Slaughters and Wragges lead host of firms on Legal & General property sell-off

Slaughter and May and Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co have taken key roles among a large group of UK and Irish firms advising on Legal & General’s (L&G) sale of eight properties from its Hyperion portfolio to separate purchasers.

Slaughter and May played a key role acting for the vendor, having advised L&G on the £550m purchase of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) backed Hyperion portfolio from Telereal Trillium in March.

The Slaughter and May team was led by real estate partner Jane Edwarde, supported by associates Andrea Shepherd, Oliver Moir and Mark Gulliford and trainee solicitor Emily Makin.

The flagship property was Coutts’ headquarters at 440 Strand, which commanded the highest price at £175m. The property was purchased by Henderson UK Property Unit Trust, which was advised by Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co. The lead partner was Robert Adam, supported by senior associate Duncan MacLaurin.

Dillon Eustace advised L&G on the €11.4m (£9.1m) sale of 2-4 Lower O’Connell Street in Dublin to O’Connell Street Holding, with the work led by senior partner Paul Eustace.

Mason Hayes & Curran acted for the purchaser on the Irish sale, led by real estate partner Tom Davy.

Ellisons Solicitors in Colchester advised on the sale of 97 New Bond Street for £18.8m to Whittington Investment Property. The lead partner was Phillip Roberts.

Fox Williams acted for the purchaser of 28 Cavendish Square, Oxford & City Holdings. The company, which also owns neighbouring 33 Cavendish Square, bought the site for £5.35m. The Fox Williams team was led by partner Simon Smith with support from associate Rebecca Evans.

CMS Cameron McKenna acted for Direct Line Group subsidiary DL Insurance Services, which purchased three sites in Wakefield, Salford and Rutherglen for £10.4m. The CMS team was led by Edinburgh-based partner Douglas Hunter with support from associate Nicholas Chare in London.

Penningtons Manches acted on the sale of Lee House in Enfield to Aviva Staff Pension Trustees for £6.1m with the team led by partner Catriona Smith.

Background to the deal:

Slaughter and May has a longstanding relationship with Legal & General, retaining its panel position through successive reviews, the most recent of which saw Allen & Overy, Linklaters and Olswang among the firms to miss out (21 October 2013).

Slaughters has traditionally acted primarily on corporate matters for Legal & General, with the relationship led by partner Robert Chaplin.

The firm started acting on the insurer’s real estate work in 2013 on deals such as the £69.71m acquisition and leaseback of a portfolio of 27 public houses with Marston’s Plc.The firm’s client relationship partner is Hywel Davies.

CMS Cameron McKenna gained Direct Line Group as a client through its merger with Dundas & Wilson in May (1 May 2014).

Both lead partner Douglas Hunter and associate Nicholas Chare are legacy Dundas lawyers, with a long-standing relationship with Direct Line head of property Robert Taylor.

Legacy Dundas had history with the Hyperion Portfolio having worked on deals involving the properties both for RBS in 2008 and latterly for Direct Line Group. Earlier this year Hunter led Dundas’ advice to Direct Line on the acquisition of three properties it was previously letting, as part of the purchase of the Hyperion Portfolio to L&G by Telereal Trillium.