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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has pushed aside DLA Piper to win key roles on restructuring almost £2bn of debt resulting from the acquisition of two real estate companies at the height of the property boom.
DLA Piper represented the buyers of McCarthy & Stone for £1.1bn in 2006 and Crest Nicholson for £715m in 2007.
Both companies have now been forced to refinance the debt because of turmoil in the property sector and have turned to magic circle advisers.
Freshfields restructuring partner Richard Tett and real estate finance partner Jeffrey Rubinoff have scooped a mandate from McCarthy & Stone as it attempts to secure an £800m refinancing deal.
Linklaters ;head ;of banking Robert Elliott and banking partner Bruce Bell are working with PricewaterhouseCoopers on the senior debt, while Allen & Overy restructuring partner David Frauman is working on the mezzanine debt.
Crest Nicholson, one of the country’s largest housebuilders, has called on Freshfields restructuring partners Adam Gallagher and Ken Baird as it seeks new arrangements for more than £1bn of debt. Linklaters partner Rebecca Jarvis is advising on the senior debt.
“We’ve been working on both matters for approaching six months now and it seems likely that there are a few months to go,” said Tett. “Outside of the major bank restructurings, these remain some of the biggest deals around at the moment.”
DLA Piper Manchester corporate partner Jonathan Watkins advised bidding consortiums that included HBOS for both companies in the original deals. An HBOS restructuring policy barred the firm from picking up the restructuring work.
A spokesperson for DLA Piper ;said: ;“Bank ;of Scotland has a policy that prohibits law firms from working on the restructure of a debt if they did the original work, once it has been referred to the high-risk team.”