Shoosmiths advises leading private equity houses on circa £75m exit

Shoosmiths advises leading private equity houses on circa £75m exit

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Author: Kara Shadbolt

National law firm Shoosmiths has advised Palatine Private Equity and Bridgepoint Development Capital on the successful exit of their investment in Hallmark Hotels Group.

Mark Dawson
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Mark Dawson

Palatine together with Bridgepoint established the Hallmark Hotels Group in October 2007 to pursue a buy-and-build strategy of acquiring underperforming three-star hotels and converting them into four-star luxury hotels. Since then the group has made eight acquisitions of hotels in Manchester, Carlisle, Derby, Bournemouth, Hull, Croydon and Gloucester and grown into a recognised name in quality hotels. Shoosmiths has advised the group on the last two of these acquisitions (corporate partner Mark Dawson having brought Hallmark as a client from his previous firm where he acted on the initial investment and the other acquisitions).

This transaction sees the Hallmark Hotels Group which now consists of eight four-star hotels across the UK acquired in a circa £75m deal by Topland Hotels - one of the UK's biggest privately-owned property companies with a portfolio valued at £4bn.

The Shoosmiths transaction team was led by partners Mark Dawson and Karen Procter (corporate) with support from solicitor Kelly Harvey (corporate), senior associate Tom Wilde (tax) and partner Karen Fletcher (employment); while the property aspects were lead by partner Andrew Pattinson (real estate).

Hallmark Hotels is the fourth successful exit from Palatine's maiden fund following the sales of Air Energi in 2012 and XLN Telecom in 2010 (on which Shoosmiths also advised).

Shoosmiths corporate partner, Mark Dawson, said: 'Today's completion represents a further success story for Manchester's thriving private equity community and Shoosmiths are proud to have acted on behalf of Palatine and Bridgepoint to achieve this significant return.'

Ed Fazakerly, partner at Palatine, said: 'It has been a pleasure to work with the Shoosmiths team again on this sale which is a significant transaction for us. The support and patience shown by all at Shoosmiths was greatly appreciated.'

Mark Stroud, partner at Bridgepoint, said: 'thanks for your and your wider teams efforts in completing this exit despite some challenges along the way - a great result in getting this over the line.'

With more than 70 corporate lawyers nationally Shoosmiths is widely recognised for its expertise in advising on private equity deals. The team acts for a number of leading private equity houses and venture capital investors, as well as advising on equity and debt restructuring, early stage and secondary funding and acting for management teams. Shoosmiths track record for private equity includes advising on establishing funds, making investments, developing a portfolio including 'buy and build' structures, restructuring and exit provisions.

This deal adds to Topland's 22 UK hotels, which include Bath's Royal Crescent Hotel and other property including London and regional offices, high street retail, shopping centres and rented housing.