White & Case has acted on the largest foreign real estate investment in Finland to date, acting for Sponda on the k322m (£196.9m) disposal of the Itakeskus Shopping Centre to Dutch real estate company Wereldhave. "I'm not aware of any foreign investment in the real estate market that would even come close," said Petri Haussila, the partner at White & Case's Helsinki office who acted on the deal. Sponda also used Van Doorne for Dutch legal advice and secured financial advice from Finnish firm Advium Partners. Goldman Sachs, which underwrote the deal, was advised by Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Finnish firm Hannes Snellman acted for Wereldhave.
"I'm not aware of any foreign investment in the real estate market that would even come close" Petri Haussila, White & Case
White & Case has 11 lawyers and one partner in its Helsinki office and is one of the only two US international law firms with a presence in the country. Two of the lawyers are from US firms and eight are Finnish, and out of those eight, three are dual US and Finnish-qualified. The firm has some significant telecoms clients. It acted for Sonera Group, the largest telecoms operator in Finland, on a i1bn (£611.5m) rights offering, which closed in November 2001. It also acted for the telecoms company when it sold its directory assistants service Sonera Information Communications to a consortium of investors, including 3i Group, last year. Sponda has been a client of White & Case for six years, with the firm taking it through its IPO. It has also advised Sponda previously in connection with a public tender for shares in real estate development company Castrum and a number of related transactions over the past two years.