A&O, Ashurst and SJ Berwin scoop £1bn Canary Wharf deal

Allen & Overy, Ashurst and SJ Berwin each landed a role advising on the £1bn sale of Citigroup’s Canary Wharf European headquarters, with the deal closing on Saturday night (30 June).

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which bought the building four years ago, sold the 42-storey property to a joint venture between Irish businessman Derek Quinlan and private equity company PropInvest.

RBS received corporate advice from SJ Berwin corporate partner Nicholas Plant, while real estate advice came from Allen & Overy (A&O) partner Imogen Moss. Quinlan and PropInvest were advised by an Ashurst team led by real estate head Adrian Dear alongside corporate partner Susan Roy and tax partner John Watson.

PropInvest is a longstanding Ashurst client, having worked with the firm for the past two years. Most recently the firm advised the private equity house on a £900m loan facility for 13 real estate transactions around the UK. This is the first time Ashurst has worked with Quinlan, who owns hotels such as The Berkeley and who has received advice from A&O in the past.

RBS received financial advice from Lazard, while bank CB Richard Ellis advised the buyers. Lazard and CB Richard Ellis did not receive external legal advice.

The largest single-property transaction to date was the sale of the HSBC tower, also in Canary Wharf, which was bought by Spanish property group Metrovacesa in May. Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised the buyer and seller respectively.