De Pury quits for Sainsbury’s bid; joins BLP in January

Herbert Smith’s star real estate partner Chris De Pury has left the firm today (17 August) for Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), the two firms announced this morning.

De Pury will not start at BLP until 17 January, however. In the meantime he will work at investment company Three Delta.

Three Delta is currently bidding for J Sainsbury with the Qatari investment authority in a joint vehicle called Delta Two. On that £12bn bid, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom is advising Delta Two while longstanding counsel Linklaters is advising the supermarket chain.

The news ends speculation as to whether Herbert Smith would enforce on De Pury part of a restrictive covenant policy that obliges departing partners to work a 12-month notice period, as well as the part that bars that person from working with particular clients for a further year.

The Lawyer broke the news of De Pury leaving for BLP on 2 April this year. He has had a stellar 20-year career at Herbert Smith, with highlights including advising the Qatar government on its £107m acquisition of One America Square and its £90m refinancing in April 2005, and securing Herbert Smith’s first instruction from the Carlyle Group’s European property fund in August 2004.

More recently De Pury helped advise longstanding client Hammerson on the first real estate investment trust conversion mandate and advised the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on its £175m sale of the former Middlesex Hospital site.