Legal fees hit £1.4m on real estate merger as Nabarro, Travers lead

Nabarro and Travers Smith were the main beneficiaries of the near £1.4m in legal fees spent by London & Stamford Property and Metric Property Investments ahead of their £800m merger.

According to documents, Nabarro client London & Stamford spent an estimated £1.038m plus applicable VAT on legal fees, though parts of that would have gone to Herbert Smith, which did some work for the sponsors; Goodwin Procter, which provided US advice; and Jones Day, which carried out some of the due dilligence.

Nabarro corporate partner Graham Stedman, who is set to take the reins as senior partner in January 2013 (24 October 2012), led on the merger, backed up by corporate partner Kristy Duane and real estate partner Simon Staite.

Travers corporate partner Aaron Stocks led for Metric, along with banking partner Paul Lyons and property finance partner Anthony Judge. Documents filed by Metric show the firm’s estimated legal fees to be around £345,000.

Listed real estate group London & Stamford and retail property specialist Metric agreed to merge in November. The all-share deal values Metric at £209m.

Metric’s shareholders will take a 25 per cent stake in the combined company, which is valued at more than £800m and will be called LondonMetric Property, with London & Stamford’s stakeholders controlling the remaining 75 per cent.

Background to this deal:

The deal would come twelfth in The Lawyer’s rankings of M&A deals by total legal fees since the fee disclosure requirements were introduced last year, just below Jardine Matheson’s takeover of Jardine Lloyd Thompson, on which Eversheds and Linklaters were the respective advisers earning an estimated £1.45m.

Nabarro has been advising London & Stamford since at least 2010, when Stedman acted for the company on its listing on the London Stock Exchange and its conversion to a real estate investment trust (REIT).

In a statement, Stedman said: “Nabarro has built a strong relationship with London & Stamford. This, like the series of deals we have advised on for Sportingbet, is another example of Nabarro acting for a dynamic, fast growing company.”

Travers’ Stocks has advised Metric since its inception in 2010, when the company’s executive team spun off from British Land. He acted for the company on its London Stock Exchange IPO and conversion to a REIT the same year.

Parties in a UK public M&A deal have been required to declare estimated legal fees since the new Takeover Code came into effect in September 2011.

British Telecommunications’ acquisition of IT services company Tikit last month gave estimated billings totalling £775,000 to DLA Piper and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (26 November 2012).

For the top 50 UK public M&A deals ranked by leal fees between September 2011 and September 2012, see Feature