Freshfields, Hogan Lovells and SJ Berwin act on Westfield shopping mall deal

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Hogan Lovells and SJ Berwin won mandates on Westfield’s sale of its share of three non-core shopping centres to Hermes Real Estate, in which the property fund manager acquired Westfield’s half share in the £400m portfolio covering complexes in Belfast, Guildford and Tunbridge Wells.

Hogan Lovells took the role acting for Hermes, fielding City real estate partner Gill McGreevy as lead adviser. She was joined by London property partners Jackie Newstead and Michael Stancombe and associates Sarah Brown and Sheena Ray.

Investment funds partner James McDonald and associate Amelia Hulme advised Hermes on the corporate transaction involved in the deal.

The mandate was a scoop for Hogan Lovells, which was not appointed to Hermes’ panel five years ago after a review that gave roster places to Berwin Leighton Paisner, Lawrence Graham, Maxwell Winward and Nabarro (4 April 2007). Nabarro won the role for Hermes opposite SJ Berwin on its £141.5m sale of Stephenson Harwood’s offices to Invesco Real Estate last year (27 June 2011).

SJ Berwin corporate real estate partner Michael Goldberg, meanwhile, won the role from longstanding client Westfield on the latest deal without the need for a pitch process.

Westfield frequently uses SJ Berwin for sizeable corporate real estate deals and rival Ashurst for large core property deals.

For instance, the major sale of its stake in the Stratford shopping centre next to the 2012 Olympic Park gave roles to SJ Berwin as corporate real estate advisers and Ashurst as property lawyers.

SJ Berwin’s relationship with Westfield in this area dates back to a 2006 beauty parade, following which Goldberg advised the group on its joint venture with Queensland Investment Corporation, which had bought Westfield’s 50 per cent interest in the Merry Hill shopping centre in Birmingham. Berwin Leighton Paisner acted for Westfield on the property side of that deal, while Freshfields advised on tax.

Freshfields secured the tax role again on the Hermes deal, fielding London partner Colin Hargreaves, who has taken the relationship over from fellow partner Robert Kent.