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Selling the NEC: Eversheds, Wragge Lawrence Graham and Gateley on Birmingham’s £307m deal

Eversheds, Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co, and Gateley have all led on the sale of the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) to Lloyds Banking Group’s private equity arm LDC, one of the biggest ever sales agreed by Birmingham City Council.

Wragge Lawrence Graham and financial adviser Gleacher Shacklock acted for the council on the £307m deal, while Eversheds acted for LDC and Gateley for management. The transaction is for all NEC Group businesses including a 125-year lease for the NEC site and a 25-year leasehold interest in the International Convention Centre and Barclaycard Arena. However, the council is retaining the leases of the Hilton Metropole and Crowne Plaza hotels on the NEC site.

Wragge’s team was led by corporate partner David Vaughan, who advised on all aspects of the sale including the pre-sale structuring, pensions, leases and other property arrangements, sale process and preferred bidder negotiations. Wragge’s Robert Caddick, commercial development and investment chairman, led on the real estate aspects of the transaction.

Eversheds partner Sue Lewis led the team acting on the LDC side alongside partner Patrick Davis while Gateley’s private equity head Paul Hayward acted for management. Lewis said: ‘We had a large team from Eversheds and although it’s a corporate transaction it is substantially property led as you can tell from the assets included within it. In the Birmingham office we have a strong and longstanding relationship with LDC locally.’

She added: ‘We have been working on this for quite a long time – since late spring/early summer last year. It’s been a long process with lots of time and effort put into it.’