Hogan Lovells Advises on Sale of Iconic BBC Television Centre

LONDON, 20 July 2012 - Hogan Lovells has advised the BBC on the sale for an initial price of £200 million of its iconic Television Centre in London's White City to a consortium led by one of the UK's leading developers, Stanhope PLC, and backed by Canada's Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) and Mitsui Fudosan of Japan. The deal exchanged on Saturday 14 July and completed on Friday 20 July.

The 14 acre site first opened on 29 June 1960 as the BBC's first purpose-built centre for television production and became recognised around the world as a symbol of integrity and independence. Its unusual design is based on a question mark. Famed television programmes that have been recorded there include Fawlty Towers, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Blue Peter, Absolutely Fabulous, Doctor Who and Strictly Come Dancing.  The BBC is relocating the bulk of its operations to Broadcasting House in Portland Place, London, and to Media City in Salford.

Stanhope has bought the site for guaranteed sale price of £200 million, plus a share of any future profits, and has acquired a long leasehold interest in BBC Television Centre. The BBC will also benefit from future overage payments and will retain a continued presence at Television Centre.

The BBC and Stanhope will work together on the initial planning and development of the site, plans for which include a vibrant mix of leisure, office and residential uses. The listed elements of Television Centre will be retained and enhanced, including the instantly recognisable exterior view. Stanhope's funding partners, Mitsui Fudosan and AIMCo, are both blue-chip, well-funded and experienced development partners.

A key part of the transaction has been securing the BBC's legacy and long term occupation by its commercial arms, BBC Worldwide, BBC Studios and Post Production, who will become anchor tenants on the site. They will move from their current base in the W12 Media Village and lease refurbished office and entertainment space in the completed scheme from 2014/15, and will be amongst the first parts to go-live at the re-purposed site, located at the front of the building overlooking Wood Lane.

Working alongside, Peter Farrell, Head of Legal and Business Affairs, BBC Property, the Hogan Lovells team advising the BBC was led by Chair Nicholas Cheffings and London real estate partner Dion Panambalana, supported by a real estate team led by Of Counsel Oliver Chamberlain and including senior associates Kate Turnbull, Graham Cutts and Simon Keen. Partner Michael Gallimore and Of Counsel Claire Fallows provided planning advice and partner Philip Gershuny and senior associate Aaron Burchell advised on structuring and tax.

Commenting on the transaction, Nicholas Cheffings said:

"We are thrilled to have worked alongside the BBC team on the successful sale of this London landmark and to have helped achieve such a great outcome for the BBC and the licence fee payers. It is an imaginative solution for an iconic site. Sitting alongside Westfield London, Television Centre represents prime London real estate in a rapidly developing area of West London and we look forward to seeing it successfully developed."

Chief Operating Officer, Dominic Coles, who was the BBC's lead negotiator said:

"The support that the BBC has had from the Hogan Lovells team on this deal has been exceptional. Whether in helping us structure the transaction or in working through the night to get it over the line on time, they always delivered. Their experience and their willingness to take a view have been invaluable to us and it has been a pleasure to work with a team who were as committed as we were to making the deal happen."

The consortium was advised by Macfarlanes, led by partner Ian Nisse.

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