Ashurst, Mayer Brown rethink debt package for Citigroup tower

Ashurst, Mayer Brown rethink debt package for Citigroup tower” />Patience and a considerable rejigging of the financing package were needed in order for Ashurst client Gardenprime to complete a major acquisition.

As first reported on (2 July), Ashurst acted for Gardenprime, a joint venture between private equity house Propinvest and Irish businessman Derek Quinlan, on the £1.025bn acquisition of the Citigroup tower in London’s Canary Wharf.

The deal was scheduled to complete earlier in the year but was put on hold after the financing fell through due to the global credit crunch.

Ashurst head of real estate Adrian Dear, who led the team for Gardenprime, said: “Due to illiquidity in the lending market more time was needed, with completion finally taking place on 30 November due to innovative structuring.” The changes are understood not to relate to either the pricing or the senior debt arrangements.

Mayer Brown finance parter Iain Thomas, who advised longstanding client Allied Irish Bank and new client Banco Santander on the £875m senior debt package, emphasised that the delay was not unusual, especially given “a general understanding that the economic climate had changed”.

Thomas worked alongside partner Nigel White on the financing of the deal. Partner Ed Parker provided capital markets and derivatives advice relating to interest rate and rental income inflation swaps.

Dear was assisted by senior associate Matthew Hooton and a team from the real estate, corporate and tax groups.

Gardenprime bought the building from Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which was advised on corporate aspects by SJ Berwin partner Nicholas Plant and on real estate aspects by Allen & Overy partner Imogen Moss.

The sale of the Citigroup tower was one of the biggest single-property transactions to take place this year.