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HSF helps CBA on exit deal

HSF helps CBA on exit deal

Herbert Smith Freehills landed the key role advising the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) on its exit from property funds and property asset management platforms.

Firms: Herbert Smith Freehills (CBA); Ashurst (CFS Retail Property Trust Group); King & Wood Mallesons (DEXUS); Russell McVeagh (New Zealand legal counsel for the CBA); Simpson Grierson (Trustee on the New Zealand Income Property Trust deal)

Deal: CBA withdraws from property funds management and property asset platform

Value: $3.475 billion

Area: Corporate

Key Players: Noted HSF M&A partner Tony Damian (pictured) led the HSF team, with support from consultant Jim Graham, executive counsel Nicole Underhill, senior associate Clayton James, and solicitors Yorick Ng and Alexandra Eggerking. The HSF team worked closely with the CBA in-house team, led by David Cohen, the group general counsel of CBA, and senior legal counsels Derek Culey and Kelly Brown. Ashurst, King & Wood Mallesons, Russell McVeagh and Simpson Grierson were also involved

Deal Significance: This deal was played out over many months and had multiple layers to it. The exit involved the separation of four distinct and well-established businesses from the CBA Group and transitioning each of these to new owners. HSF assisted with the transfer of around 800 employees from the CFS Retail Property Trust Group (CFX) to the new CFX Group, with the internalisation of the management rights of the CFX and the sale of various entities netting $475 million. HSF also provided advice to the CBA with regard to two competing take private bids for the Commonwealth Office Property Fund (CPA), with the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board eventually successful in securing the CPA for $3 billion. There was also a rival bid from the DEXUS property Group. “While internalisations are common in the property sector, the sheer size and complexity of CBA’s platform, along with the competitive bids for CPA, presented unique challenges,” said Tony Damian. “We are delighted to have advised CBA on these significant transactions.”





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