Arnold Bloch Leibler acted for the Besen family on its sale of a 50 per cent stake in the Highpoint Shopping Centre in Melbourne. One of Australia’s most significant retail assets, the Highpoint stake was purchased by the General Property Trust (GPT) for $621.2 million. Allens Arthur Robinson acted for the buyer, which also acquired management rights to the Centre.
Arnold Bloch Leibler’s role in the transaction included preparation of initial documents for all bidding parties, the negotiation of further documentation with shortlisted parties and finalising and settling transactions with GPT. The team was led by managing partner Henry Lanzer, head of banking and finance Stephen Sharp, with specialist advice from Pauline Grodski and Ken Gray.
While the transaction was very competitive, with a number of potential, and sophisticated, purchases involved, it was important for the family to not just strive for the highest possible price, but to account for the fact that there would be an ongoing businessrelationship with the buyer.
Lanzer said many of Australia’s significant family businesses were undergoing major structural changes as they prepared for intergenerational change. “We are seeing the divestment of core assets and a move towards the introduction of sophisticated investment vehicles. The Highpoint sale is representative of this trend.”
The Besen family is one of Arnold Bloch Leibler’s longstanding clients, and the firm has advised them on numerous transactions, including the sale of Whitehorse Plaza and Chatswood Chase. In 2004 the firm acted for the Besens on the sale of its Suzanne Group (comprising 488 Sportsgirl, Sussan and Suzanne Grae retail outlets), to company CEO Naomi Milgrom.
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