Macfarlanes advises new real estate investment client on debut UK deal

The Principal London hotel

Macfarlanes is advising new real estate investment client Fonciere des Regions on its £858m purchase of a portfolio of UK hotels from private equity fund Starwood Capital.

The deal – which marks the French company’s debut in the UK market – has seen it acquire 14 four- and five-star hotels in cities such as London, Oxford, Birmingham and Leeds, including The Principal London in Russell Square.

Fonciere des Regions, which is based in Paris, holds €13bn worth of residential and commercial property assets, and is looking to expand its business into the hotels and service sector.

The company is a new client for Macfarlanes, which is fielding a team led by real estate partner Dominic Cunliffe and corporate partner Simon Perry on the deal, which is expected to complete next month.

Corporate partner Nicholas Barclay, tax partner Mark Baldwin and non-contentious construction and engineering head Angus Dawson are also advising.

Cunliffe commented: “The firm’s hotels practice is perfectly placed to deliver on high-value, complex transactions like this where cross-practice collaboration is vital. Being able to build the trust of a new internationally-focused client quickly was also essential to the success of the deal.”

Meanwhile, Paul Hastings is advising longstanding client Starwood Capital on the sale.

The US firm is fielding a City-based team led by London real estate partner Michael James and including finance partner Justin Jowitt, corporate partner Garrett Hayes, tax partner Arun Birla and employment partner Suzanne Horne.

The firm also advised Starwood in 2014 on its acquisition of UK hotel and conference centre operator De Vere Venues for about £231m, and UK hotel owner and operator Four Pillars Hotels for about £90m the same year. Hayes was part of the team advising on the latter deal.