Warner Estates

Clifford Chance is in a prime position to pick up a string of deals from its relatively new client Warner Estate Holdings. The property company is shifting its focus from residential property to commercial and this £41m purchase from CGU and Commercial Union consolidates the move. It is also selling its £52m residential estate and a 13 per cent stake in residential property company BPT for approximately £55m. The company hopes this will contribute to a steadily growing cash war chest for further commercial investment. Clifford Chance is a relatively new adviser to Warner Estates, certainly in a property role, as its primary involvement with the client was in a corporate capacity. But as the relationship grew, senior property assistant Richard Hopkinson-Woolley was appointed to look after the client. Warner Estates also uses DJ Freeman, Garretts and Russell-Cooke Potter & Chapman but it will be interesting to see if Clifford Chance is able to shunt these other firms out of the frame completely. On this particular deal, a clutch of firms won work due to the location of some of the properties in the portfolio. Hence the involvement of a number of Scottish firms such as Brodies, and Northern Irish-based practices including C&H Jefferson.