Links, Travers gifted main roles on Peel-CSC Trafford Centre deal

Linklaters and Travers Smith have taken the prize mandates on one of the largest property M&A deals of the year, as Capital Shopping Centres (CSC) has agreed to purchase Manchester’s Trafford Centre from Peel Holdings for £1.6bn.

Travers corporate finance partner Richard Skelton led the six-partner team acting for Peel on the deal. The City firm also fielded ­corporate partner Anthony Foster, finance partner Andrew Gregson, real estate head Julian Bass and tax partners Richard Stratton and Simon Yates.

Linklaters corporate ­partner William Buckley acted for CSC on the sale side of the deal, which sees the UK’s largest retail ­property group own four of the UK’s top six regional shopping centres.

Peel, owned by property magnate John Whittaker, is one of Travers’ longest ­standing clients. The firm acted on the disposal of a £1.6bn stake in its ports arm to RREEF in 2006. Head of corporate finance Spencer Summerfield and corporate finance partner Philip ­Cheveley acted on that deal.

The firm also acted for Peel on its purchase of Mersey Docks for £800m the ­previous year. This ­summer it advised on the sale of Peel’s airports division, which included Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport and Robin Hood Airport in Nottingham, both to Vancouver ­Airport Services.

Peel is planning a £5.5bn development of the Liverpool docks. The company has assets worth around £6bn.

The latest deal also sees Peel take an equity stake of £75m in CSC, with ­Whittaker set to become deputy chairman in addition to his role as chairman of Peel Group.

CSC was formed earlier in the year when real estate investment trust Liberty International split in two. The Trafford Centre would be the new entity’s largest asset in its portfolio of UK shopping malls.

Its latest acquisition adds to a portfolio that includes Lakeside in Thurrock, the Metrocentre in Gateshead and the Arndale Centre in Manchester.

The deal is understood to involve a purchase price of £750m, with CSC also assuming around £850m of debt.