Freshfields leads on British Land rights issue

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has cemented its relationship with British Land by acting on the group’s £740m rights issue.

The company said the issue would firm up its balance sheet but the move sent share prices in the property sector tumbling.

Freshfields corporate partners Julian Long and Sarah Murphy led the team, while Linklaters corporate partner Brigid Rentoul advised the underwriting banks Morgan Stanley and UBS.

Freshfields is one of a group of law firms to have forged links with the property company. SJ Berwin has historically been its main adviser but in 2005 was conflicted out of British Land’s £811m acquisition of Pillar Properties and Freshfields instructed in its place. Since then both firms have acted on key corporate instructions.

Freshfields won a sought-after mandate in 2006, when the group converted to a real estate investment trust (16 June 2006).

In 2008, SJ Berwin advised on the exchange and sale of the Clifton Moor industrial estate for £33m (14 January 2008) and the sale of two Debenhams stores for £22m (3 March 2008).

The company has also used DLA Piper, instructing the firm in 2007 for the £161m sale of a Midlands business park.

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