Terra Firma retains Lovells on Europe’s largest CMBS despite defections

Lovells has maintained its relationship with private equity house Terra Firma to advise on a landmark securitisation, even though the firm lost the original partner on the deal to Clifford Chance.

It is understood that Lovells won the mandate because arranger Citigroup had already instructed Clifford Chance, and therefore the magic circle firm was conflicted.

German private equity partner Oliver Felsenstein led the team that originally advised Terra Firma. However, he shocked the legal market last autumn when he and a team of four associates moved to Clifford Chance.

A Lovells team consisting of London and German lawyers is now acting for Terra Firma on the Eu5.4bn (£3.69bn) commercial mortgage-backed securitisation (CMBS), the biggest deal of its kind in Europe.

The mortgage-backed bond follows Terra Firma’s acquisition through property portfolio company Deutsche Annington of 150,000 flats from Viterra for Eu7bn (£4.79bn), which at the time was Germany’s largest-ever private equity deal.

Head of finance David Hudd is leading the Lovells team acting on the CMBS, which includes leveraged finance partner Mark Donald and Munich-based tax
partner Stephan Geibel.

Clifford Chance is advising lead arrangers Barclays Capital and Citigroup. London securitisation partner Stephen Curtis is heading the Clifford Chance team.