DJ Freeman’s role as adviser on this complex acquisition and financing is confirmation of its foothold in real estate finance since hiring the Stones Porter team in October 1998. Former Stones Porter banking partner John Clark was in the four-partner team led by DJ Freeman’s chief executive, property partner Jonathan Lewis.
The transaction was structured substantially as a corporate acquisition with only two of the six MEPC properties acquired through property purchases. Benchmark and JER will both provide £23.75m of equity and subordinated loans for the consideration, with the balance funded by a £180m senior loan from Eurohypo and a £22.5m junior loan from Deutsche Bank.
A complex security structure was put in place to guard the interests of the lending banks, involving trust arrangements and offshore special purpose vehicles. A key objective was to offset any adverse effects of English insolvency law on security enforceability.