Debevoise Advises on Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, Westfield Deals
Debevoise & Plimpton kicked off the week by nabbing two deals: advising the Westfield Group on its sale of seven shopping centers to an affiliate of the Starwood Capital Group and representing private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice on its purchase of Harsco Corporation’s infrastructure division.
Australia-based Westfield is selling the shopping centers--including three in Ohio, two in California, one in Washington and one in Indiana—to Greenwich, Connecticut–based investment firm Starwood for $1.64 billion. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year, after which Westfield will retain a 10 percent interest in the shopping centers.
The company sees the transaction as part of its larger plan to sell off its noncore properties for capital that it will then use to invest in higher-return properties. Westfield has already invested in several high-return real estate projects, including a July 2012 joint venture with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, in which it agreed to pay $612.5 million for a 50 percent stake in retail property at the World Trade Center.
The Debevoise team representing Westfield on the Starwood deal is led by real estate partner Nicole Mesard, and includes real estate counsel Seth Saideman, as well as real estate associates Brian Hirsch, Ethan Marcovici, and Tulani Thaw, and corporate associate Cara Soffer.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom is counseling Westfield on tax matters, with tax partner David Polster and tax associate Sarah Ralph advising.
Debevoise has represented Westfield numerous times in the past, including its joint venture with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. And just last year it advised the company in another sale of eight U.S. shopping centers to Starwood for $1.15 billion.
Debevoise also represented Westfield in August 2007 when it bought two shopping centers in Miami for $400 million from SPG–FCM Ventures, and simultaneously sold four shopping centers in St. Louis in two separate transactions to Chattanooga, Tennessee–based real estate investment trust CBL & Associates Properties for $1.04 billion. In May 2006 the firm advised Westfield on its sale of eight regional shopping centers to Centro Properties Group and Somera Capital Management for a combined total of $550 million.
Meanwhile, Starwood retained the counsel of Kirkland & Ellis and Paul Hastings on the Westfield deal. Kirkland’s team was headed by real estate partners Jonathan Schechter and Travis Fleming and also included real estate partners Edward Schneidman, Andrew Shiner, and Scott Berger as well as tax partner William Levy.
Paul Hastings’s team was led by real estate partners David Viklund, Ted Smith, and Gregory Spitzer.
Earlier this year, Paul Hastings advised Starwood on its July acquisition of Maryland-based lodging chain InTown Hospitality Corp for $735 million. The firm also represented Starwood in its $80 million refinancing of the Hyatt Regency in downtown Houston in November 2011.