BLP and FFW both land new hotel sector clients

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) and Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW) have scored a client win apiece in the hotels sector.

BLP advised property manager Marylebone Warwick Balfour (MWB) on its acquisition of the Hotel Du Vin hotel chain for £66.4m in its first direct instruction from MWB.

The deal follows work that BLP undertook for boutique hotel chain Malmaison, which is a subsidiary of MWB, on the purchase of the McCausland Hotel in Belfast in May 2004.

The instruction suggests that the recruitment of David Battiscombe from Finers Stephens Innocent last December is already paying dividends. MWB is a longstanding client of his and BLP had not acted for any company group before his arrival.

The Hotel Du Vin deal was funded through a new £167.5m bank loan facility provided by Bank of Scotland (BoS). Dickinson Dees represented BoS, while Steele Raymond acted for Hotel Du Vin.

FFW is advising leisure group Whitbread on negotiations over the sale of its Courtyard by Marriott hotel chain to Kew Green Hotels for around £80m.

The instruction is a coup for FFW, because although Whitbread has used the firm’s expertise on real estate acquisitions in the past, it has more recently turned to magic circle firms Allen & Overy (A&O) and Slaughter and May.

In June, Slaughters notably set up Chinese walls to advise Whitbread on the competition aspects of its bid for the Premier Lodge hotel chain, while also advising Spirit Group on the sale. A&O advised Whitbread on all other aspects of the bid.

FFW is the group’s sole legal adviser on the sale of Whitbread’s 11 Courtyards, which were put up for sale in May, with Kew Green Hotels understood to be the preferred bidder. Taylor Wessing is advising Kew Green Hotels.