Macfarlanes scoops Schrager work

Macfarlanes‘ hotels and leisure group has advised Ian Schrager London on the £105m refinancing of bank facilities for the development of its two landmark hotels, the Sanderson Hotel and St Martin’s Lane Hotel.

New York-based Schrager is primarily a property and development client of the firm. The relationship was developed by property partner Chris Field with the company’s chief executive officer in the US Bill Sheehan.

Macfarlanes advised Schrager four years ago on its acquisition and development of both London hotels through a joint venture with real estate investment firm Burford Holdings. But the firm’s relationship with the 50/50 joint venture has grown rapidly since then, spreading outwards from the development work undertaken for Schrager. At the time of the London acquisitions, Clifford Chance provided banking advice as a result of its relationship with the Burford Group, but Macfarlanes is now sole UK adviser to Schrager.

Corporate partner John Dodsworth, chair of Macfarlanes’ hotel and leisure group, says: “By agreement between Schrager and Burford it was decided that it makes sense for Macfarlanes to be involved in both the property and banking side.”

The firm now works with Schrager’s in-house lawyers and US adviser Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom on general corporate tax planning. Macfarlanes also provides Schrager with trademark portfolio advice and advises on general commercial agreements relating to restaurants, concessions and shops within the London hotels.

The refinancing deal is a prime example of this cross-selling within Macfarlanes, fostered by the multi-disciplinary hotels and leisure group set up two and a half years ago to pool sector expertise.

The deal was led by banking partner John Skelton, assisted by Orla MacSherry. Property partners Chris Field and Patrick Holmes also worked in the team. Loan facilities were arranged by Barclays Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland, advised by Slaughter and May. Finance partner Marc Hutchinson led the team assisted by Preethi Reddy.

Macfarlanes’ group is currently enjoying the buoyant hotel and leisure market and recently advised Accor, the French leisure group, which held talks with Granada Compass about buying its hotel estate. Accor pulled out of the talks in October.