Birketts advises on sale of leading independent property developer
28 March 2022
Birketts played a supporting role, appointed as co-counsel to act in relation to the property, planning and construction aspects of the deal.
Founded in 1985, HHL, award-winning Hopkins Homes is the largest privately owned housebuilder in East Anglia providing homes throughout Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex.
London-based Terra Firma, established by Guy Hands in 1994, has a diverse portfolio of investments, managing and advising its own investment funds, and acting as an advisor to a variety of other investment partners, including family offices and private individuals.
This multi-faceted deal comprised a complex intra-group reorganisation, the exercising and completion of numerous land options and vendor due diligence in relation to every facet of HLL’s business. The deal was highly complex and required the reorganisation of assets, including land interests, joint venture agreements, collaboration agreements, land options and construction contracts.
In just one month and at the height of the property industry’s pre-Christmas rush, Birketts exercised and completed numerous land options as well as preparing, negotiating, agreeing and issuing nearly 100 certificates of title.
The Birketts team was led by Partner and Head of the Ipswich Property Team, Stephen Sumpton. Project management assistance was provided by Eleni Wilce and additional support came from across Birketts’ five offices, including Partner and Head of New Build Team Chris Hoxley, Legal Director in Birketts’ Real Estate Finance Team Nick Pickersgill, Commercial Property Partner Paul Squire, Head of Property Litigation, Partner James Robinson, Partner and Head of Planning, Tom Newcombe and Corporate Associate Emma Bysouth.
Birketts collaborated closely with Osborne Clarke, led by Ed Pearse.
Client Partner for HHL and Head of Birketts’ Property Department, Partner Chris Schwer commented: “The sale of a house builder is always extremely complex and challenging but I am delighted to say that the strength in depth of expertise across the firm meant that Birketts was able to rise to the challenge and meet this demanding timetable. Birketts have provided exclusive property counsel to Hopkins Homes Limited for many years and we are proud to reach another impressive milestone in our long-standing relationship.”
HHL concluded: “We needed a firm we could absolutely trust to handle the property, planning and construction aspects this highly complex and time critical project calmly and confidently. Birketts’ understanding of our business as well as the needs and expectations of the buyer, and their ability to field a large and highly capable team were key to the success of the project. It was a remarkable performance, under extreme pressure, with the deal eventually signed in the small hours of Christmas Day. The collaboration between Birketts and our wider advisory team was an outstanding feat of teamwork and project management.”