Uría joins Gouldens on Pillar Property purchase

Gouldens has acted for long-term client Pillar Property on its first European property acquisition, but on this occasion failed to cross-sell merger partner Jones Day's European network. Pillar instead used Slaughter and May's Spanish best friend Uría & Menéndez.

Jones Day Gouldens head of banking Tom Budd worked with Uría on Pillar's e117m (£77.6m) acquisition of the Nassica Retail and Leisure Park, just south of Madrid, from Spanish development group Neinver.

This is the first time that Uría has worked with Pillar, and it could be the last, as Gouldens will attempt to cross-sell the Jones Day European network in the future.

Budd's relationship with Uría goes back to his days at Slaughters, but he said that in future, client willing, he would like to work with other Jones Day offices on these types of deal.

“I'm tremendously excited by the prospect of teaming up with Jones Day. The countries in which Pillar are most interested are the countries where Jones Day has offices,” said Budd. He was particularly keen to note the strength of the firm's Paris office for banking and property advice.

Uría was instructed mid-2002 following a referral from Gouldens and long before talks with Jones Day began, claimed Budd. The transaction had a particularly long gestation period, as Pillar first stated its interest while the park was under construction, but did not want to buy until building was completed.

Raymond Mould, chairman of Pillar, commented: “Last year the [Pillar] group outlined its strategy to expand its asset base outside the UK. We continue to investigate further acquisition targets in Spain, France and other countries across Europe. Pillar is also in discussions with several institutions, with a view to their participation in a Pillar European fund.”

The transaction was carried out under Spanish law, with Budd transaction-managing the deal. Uría advised Pillar on banking and property law, while Gomez-Acebo & Pombo advised HypoVereinsbank on the financing of the deal. Neinver was advised in-house.