Norton Rose scoops MPC on its UK debut

Norton Rose has added another German fund to its real estate client list, advising Hamburg-based Muenchmeyer Petersen Capital (MPC) on its acquisition of 88 Wood Street from Japanese owner Daiwa.

This is the first advance into the UK market by MPC, which is one of the largest independent providers of closed-ended funds in Germany. It is thought that the fund purchased the property, which has been on the market for some time, for around £160m.

Norton Rose was recommended to MPC by a property agent that acts for one of the firm’s French clients. Real estate partner Lindsey Morgan is leading the deal for the German fund.

This is the second Norton Rose client that has tried to buy the Wood Street premises: last year, open-ended German fund CGI, a client of real estate partner Robin Mitchell, also looked at the building.
Ultimately, though, the deal fell through.

The German fund, which was set up in 1995, has always invested outside Germany until now, acquiring properties in Austria, Canada, the Netherlands and the US. However, MPC spokesperson Andreas Schwarzwälder said the firm was looking at options in the UK, and admitted that MPC might consider investing in further real estate here. “If there’s another interesting piece of real estate, we’d consider doing another deal,” he commented.

Along with CGI, MPC is the second fund that Norton Rose advises in the UK. It also advises a number of real estate funds out of its Frankfurt office, which came on board with the hire of Hans-Dieter Schulz-Gebeltzig and his team from Linklaters.

Clifford Chance associate Robert Bindless led the team acting for longstanding client Daiwa. Bindless has been acting for the conglomerate since 2000, when it decided to scale back its UK operations and let the premises rather than occupy the building itself. Since then, Bindless has advised it on potential deals with both CGI and French bank Crédit Agricole.