It’s been a week for the traditional corporate bluebloods to shine in real estate-related work, with Macfarlanes, Slaughter and May and German royalty Hengeler Mueller individually winning significant transactions.
Macfarlanes secured a key role advising CBRE Britannica on the sale of its shopping centre portfolio for £250m to US investor Kennedy Wilson, advised by Herbert Smith Freehills.
The firm directly advised Malcolm Shierson and Daniel Smith of Grant Thornton – who were appointed as administrators when CBRE Retail Property Fund became insolvent – as well as ING, Deutsche Hypothekenbank and Hypothekenbank Frankfurt, the lenders to the shopping centre fund.
The team, led by partners Jat Bains and Dominic Cunliffe, the firm first acted for ING over the financing of the Britannica retail property investment fund in 2004, having been called to advise the lenders when it fell into covenant breach. Once Britannica went into administration, the firm was further called upon by the administrators to assist with the sale of the property portfolio.
The Herbert Smith team for Kennedy Wilson comprised real estate partners James Barnes and Jeremy Walden, finance partner Simon Chadney and tax partner Will Arrenberg.
Macfarlanes real estate partner Cunliffe said: ‘The asset sale required a phenomenal effort from our team, particularly given the vast amount of information which had to be pulled together and disseminated in a very short space of time as part of the due diligence process. Given the constant threat of further tenant insolvencies potentially disrupting the sale process, we had to move quickly. We are pleased to have met the challenges presented by this particular transaction.’
The 312-lawyer firm has made efforts to boost its commercial real estate practice of late, recently hiring Ashurst’s head of construction Ann Minogue, who moved after 20 years at the top 15 rival firm, as well as commercial real estate partner Clare Breeze, who joined from Shearman & Sterling in June.
Herbert Smith Freehills, meanwhile, has also added the UK’s largest supplier to the building and construction market, Travis Perkins, as a client and was recently instructed on the sale and leaseback of its new 630,000 square foot regional distribution centre located at the Omega North in Warrington, Cheshire from Standard Life Investments Long Lease Property Fund in a deal worth £52.8m.
The team was led by real estate partner Shelagh McKibbin alongside Arrenberg.
Slaughter and May advised Legal & General Property on its £200m purchase of a City of London office and retail building of over 200,000 square feet, structured through the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of the undisclosed holding company of the property-owning vehicle. The team was led by a four-partner team including Jane Edwarde, Robert Chaplin, Jeanette Zaman and Marc Hutchinson specialised in real estate, corporate, tax and finance respectively.
Finally, in a market-leading corporate deal in the German real estate market, Hengeler Mueller is advising Berlin’s largest residential landlord by market value, GSW Immobilien, over rival Deutsche Wohnen’s public tender offer of €1.75bn to acquire the company.
Deutsche Wohnen is being advised by Sullivan & Cromwell’s Frankfurt office, with a team comprising partners Carsten Berrar, York Schnorbus, Konstantin Technau and Krystian Czerniecki.
The Hengeler Mueller team includes partners Maximilian Schiessl (corporate), Dirk Busch (capital markets), Christof Jackle (M&A), Gerd Krieger (corporate), and Christoph Stadler (antitrust) from the firm’s Duesseldorf and Frankfurt offices.
In another impressive win under Schiessl’s leadership, the German firm also scored a significant role this summer when it was appointed to advise Kabel Deutschland over Vodafone’s acquisition of the company, which offered Kabel shareholders €87 per share in cash.