Hogan Lovells plus a host of US firms have won roles on GE’s major financial restructuring, including the $26.5bn sale of its real estate assets, as it tries to create a ‘simpler and more valuable company’ by selling most of GE Capital’s assets.
Under the agreement, GE will sell the bulk of the GE Capital Real Estate assets – in what has been dubbed one of the largest real estate deals on record – to funds managed by Blackstone with Wells Fargo also acquiring a portion of the performing loans at closing. The company also has letters of intent with other buyers for an additional $4bn of commercial real estate assets, totalling a $26.5bn disposal.
Hogan Lovells’ cross-border team, which comprised over 75 lawyers, advised GE on the real estate sale led by partners Warren Gorrell, Bruce Gilchrist, Prentiss Feagles, Lauren Bellerjeau, Waajid Siddiqui and Lee Berner, based in New York and Washington DC. The GE legal team was led by former Hogan Lovells partner Mark Landis, currently executive legal counsel–M&A at the company.
On the other side was Dechert representing Wells Fargo with US based partner Richard Jones leading, alongside London-based Jeremy Trinder, Jason Butwick, Mark Stapleton plus US partners Kahlil Yearwood, Philippe Phaneuf, David Linder, Daniel Dunn and, out of France, Philippe Thomas.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett represented Blackstone with partners Greg Ressa, Sas Mehrara and Krista Miniutti leading. Bank of America and Kimberlite Advisors provided financial advice on the real estate deal.
On the wider restructuring of the business GE took advice from Weil, Gotshal & Manges on corporate and restructuring matters with Sullivan & Cromwell advising on the regulatory aspects led by Sullivan’s senior chairman Rodgin Cohen.
Davis Polk & Wardwell led on tax matters for the company with a team including corporate partners Richard Sandler and John Meade, tax partners Neil Barr, Michael Farber and Michael Mollerus, partners Randall Guynn and Luigi de Ghenghi handling regulatory matters and investment management partners Nora Jordan and Gregory Rowland.
GE expects to return more than $90bn to investors through to 2018, the majority of which will come from the $50bn share repurchase program with the remainder generated from the current dividend and the spinoff of its remaining 85% stake in Synchrony. The company expects that by 2018 over 90% of its earnings will be generated by its high-return industrial businesses, up from 58% last year.