Hogan Lovells Advises Morrisons on Multi-Million Pound Leasehold Liability Transfer

LONDON, 9 March 2012 - Hogan Lovells advised Morrisons on the successful transfer of 28 lease liabilities and associated management responsibility to Surplus Property Solutions (SPS) in a multi-million pound deal announced on 29 February 2012.

The transfer of the surplus portfolio, comprising unused retail and commercial properties around the UK, incorporates the transfer of all risks and obligations relating to the portfolio and enables Morrisons to focus on its core operational estates.

The Hogan Lovells team advising Morrisons was led by real estate partner Nicholas Cheffings supported by partner John Condliffe and associate Julia Heyn, tax senior associate Lee Squires and banking associate Liz Fuller.

Commenting on the transaction, Nicholas said:

“Having worked on the majority of the major leasehold liability transfers of the last decade or so, we are delighted to have had the opportunity to advise Morrisons. The leasehold liability transfer to SPS provides the ideal solution to the problem of having properties which are redundant, allowing our client to focus its resources on its expanding portfolio of successful stores. The closure of the transaction also demonstrates that the market for deals such as this is continuing to develop".

Charles McKendrick, Head of Asset Management at Morrisons, said

“This deal enables our Estates team to focus on our sizeable store portfolio where we are continually striving to deliver a great retail experience for our customers. Thanks to the Hogan Lovells team we can now do this in the knowledge that the experts at SPS are aligned with our interest of driving redundant property costs out of our business.”

Gordons and MacRoberts advised on due diligence and Berwin Leighton Paisner advised SPS.

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