MinterEllison aids in closing the biggest property deal of 2019 over the phone

The firm says that the success of the transaction “shows how business is adapting to working in the current COVID-19 environment”

MinterEllison aids in closing the biggest property deal of 2019 over the phone

MinterEllison has aided in closing the biggest property deal of 2019—over the phone.

The massive $2bn transaction involved the acquisition of Urbanest’s student accommodation portfolio by Scape Australia. Urbanest is the longest-running student accommodation provider in Australia, and its large portfolio includes over 6,800 beds across 14 assets in several states.

In light of COVID-19 movement restrictions, the parties worked out the deal through a call, which MinterEllison said was “highly unusual for a deal of this size.”

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The parties also had to make concessions when it came to paperwork.

“As the deal came to a close, there were logistical challenges involved in preparing documents for signing while in lockdown. All parties had to be accommodating under the circumstances, including a reliance on confirmations and undertakings,” said MinterEllison property partner Leah Wright.

The transaction wrapped up on 1 May, and the use of teleconferencing in the process “shows how business is adapting to working in the current COVID-19 environment,” the firm said.

MinterEllison acted for Urbanest by managing the competitive sale process, as well as negotiating the complicated deal through various considerations. Wright led the firm’s multidisciplinary team alongside M&A partner Wissam Abwi.

The firm said that the successful handling of the transaction with remote technology bodes well for upcoming deals that may have to be handled this way.

“Closing a $2bn deal such as Urbanest that had complex regulatory challenges, in what were difficult circumstances, demonstrates that parties who adapt quickly to COVID-19 restrictions and work together with common purpose, will continue to complete deals in a timely manner,” Abwi said.

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