Waltons & Morse clinches swift sale

CITY firm Waltons & Morse secured one of the City's fastest-ever property deals when it completed the sale of the Lloyd's of London building.

The sale, to German open-ended investment fund DESPA for £180 million, took just seven days from the day an offer was made and involved “working round the clock”, said lawyers involved.

Contracts were exchanged last week with DESPA, represented by Simmons & Simmons. Completion is set for mid-February, when the landmark Lime Street building will be leased back to Lloyd's at a rent based on current market levels.

Annual rent in the lease will be £11.6 million per annum, equating to £35 per sq ft.

Simmons & Simmons partner Alan Butler led the team for DESPA, understood to be a long-standing client which has already made other major London property acquisitions recently.

Waltons & Morse has acted for Lloyd's on property matters for many years.

Head of property Jeremy Brooks led the Waltons & Morse team. He said the principle issue was the terms of the leaseback to Lloyd's, and the lawyers had to draft a lease that would be acceptable.

“This is one of the fastest deals of this size that the City has seen,” said Brooks.

“It has also achieved a price which is significantly better than other City property investment deals over the past two years.”