Law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has advised its longstanding client Grainger plc, the UK’s largest listed residential landlord, on its £57m acquisition of The Forge, a well-known private rented sector development based in Forth Banks, Newcastle.
With deep roots in Newcastle, Grainger had been looking to invest in the city for some time and this represents its first significant purpose built private rented sector (“PRS”) scheme acquisition in Newcastle. The deal was completed through a share purchase with the target company based in Luxembourg.
A multi-disciplinary and cross office team of WBD lawyers advised Grainger on the transaction, led out of the Newcastle office by real estate partner Tom Willows, corporate partner Ben Butler, corporate legal director Iain Pritty and corporate associate David Ridley. The firm provided key legal expertise across a range of issues including real estate, corporate, construction, planning, commercial and employment.
This is the second acquisition the WBD team advised Grainger on in the past month with Tom Willows’ team acting for the client last May on its acquisition of a build to rent development in Derby for c.£36m.
Tom Willows said: “It has been a pleasure working with Grainger on its first major PRS scheme acquisition in Newcastle, representing an exciting addition to Grainger’s UK portfolio. There were complex aspects to this deal as well as some logistical hurdles with key players based out of the UK but our ability to provide a cross-discipline, full legal service coupled with our knowledge of the private rented sector meant we were able to secure the best possible outcome for our client.”
Andrew Saunderson, Director of Investment, at Grainger, said: “Newcastle was an obvious gap in our portfolio and therefore we are thrilled with our exciting acquisition of The Forge, which was only recently completed and is already tenanted. This shows the strength of build to rent in Newcastle and the wider North East region where we see recently completed schemes trading successfully.
“We’re very grateful to the WBD team for all their hard work and commitment to this project. The firm is our long-standing trusted adviser, having acted for us on many transactions over the years and are well versed in the key issues affecting our sector. The team consistently exhibit their expertise and confidence, finding innovative solutions to navigate complex issues.”
As the largest law firm in the North East, WBD has deep roots in the region and its largest UK office of around 450 professionals is based in Newcastle. The firm is committed to playing its part in the future prosperity of the North East and Cumbria by using its local, national and international reach and expertise to benefit the region’s leading sectors, businesses, people and organisations.
Ranking in the UK’s top 20 law firms, WBD provides legal expertise in eleven key sectors from across seven offices in the UK and 19 offices in the US. The firm’s real estate client portfolio in the UK includes Grainger, Patrizia Property Investment Managers, BMO Global Asset Management, Moorfield Group, Commercial Estates Group, Morgan Sindall, Taylor Wimpey, RentPlus and Places for People.