Burges Salmon completes Orange HQ London relocation

Bristol firm Burges Salmon has advised telecoms company Orange on the relocation of its corporate HQ to Paddington Basin, the West London development’s first pre-let.

Ashurst Morris Crisp is advising the Paddington Development Corporation (PDCL), a joint venture between its longstanding client Chelsfield and private investors.

Orange will occupy the entire 228,000-square-foot Point building on a 25-year lease with an option to break after 16 and 20 years. Staff will be transferred from across Europe and South East England.

Burges Salmon’s role further strengthens its relationship with Orange, which it has worked with on most of the company’s principal site acquisitions in England and Wales since the beginning of the 1990s.

The relationship has continued despite a number of changes of ownership in that time and has also crossed over from property and planning into corporate. Last year, corporate partner Alan Barr tempted Orange away from Slaughter and May for its acquisition of Ananova, the world’s first internet newscaster, for which it paid £95m. Slaughters continues to act for the telecoms giant on larger pieces of work.

The team acting on the Paddington Basin transaction was led by head of property David Gidney, who joined the firm from City-based Rowe & Maw three years ago. He was assisted by associates Ian Griffith in construction, Richard Clark in property and Gary Soloman in planning. Partner Nigel Popplewell advised on tax. The team was instructed last summer and worked closely with head of group property and facilities at Orange Stephen Lee. It did not have to pitch for the work.

Gidney, confident about the future of the relationship, says: “We’ve been acting for Orange for a long time and have taken the time to understand the ways in which they approach their property ownership.

“Although Orange has witnessed a number of changes of ownership, our relationship has grown even stronger, and it’s very satisfying for all members of both teams to have successfully concluded this latest, high-profile transaction.”

He adds: “One of the reasons I was attracted down here three years ago was the belief that a really good regional firm like Burges Salmon, with specialist skills, can compete on equal terms on big transactions.”

The Ashursts team was led by Martin Wright with senior assistant Rajindh Mangat. Partner Michael Cunliffe is advising PDLC on planning matters.