A&O sneaks Brixton deal as CC is conflicted out

Allen & Overy (A&O) is advising property giant Brixton on its acquisition of the £675m Industrious property portfolio after Clifford Chance was forced to pass on the instruction because of a conflict of interest.

A&O corporate partner Alison Beardsley confirmed that Brixton had originally approached Clifford Chance regarding the landmark acquisition of Industrious, which owns 163 industrial properties across the UK.

The acquisition will see Brixton become the largest industrial landlord in the UK.

However, Clifford Chance was forced to pass on the instruction after already agreeing to advise longstanding client and Industrious owner Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund on the sale.

Beardsley said A&O was then instructed on the basis of Brixton’s past experience with property partner Robert Porter, who joined A&O from Clifford Chance in March. Clifford Chance is Brixton’s named external corporate adviser.

Clifford Chance corporate partner Sarah Jones is advising Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund, while A&O partners Beardsley and Porter are leading the team advising Brixton. SJ Berwin property partner John Vivian is also assisting Brixton on the due diligence of the property portfolio.

Brixton exchanged contracts earlier this month to purchase the 163 industrial properties from Industrious, although the acquisition is subject to shareholder approval. If successful, it will boost Brixton’s £1.7bn portfolio by around a third.

Porter described the deal as “a pioneering transaction, involving a combination of offshore and domestic partnerships, companies and unit trusts”.

Industrious was previously known as Saville Gordon and was delisted from the London Stock Exchange in 2002 following its acquisition by Chambercroft, an acquisition vehicle backed by Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund.

At the time, A&O acted for the independent directors of Saville Gordon regarding the company’s sale.