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