significant mandate after a highly competitive pitch. The Crown Estate takes a long-term view of real estate, and we see this as the start of a strong and lasting relationship, extending over the course of this mandate and, we hope, well beyond.’

The Crown Estate is governed by an Act of Parliament and returns all of its profits to Treasury, worth £2.6bn in the last decade. Booth told Legal Business legal spend is worth between £10m and £15m annually. On CMS’ appointment, Booth (pictured) commented: ‘We were impressed with the offering CMS put together. There is a strong sense of innovation and collaboration in the future of our partnership with them.’

Booth’s appointment to GC in May 2016, replacing Vivienne King, was coupled with an announcement the estate would overhaul its sets of legal advisers. Since then, LB 100 firms Hogan Lovells  and Womble Bond Dickinson  were awarded the mandate for the energy, minerals and infrastructure portfolio in February last year, while Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) secured the jewel-in-the-crown £7bn central London property mandate a month earlier.

Elsewhere, a principal legal adviser relationship between DLA Piper and the UK arm of global beer and cider producer Heineken has been extended another two years. DLA was first appointed to the role in 2015 on an initial three-year term, covering property, litigation, IP, corporate and employment law.

DLA IP and technology partner John McKinlay, who is based in Edinburgh and manages the relationship, said the renewal is the best testament to the success of the arrangement. The firm is advising on a broader range of work and has gained a better understanding of Heineken UK through secondees and other investments.

‘That’s the great win-win of these relationships… it’s a very significant account for the firm.’

A key piece of work was advising on Heineken’s £403m acquisition of a portfolio of around 1,900 UK pubs owned by Punch Taverns last summer, which the beer giant bid for alongside Patron Capital.

DLA also has a similar agreement with Merlin Entertainments, following its appointment as primary supplier for global construction as well as UK commercial, property and HR work in January last year.

Last week, listed infrastructure group Balfour Beatty extended and revamped its sole supplier partnership with Pinsent Masons, which also has a single-supplier mandate with energy giant E.ON for a five-year term. Other high-profile sole-supplier deals include Eversheds Sutherland with Tyco and Turkish Airlines.