KWM SJB and Wragges advise on Singaporean developer Oxley’s first City acquisition

King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin has advised Oxley on its £200m acquisition of Royal Wharf from Ballymore.

The Singapore-listed property developer intends to build 3,400 homes, offices and shops on the 40-acre site at London’s Royal Docks. It is the largest development site to come to market this year in the city, and reportedly the largest since Battersea Power Station was sold to a consortium of Malaysian investors for £400m in July 2012 (1 October 2012).

Oxley currently houses projects in China, Malaysia and Cambodia, and this is the first development is has embarked on outside of South East Asia.

The deal also marks the first time that KWM SJB has been instructed by Oxley, having been recommended by City property consultant M3.

Real estate partner, Michael Scott, who led on the deal for the firm said that completing work from the Singaporean business at the same time as SJ Berwin’s merger with Chinese firm King & Wood Mallesons went live was “a happy coincidence” (1 November 2013).

He added that the biggest challenge faced was the short deadline on the deal: “We had less than a week between the client being notified that the bid had been accepted and exchanging contracts.”

Scott led on the deal alongside real estate associate Emma Dewar, while additional advice was provided from KWM SJB’s firm’s planning, construction, tax and employment teams. 

Wragge & Co advised longstanding client Ballymore on the project. Real estate partner Peter Thorn led for the firm, with support from real estate associate Sarah Galvin.

Background to this deal:

London mayor Boris Johnson reportedly lobbied Oxley to take up the site on his trade mission to China last month.

The deal marks the latest in a flurry of in-bound investments into the UK real estate market from South East Asia, but one of only a few on such a large scale in central London.

KWM SJB scooped the new client after a recommendation from property consultant M3, while Wragge & Co has a longstanding relationship with Ballymore.

Thorn advised the property development company on its £500m redevelopment project at Snowhill in Birmingham in July 2008. Wragge & Co moved its HQ into a space in the development in 2011 (22 April 2008).