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Copley's lock on property company confirmed with £46m acquisition
In only 13 days, Addleshaw Booth & Co has completed the Paul Sykes Group's £46.25m acquisition of the Victoria Quarter shopping centre in Leeds. Paul Sykes Group bought the Victoria Quarter, an upmarket retail outlet that houses around 80 shops, from insurance company Prudential. Addleshaws used 20 partners and six other fee-earners from its Leeds, Manchester and London offices to take the deal from initial preferred bidder status to completion. Dean Copley, senior commercial property partner at Addleshaws in Leeds, led the national team, while Chris Martin, senior assistant at Berwin Leighton Paisner, led the team acting for Prudential. Paul Sykes Group has been a loyal commercial property client of Copley's since the late 1980s. The group followed Copley from Simpson Curtis (now Pinsent Curtis Biddle) to Garretts, and then moved with him again when he joined Addleshaw Booth & Co, each time taking his private client business with him. According to Paul Sykes Group development director Paul Dalzell, it was not only because of Copley that Addleshaws got the work. "We obviously have a longstanding client-partner relationship with Dean, but we instructed Addleshaws on this deal because we knew the firm had the strength and depth to cope with such a complex property transaction on such a short time-scale," he said. Paul Sykes Group is a nine-strong property company owned by retail tycoon Paul Sykes. Among the nine staff is his son Richard Sykes, who masterminded the Victoria Quarter acquisition through operating company Highstone Estates, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Group. Paul Sykes is best known for his major involvement in Sheffield's Meadowhall shopping centre and his £20m backing of the UK Independence Party in the 2001 general election. He sold his stake in Meadowhall in 1999. He only returned to major property acquisition in April 2001 with his £50m acquisition of the College of Ripon & York St John's 51-acre campus. Addleshaws also advised on this deal, again with Copley leading the team.