$2bn US malls deal succeeds with HSF’s advice

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Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) is the international counsel of the Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) in a multi-billion-dollar malls acquisition in the US.

The firm is acting for QIC, which agreed to buy the stake of its joint venture partner, Forest City Realty Trust, in 10 regional shopping malls in the US.

The US$1.55bn (AU$2bn) transaction values the 10 malls at about US$3.175bn (AU$4bn). Expected to close by the end of the year subject to third-party consents, the transaction comprises two components. The first tranche involves six malls in California, Colorado, Florida, New York state, and Pennsylvania. In the second tranche of the transaction, subject to certain conditions, malls that are located in California, Nevada, and Virginia are expected to be acquired.

The HSF team is led by partner Michael Back, who is assisted by consultant David Stitt and senior associate Alanna Bolger.

This HSF team acted as international counsel on the initial 2013 transaction, which formed the joint venture between QIC and Forest City. It also acted in the joint venture’s acquisition of stakes in several malls in 2015 and 2016.

“QIC has significantly increased its international real estate portfolio as a result of this transaction, which demonstrates the company’s growing real estate knowledge in the U.S. retail sector,” Back said.

QIC’s primary counsel is elite New York firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.Cox, Castle & Nicholson is acting on property level matters.

QIC is a long-standing HSF client. In August, the firm confirmed its role advising QIC in the $800m redevelopment of a Melbourne precinct and the $722.5m sale of the MLC Centre in Sydney.

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