Gouldens takes lead role on Pillar work

Gouldens has reprised its role as lead adviser to Pillar Property as the group finally sells off its interest in Cannon Bridge, home of the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (Liffe).
Pillar, which owns a 25 per cent stake in the building, and the US's Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA), which holds a 75 per cent share, have sold off the building to Fordgate, a Jersey-based private property group owned by brothers Moises and Mendi Gertner, for £167m.
The 285,000sq ft building, which Pillar originally purchased in 1995 for £64m, before selling a majority stake to the TIAA in 2000 for £140m, has been the subject of a long-drawn-out sale process.
Fordgate was named as the frontrunner on the transaction back in July, when it emerged that the building was coming up for a rent review that could have seen Liffe's £43 per sq ft rent take a substantial rise.
Despite the fact that the TIAA is historically a Linklaters client, Gouldens handled the majority of the work.
Antonia Musgrove, property partner at Linklaters, said: “[Gouldens] had dealt with all the occupational tenants, so they had all that information and it made sense for them to do the work.”
Gouldens property partner David Smith led the team, which included Dominic Hornblow and Giles Elliot from the firm's corporate department.
The deal marks a change in Pillar's strategy: it intends to dispose of all its direct investments in the City of London to concentrate on its 36 per cent interest in the City of London Office Unit Trust.
However, according to Humphrey Price, finance director at Pillar, the decision to focus on assets owned through trusts will not affect the level of work that Gouldens acts on for the company.
Morgan Stanley, the lender on the deal, was represented by Denton Wilde Sapte, while Teacher Stern Selby acted for the Gertner Brothers.