UK - Retailers Tesco and Marks & Spencer have selected advisers for two sale-and-leaseback deals involving their UK property portfolios.
Law firms Forsters and Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) are advising a 50/50 joint venture between the BA Pension Fund and Tesco that will enable the UK retailer to realise £445m from its domestic property portfolio. The joint venture is part of Tesco's strategy to return £5bn on its freehold property over a 20-year period.
As a deal structure, it was "nothing special", according to Craig Eadie, head of corporate law at Forsters.
"This kind of deal is known in the market," he said. "The only thing that changes is stamp duty, which changes every year." The deal, which covers 16 of the retailer's properties, took "around a month" to complete.
"It was new for Tesco, but others have done it," Eadie added. "It's like a sale-and-leaseback deal but Tesco are keeping part of the interest themselves."
In a separate development, Marks & Spencer has appointed Slaughter & May and Linklaters to advise on a property partnership designed to plug a pension gap of more than £700m in its pension fund.
The retailer is to channel UK properties worth £1bn into the property partnership.
Like Tesco, M&S will retain control over the properties under the deal - including the option of substituting portfolio properties.