MULTIPLEX GROUP sold Goldfields House in Sydney for $274.1 million to Valad Property Group, as announced 26 June. Multiplex, an integrated property group with operations in construction, development and property funds management, had been plagued by problems with Wembley Stadium, one of its key projects in London, and its recent share dip. But this sale has been considered a coup.
Deacons, which is a tenant of Goldfields House, acted for Multiplex Group. Partner Lexia Wilson of Deacons’ property group led the team of three. Solicitor Katherine Watson worked on due diligence, supervised by senior associate Catherine Bray who also helped Wilson with the contractual negotiations.
“We did a short due diligence period of three weeks — it was a tight time frame as the client wanted to get it tied up before 30 June, so there was a tremendous amount to do. In the end we had it done with a week to spare.”
The team, which works together often, has a good synergy going, said Wilson, who also said it was her personal preference to work with a small team as it can be more efficient, and better at fast turnaround. “It’s better to have a small amount of people knowing a lot, than a lot of people each knowing a little bit of the matter. If a question comes up, I may not have the answer myself but I know where we can find the answers.”
Wilson added that clients often prefer dealing with a smaller team to being sent a bill with names on it that they don’t even recognise. “Our client had contact with all three of us, and they know that if they ring one of us up with a question, we’ll be able to get the answer to them.”
It often happens, in the sale of buildings in Sydney, that documents aren’t in perfect order, said Wilson. “Issues arise with missing documents. That’s all in a day’s work. You will be in the middle of a transaction and tenancy agreements may change, and you have to manage that.”
This time, there was extra work to do because Multiplex Property Trust had acquired the building, not as property on market, but as part of Ronin Trust, which it had acquired for $1.3 billion in 2004. “At the time [of acquiring the trust] they hadn’t done proper due diligence, so there was a lot of work needed to get the records necessary for the sale. We needed to do a mini due diligence beforehand,” said Wilson.
Bronwyn Badcock and Les Koltai of Blake Dawson Waldron acted for Valad.