Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Uría Menéndez have led on the deal which will see Blackstone purchase a majority stake in Banco Popular’s €30bn (£27.2bn) real estate portfolio.
The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, will see the private equity giants transfer the portfolio to a new company of which it will own 51 per cent with Popular holding the remaining 49 per cent when it closes in early 2018.
Simpson Thacher advised long-standing client Blackstone on the deal with its team led by real estate partner Wheatly MacNamara and finance partner Tom Lloyd. The firm was supported by Garrigues, which provided Spanish counsel on the deal.
Popular was advised by Uría M&A partners Juan Miguel Goenechea, Manuel Echenique and Luis Acuña, tax partners Rafael García Llaneza and David López and banking partner Ángel Pérez López.
The agreement was reached following approval from the European Union Directorate for Competition after a statement in June from its competition authorities declared the lender as “failing or likely to fail”.
The troubled Spanish bank was bought by Banco Santander from the nominal sum of €1 and promised to move its real estate assets on after the purchase. Popular was understood to have €37bn (£33.5bn) in toxic assets and this move sees a considerable amount of that taken off the bank’s books.
A valuation of the bank’s Spanish assets totaled around €10bn (£9.1bn) which will make Blackstone of Spain’s largest real estate investors. However, the final valuation is subject to change.
Simpson Thacher has a long history with Blackstone thanks to its real estate matters with MacNamara and Lloyd, having acted for the company when it sold its warehouses and logistics arm Logicor to the Chinese sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation (CIC) in a deal valued at €12bn.
According to data from The Lawyer Market Intelligence (LMI), Simpson Thacher has represented Blackstone in nearly 60 deals involving real estate, intellectual property and insurance among others.
Blackstone also purchased a majority interest in flexible working space providers The Office Group for £500m in June. Clifford Chance acted for Blackstone in this instance.
Blackstone global head of real estate Jon Gray said: “This significant investment reflects our continued confidence in the robust recovery of the Spanish economy. We are delighted to partner with Santander to maximise the long term value of the portfolio.”
Simpson Thacher and Uria Menendez declined to comment at this time.