Australia’s largest property deal of 2019 between Urbanest and Scape Australia has completed over a telephone call, in what legal and consulting firm MinterEllison says shows how business is adapting to working in the current COVID-19 environment.
Wissam Abwi, M&A partner at MinterEllison, and co-lead on the deal said: “Despite the challenges brought by COVID-19 in the closing weeks of the deal, the acquisition of Urbanest’s large student accommodation portfolio successfully closed last Friday.”
The deal completion was run electronically over a call, which is highly unusual for a deal of this size.
Leah Wright, property partner at MinterEllison and co-lead on the transaction, praised her team for adapting quickly to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions: “As the deal came to a close, there were logistical challenges involved in preparing documents for signing while in lockdown. All parties had to be accommodating under the circumstances, including a reliance on confirmations and undertakings.”
While the real estate market is likely to experience significant challenges in the wake of COVID-19, the firm said that the successful completion of a deal of this size, augers well for other transactions that are currently, or soon to be, in play.
“Closing a $2 billion deal such as Urbanest that had complex regulatory challenges, in what were difficult circumstances, demonstrates that parties who adapt quickly to COVID-19 restrictions and work together with common purpose, will continue to complete deals in a timely manner,” said Abwi.