Legal Business

Deal Watch: Nabarro and Ashurst act on sale of LSE HQ as King & Spalding secures repeat European M&A for GSK

Deal Watch: Nabarro and Ashurst act on sale of LSE HQ as King & Spalding secures repeat European M&A for GSK

Ashurst and Nabarro‘s real estate teams have secured a role on the sale of another landmark London building, while King & Spalding has furthered its transatlantic ambitions by closing a sizeable European M&A pharma deal.

In the £225m sale of 10 Paternoster Square, home of the London Stock Exchange (LSE), Nabarro advised the seller, Tokyo-headquartered Mitsubishi Estate Company (MEC), led by rated real estate partner Deborah Parry.

The 22,854 sqm building, designed by Eric Parry Architects and Sheppard Robson, was completed in 2003 as part of the Japanese developer’s landmark Paternoster Square development.

Ashurst advised the purchaser, Oxford Properties, which is the investment arm of one of Canada ‘s largest pension plans, Onatario Municipal Employees Retirement System, with over $60bn in net assets.

Ashurst was led by real estate partners David Jones and Sarah Sivyour, who in November last year advised Oxford Properties on the acquisition of London’s St. Martin’s Court.

MEC is a longstanding client for Nabarro, which previously acted on the site assembly, development, pre-letting and now the sale of the LSE building. Parry pointed to the transaction as an example of large scale real estate investments being sold to foreign investors, including South Koreans and Canadians.

Parry added that deals of this kind are promising for the UK real estate market, commenting: ‘Long term investors are attentive to development opportunities. Our firm has had a strong run in acquisitions, sales and joint ventures.’

In March, Nabarro advised AXA Real Estate on the £472m purchase of London’s Ropemaker Place on behalf of a consortium.

Elsewhere, King & Spalding represented GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) on its €250m acquisition of Okairos, a specialist developer of vaccine platform technologies.

Atlanta partner Jack Capers and London senior associate Marcus Young co-ordinated a cross-border corporate team assisted by London employment law partner Pulina Whitaker. Amstutz Greuter advised on Swiss law matters and Pirola Pennuto Zei & Associati on Italian law issues.

The transaction is the second high-profile M&A matter that King & Spalding has closed for GSK in the past year. In June 2012, the same team represented GSK unit Stiefel on the £196m acquisition of Toctino.

Legal Business

Revolving Doors: King & Spalding, Olswang and Sullivan & Cromwell in key partner hires

Revolving Doors: King & Spalding, Olswang and Sullivan & Cromwell in key partner hires

The past week saw a clutch of firms including Kennedys, Olswang, King & Spalding and Sullivan & Cromwell make key partner hires as US firms’ assault on the City continues apace.

King & Spalding launched its London trade practice on 20 May 2013 with the hire of Bird & Bird head of international trade and customs for Brussels and London, Iain MacVay, as the firm continues to expand its global trade offering.

MacVay, who has more than two decades experience advising on international trade matters, was one of the first to represent industries in World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute settlement proceedings. His practice focuses on European and international regulatory law, particularly in representing the alcoholic beverages, pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries.

MacVay becomes the fifth partner to join King & Spalding’s London office since the start of 2012, bringing the total number to 14 and the number of fee-earners to 36.

The hire is in line with the firm’s ambition to double its City base to around 60-75 fee earners by the end of 2014. The firm plans to add partners to its energy, life sciences and dispute resolution practices.

London managing partner Garry Pegg said the firm needs to be bigger in London as competition from the other side of the pond increases: ‘There are around 80 US firms in London so we need to claim our stake and be bigger here. We are looking for individuals that have sector experience that crosses over, such corporate lawyers with energy experience.’

Last year, the firm recruited international disputes partners Sarah Walker and Jane Player – also from Bird & Bird, corporate rainmaker William Charnley from Mayer Brown and real estate head Nigel Heilpern from Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson.

