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Centro's bad news good news for law firms

Centro's bad news good news for law firms

Eight law firms have advised on the latest phase of the reconstruction of property group Centro.Allens Arthur Robinson and Freehills advised the retail investment and management organisation…

Eight law firms have advised on the latest phase of the reconstruction of property group Centro.

Allens Arthur Robinson and Freehills advised the retail investment and management organisation Centro Properties Group(CNP) on the proposed restructure and aggregation of Centro Retail Group (CER) and certain Centro unlisted funds, to form a new listed Australian property fund (AREIT).

As previously reported by Lawyers Weekly, Freehills advised the debt-laden CNP in March after it announced the $US9.4 billion ($9.1 billion) sale of its managed funds of US assets to a fund managed by private equity house Blackstone Group, advised by Gilbert + Tobin.

Centro's former directors have since faced Federal Court for failing to notice multi-billion dollar errors in the company's accounts.

Under the latest agreement (announced Tuesday 9 August) CNP will cancel its senior debt in exchange for stapled securities in the new AREIT.

The deal, valued at $3.1 billion, will take place through an aggregation transaction, pursuant to a creditors' scheme of arrangement, and is subject to a number of regulatory and stakeholder approvals.

Partners Simon Lynch, Craig Henderson and Penny Nikoloudis, led the Allens team which included lawyers from across the firms M&A, banking and financial, tax, and corporate insolvency and restructuring practice.

Lynch said his team has been working on the "demanding and complex" matter for the past four years.

The complexity of the Centro group had impacted CNP's ability to undertake any significant restructuring or recapitalisation to date, said Henderson, who added that he was pleased the deal delivered value to the CNP senior lenders.

Clayton Utz and Maddocks advised CER, while Johnson, Winter & Slattery acted for Direct Property Fund and Centro Australia Wholesale Fund.

McMahon Clarke also advised CNP while Arnold Bloch Leibler and Bracewell & Giuliani advised the majority of the CNP senior lender group.

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Centro's bad news good news for law firms
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