Gibson Dunn wins Westbrook deal

The London office of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher has won Westbrook Partners as a client, having worked opposite the US property investor on an earlier deal. The firm acted for Westbrook on its £95m joint venture property purchase from Brixton plc and Equitable Life.

Lead partner Alan Samson won the work because of his contacts among senior members of Westbrook's US operations.

The transaction was Westbrook's second in the UK, the first being its £365m acquisition in late 2001 of 20 buildings, mainly in London, which was then one of the largest property investment deals of the previous few years. In that deal Westbrook was represented by Jones Day Reavis & Pogue's London office.

Samson said: “On Westbrook's first deal, we saw them on the other side of the table. It is, therefore, particularly gratifying that they've retained us for this deal.”

The recently completed deal involved the acquisition by Westbrook and property and trade investment company the Moorfield Group of the two million square foot, 50 building Woodside Industrial estate in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, from a partnership comprising Brixton plc and Equitable Life. Acquisition finance was provided by the Bank of Scotland.

The sellers were jointly advised by CMS Cameron McKenna corporate partners Barney Hearnden and Mark Heighton, and Lovells property partner Alison Heppenstall. Lovells had traditionally advised Brixton plc on the day-to-day running of the estate, while Camerons had advised on the setting up of the Brixton and Equtitable Life partnership and was more familiar with its corporate structure. Corporate partner Ian Cox led a Herbert Smith team for Moorfield.

The deal took just one month to complete, despite complexities including the need for Gibson Dunn to formulate a beneficial tax structure for Westbrook's North Amercian investors.