BLP Germany advises on the largest-ever platform transfer in Europe

International law firm, Berwin Leighton Paisner, advised Mount Street Mortgage Servicing Limited (“Mount Street”) on the acquisition of EAA Portfolio Advisers GmbH (“EPA”), the largest platform transfer ever completed in Europe. EPA is the portfolio manager of Erste Abwicklungsanstalt (“EAA”) with assets under management of €29bn.

BLP’s multi-disciplinary team advised Mount Street on this transaction which was conducted subject to applicable regulations on public tender and procurement. Furthermore BLP supported Mount Street to renegotiate the portfolio management agreement for EPA in regards to their continued services to EAA. With assets under management of €29bn, this platform transfer and management contract is by far the largest of its kind ever completed in Europe.

EAA was founded at the end of 2009 as a public law agency under the German Financial Market Stabilisation Fund Act to manage the assets of former WestLB AG, at that time Germany’s largest Landesbank, and wind-down the bank’s portfolio of more than EUR 200bn comprising a diverse range of complex non-performing loans, ABS, leveraged credit, asset finance and structured finance assets.

EPA is the portfolio manager and a fully owned subsidiary of EAA providing them with portfolio management services across all asset classes (liquid and illiquid) over the last seven years and has enabled EAA to reduce the outstanding balance to approximately €29bn.

Mount Street will take over EPA including approximately 90 employees at their headquarters in Düsseldorf as well as their other branches in London, Madrid and New York, following regulatory approval, expected in the first half of 2017.

Founded in 1997, for Mount Street the acquisition of EPA is a key strategic investment to strengthen its market position and gain scale for sustainable growth. With this acquisition, Mount Street adds portfolio management of diversified performing and non-performing credits to commercial real estate loans and bonds that it currently manages for 175 global investors, bringing the total assets under management to over €55bn.

Ravi Joseph, CEO and co-founder, commented: “For the Mount Street brand, this transaction reaffirms our pre-eminent credentials as the counterparty of choice for banks and state entities considering strategic transactions of this nature.”

Thomas Prüm, Partner in Frankfurt said: “With the acquisition of EPA, Mount Street is going to build a leading platform for asset and loan management services. We are honoured and proud that BLP could assist Mount Street on that landmark transaction and contribute to on-building a major and innovative player in Europe’s financial industry.”

Albrecht von Breitenbuch, Partner in Berlin, who lead on the M&A side added: “We were able to provide seamless advice across multiple practice areas and jurisdictions. The deal team benefited from the well-established cooperation between practice groups and offices at BLP as well as with our preferred firms network. We are pleased that we could help our client to win this competitive procurement process and proud that we were able to assist on one of the most important M&A transactions in the financial industry in Germany in 2016 which was also the largest platform transfer in Europe outside a bail-out scenario.”

The dedicated BLP team of Germany and London-based lawyers was led by German Partners Dr Thomas Prüm (Finance) and Dr Albrecht von Breitenbuch (Corporate/M&A). The team also included Stephan Krampe (Partner, Tax) and Boris Strauch (Partner, Public Law), Berthold Kusserow (Of Counsel, Finance), Wolfgang Klövekorn (Counsel, Tax), Dr Katharina von Rosenstiel (Senior Associate, Employment), Dennis Bree, Eike Neugebauer and Christian Stedler (all Associates, Finance), Engin Gürpinar (Associate, Public Law), Miriam Schollmeier (Associate, Real Estate) and Friederike Stiller (Associate, Real Estate) from the German offices. From the London office the team was completed by Banking Partner Daisy Reeves, as well as Catherine Shirley-Brown (Partner, Corporate), James Marshall (Partner, Competition), Usman Wahid (Partner, IP/IT) and Mark Kaye, (Senior Associate, Employment).

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