Macfarlanes wins first role for Warner Estates

Macfarlanes has advised on its first major deal for Warner Estate Holdings since winning a new role as a real estate adviser on its panel in May.
Clive Lampard, head of Macfarlanes’ corporate real estate group, ran a massive due diligence exercise for Warner’s £166m acquisition of an industrial estate portfolio from the Morley Fund.
The deal was a coup for Macfarlanes. “We were pitching for asset-management work, so we were delighted to get involved at the front-line on such a significant piece of work,” said Lampard. “The firm you would use on acquisitions would not necessarily be the firm you would use for asset management. We have both capabilities. This was a vote of confidence.”
Asset management work has already started to filter through at Macfarlanes. “It’s now up and running and with the acquisition of this portfolio there’s ongoing asset-management work,” said Lampard.
Macfarlanes and Osborne Clarke gained new places as real estate advisers to Warner in the recent review run by associate director Karl Meade. However, it was Cliff McAuley’s team at Clifford Chance that walked away with the core structuring and financing elements on the acquisition from Morley. Clifford Chance retained its place as primary corporate counsel in the Warner review.
Warner has been highly active this year as it reinvents itself from a property company to a property asset manager. Clifford Chance advised it on the establishment of the £223m Agora Fund in March.
For its latest acquisition, Warner broke the Morley portfolio down into three tranches. It entered a 50-50 partnership with the Bank of Scotland, advised by Lawrence Graham, to acquire eight distribution warehouses; it purchased three industrial estates in a 50-50 partnership with Barclays, advised by Linklaters; and it acquired three smaller distribution warehouses and three industrial estates for £34m for its own core portfolio.
Morley was advised in-house with Jamie Davey leading the team.