Corrs Chambers Westgarth acted for Foster’s Group Limited in the $845 million sale of the company’s land development arm, Lensworth, to the Stockland Group.
Lensworth is a leading developer of master planned residential communities in southeast Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
Corrs partner Simon Morris said the transaction was successfully turned around within one week of final offers being received.
With 6,600 hectares of land, Lensworth was considered Australia’s largest available land bank at the time of the sale, Morris said.
“The transaction included consideration of alternative proposals for the rationalisation of the Lensworth assets; preparation of an information memorandum for submission to appropriate trade purchasers; development of standard sale documentation; and negotiation and finalisation of the transaction,” he said.
The transaction was a challenging one due to its size, the short time frame available, and the fact that there were three negotiations going on at once, Morris said.
However, it was carried off well, with all parties pleased it had been carried out smoothly to a quick conclusion, he added.
The deal could be seen as a defensive play by Stockland Group, which wouldn’t have wanted to see a competitor secure Lensworth and its considerable land bank.
From Foster’s perspective, the disposal of its “non-core assets” had helped the group in concentrating on the beverage industry, and assisting the launch of its takeover offer for Southcorp.
The transaction team was headed by Morris, who practises with the firm’s corporate advisory group, with the assistance of David Hallam, Naomi Porter and Teresa Chong from the corporate practice; Alan Hall from the property practice; and Reynah Tang from the revenue practice. The Corrs team assisted Foster’s in collaboration with financial advisers Ernst & Young, Goldman Sachs JBWere and Deutsche Bank. The transaction was completed in December 2004.