‘The London office has almost doubled the number of fee-earners during the last 18 months and the addition of an international trade practice in London is the latest step in our strategic expansion,’ said Pegg.

‘We look forward to the London office’s ongoing growth with the addition of more leading lawyers as we continue to broaden our London capabilities.’

If further evidence of US firms march on the City were needed, Sullivan & Cromwell took a significant step into UK work with the hire of Linklaters banking and restructuring partner Chris Howard. As reported by Legal Business on 23 May, the high-profile hire will be seen as a significant boost to Sullivan’s English practice in restructuring, distressed M&A and finance. Howard will advise international corporations, banks and financial sponsors on corporate restructurings and financings throughout Europe, the Middle East and the US.

Meanwhile, 383-lawyer top 50 UK firm Olswang strengthened its pensions offering with the arrival of Ron Burgess, who joined from Lawrence Graham having previously worked at Allen & Overy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and on secondment at the Pensions Regulator.

Burgess advises corporates, trustees and insolvency practitioners on pension related matters including scheme funding, liability management and complex benefit design schemes.

Head of corporate Fabrizio Carpanini said: ‘Not only is Ron an excellent pensions lawyer, he also stands out for his experience at the pensions regulator, which means he understands how to navigate the intricacies of the system and find the best solutions for our clients.’

Elsewhere, Kennedys boosted its Manchester office with a double partner hire on 20 May, bringing the office head count to 48. Partner Claire Bushen joined from DAC Beachcroft along with the head of the sport and entertainment department at Freeth Cartwright, Simon Taylor.

Bushen is a professional indemnity expert with experience defending claims against professionals including accountants, insurance brokers, estate agents and solicitors.

Taylor, who was brought in to bolster the firm’s specialist sport, entertainment and insurance capability, brings with him solicitor Andrew Martin and trainee Nick Spearing.

‘We now have one of the largest professional indemnity teams in the UK and act for more than 50 insurers. To facilitate this growth it is crucial that we continue to grow our own people and make strong lateral hires,’ said senior partner Nick Thomas.

On the continent, a trio of Hogan Lovells Italian partners have left to join Ernst & Young. Gianroberto de Giovanni, Massimiliano Marinozzi and Paolo Ricci will join as partners of the Italian legal offering of the global audit firm in its Rome and Milan offices. Ricci will take over the leadership team in Italy, while de Giovanni and Marinozzi will head the corporate and dispute teams respectively.


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Legal Business

King & Spalding recruits high-profile arbitrator in Singapore

King & Spalding recruits high-profile arbitrator in Singapore

King & Spalding has recruited King & Wood Mallesons Melbourne co-head of arbitration Peter Megens as a partner in its Singapore office.

Megens, a senior construction partner, is King & Spalding’s third Singapore lateral hire in under a year. Clifford Chance oil and gas partner Merrick White joined the firm in October of last year, shortly followed by project finance partner Kelly Malone from Norwegian firm Wikborg Rein in December.Malone was previously head of his firm’s global projects team.

According to King & Spalding’s head of global disputes, Reggie Smith, the hire fits in with the firm’s strategy to boost its arbitration and international construction offering.

‘Our firm has made a strategic decision to invest further in our marquee international arbitration practice, and especially in our international construction disputes capability,’ said Smith.

‘Peter’s stature as an outstanding construction disputes lawyer fits this bill, and nicely complements our world-class commercial and investment treaty arbitration practice serving the Asia-Pacific region from Singapore.’

Megens has over 30 years of experience representing clients in disputes arising out of construction, energy, mining and infrastructure projects. His cases have included arbitrations relating to projects throughout Southeast Asia, as well as claims in Australia and New Zealand. He is also a fellow of the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators.

‘We’re delighted to welcome Peter to the firm,’ said John Savage, managing partner of King & Spalding’s Singapore office. ‘He’s a senior statesman at the construction arbitration bar and the sort of tough, no-nonsense litigator our clients want on their side. We’re very fortunate he agreed to join us.’

Megens is expected to arrive at King & Spalding in July.