BLP and Nabarro advise as Google acquires site for new UK HQ

Nabarro took the lead advising Google on the acquisition of a site for its new headquarters at Kings Cross, while Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) and Hogan Lovells advised the landowners.

Google agreed terms earlier this month with Kings Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP), which comprises Argent as developer and London & Continental Railways and DHL as landowners.

Google was granted a 999-year lease and the right to develop office space with ground-floor retail covering some 750,000 sq ft. The deal is said to be worth more than £500m.

Nabarro advised Google, with real estate partner Marie Scott leading a team that included environment partner Clare Deanesly and planning partner Christopher Stanwell.

BLP and Hogan Lovells shared the work advising KCCLP. Real estate partner Andrew Sanders led BLP’s team, advising on the agreement between KCCPL and Google. Hogan Lovells, where Sanders previously worked, advised KCCPL on the planning, title and construction aspects of the deal, with partners Michael Gallimore, Gill McGreevy and Gillian Thomas leading.

Background to this deal:

Nabarro won the instruction to advise Google following a contested pitch in 2011, with two other large City firms competing against it at the final stage of the tender. This is the first time that Nabarro has carried out any real estate work for Google, although the firm has done some IP work for the internet giant. Nabarro was, however, familiar with Argent, having previously worked on deals opposite the developer.

BLP inherited the role advising KCCLP when it hired Sanders. Sanders had been advising Argent since he began in private practice in at DJ Freeman in 1989, taking the relationship with him to Hogan Lovells legacy firm Lovells in 1999. He maintained his relationship with the developer and in 1999 was asked to begin work in relation to the Kings Cross site, when Argent won planning permission to develop the plot. When Sanders moved from Hogan Lovells to BLP in 2011, the work was split between the two firms.