FREEMASONS VICTORIA decided to sell its two hospital campuses in inner-East Melbourne, which were bought by the Epworth Foundation for an undisclosed amount. Holding Redlich, who acted for Epworth, said it had been a once in a lifetime opportunity to create the largest not-for-profit private hospital operation in the Melbourne metropolitan area.
Holding Redlich partner Michael Linehan said that the bid process was one of the most interesting he’d been involved with. Epworth led a consortium including ING Real Estate Management, and the vendors were two separate Freemason entities. “By nature the Freemasons are secretive, and a very old organisation,” Linehan said.
“They have a particular way of doing things, completely different from the corporate vendors I’m used to dealing with. Establishing the history of ownership and getting independent verification was a challenge.”
The firm conducted due diligence “to the extent we could”, though it was not easy, said Linehan, to get copies of trust deeds and other documents about how and where the property was acquired. “We had to think of more original ways to deal with issues normally dealt with in a more procedural way,” he said.
Phillips Fox’s Richard Moshinsky and Tom Cantwell acted for the Freemasons.