Towering deals: Allens acts on sale of nine Australian office buildings

By Vijay Cugati
Mergers & Acquisitions Property & Development

Allens is acting for Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing and Investa Property Group on the sale of nine premium office towers in what is reported to be the biggest-ever direct real estate transaction in Australia's history.

Under the deal, which closed last week, Chinese sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation purchased Investa Property Trust's portfolio of nine premium Australian office towers. The deal is reported to be the biggest sell-side property transaction globally so far in 2015.

The nine office towers are predominantly located in Sydney, including 126 Phillip St, 225 George St, 400 George St, 255 Elizabeth St, 31 Market St and 55 Market St. There were also office towers at North Sydney (80 Pacific Hwy), Brisbane (410 Ann St) and Melbourne (120 Collins St).

The Allens team on the matter was led by Partners Mark Stubbings (Real Estate) and Vijay Cugati (Corporate/M&A). They were supported by a large team, including Partners Charles Armitage (Tax), Adrian Chek (Stamp Duty), Jo Folan (Banking), Marc Kemp (Funds), Jeremy Low (Corporate/M&A), Stuart McCulloch (Corporate/M&A), Veronica Siow (Employment) and Malcolm Stephens (Litigation). Lead team members included Apoorva Suryaprakash (Corporate/M&A), Alex Feros (Corporate/M&A), Kim Manns (Real Estate), Lucy Woodruff (Real Estate), Tom Tian (Tax) and Victoria Johns (Banking).

Mark Stubbings said the deal highlighted the firm's ability to act on complex real estate M&A deals, as typified by a string of significant recent matters. These matters have included the merger of Novion and Federation Centres, acting for Singapore's GIC Real Estate and Frasers Property Australia on their $1 billion-plus sale of a portfolio of 26 industrial distribution centres to Ascendas, and Frasers Property Australia's takeover of Australand.

'The sale transaction was complex, involving a competitive sales process that began in February this year and involved an initial invitation to almost 100 international real estate investors,' Mark said.

Vijay Cugati said that the deal reinforces the strong appetite that foreign investors have for quality Australian real estate assets.

'CIC outbid many of the leading global real estate investors, showing the continuing strong interest for major global investors to enter the Australian real estate market,' Vijay said.

Allens legal team

Mark Stubbings (Real Estate), Vijay Cugati (Corporate/M&A), Charles Armitage (Tax), Adrian Chek (Stamp Duty), Jo Folan (Banking), Marc Kemp (Funds), Jeremy Low (Corporate/M&A), Stuart McCulloch (Corporate/M&A), Veronica Siow (Employment), Malcolm Stephens (Litigation), Apoorva Suryaprakash (Corporate/M&A), Alex Feros (Corporate/M&A), Kimberley Chikitch (Corporate/M&A), Kim Manns (Real Estate), Lucy Woodruff (Real Estate), Nicola Lord (Real Estate), Hugh McMicking (Real Estate), Peter Brennan (Real Estate), Tom Tian (Tax), Judith Taylor (Tax), Victoria Johns (Banking)


Notes for editors.

Allens is a commercial law firm working throughout Australia and Asia. Through its integrated alliance with Linklaters it provides clients access to 40 offices in 28 countries around the world.