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A&O advises Universal-Investment and Bavarian pension scheme manager BVK on the acquisition of the Zalando Headquarters in Berlin

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Harald Klett
Harald Klett

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14 January 2022

Allen & Overy has advised a real estate fund which was set up for Bavarian pension scheme manager Bayerische Versorgungskammer (BVK) on the Luxembourg platform of Universal-Investment on the acquisition of the Zalando Headquarters in Berlin. Seller of the property is Hines, the global real estate investment, development and management firm, acting for a Luxembourg real estate investment fund.

The Zalando HQ are located in a prestigious area in Berlin's Mediaspree office submarket. The modern office complex with DGNB Gold certification consists of two buildings with a total leasable area of around 42,000 square meters spread over seven floors. Completed in October 2018, the complex includes modern office space as well as a dedicated daycare center, a food court and a roof terrace for sports activities. The property is fully leased on a long-term basis to Berlin-based Zalando, Europe's leading online platform for fashion. The company has been listed on the DAX since 2021.

The Bayerische Versorgungskammer is the competence and service center for occupational and communal pension schemes and Germany´s largest pension group under public law. A public authority of the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior, it is the joint executive body of twelve liberal professions´ and communal pension schemes, covering about 2.4 million insured individuals in total, with contributions of 5.2 billion euros and about 3.8 billion euros in pension payments annually. It currently has 97.2 billion euros in assets under management (market value) and more than 1,420 employees.

The Universal-Investment Group is one of Europe's leading fund service platforms and Super ManCos with around 733 billion euros in assets under administration, about 2,000 mutual and special fund mandates and a workforce of more than 1,000 at locations in Frankfurt am Main, Luxembourg, Dublin and Krakow. Founded in 1968, the company is an independent platform for asset managers as well as institutional investors offering structuring and administration solutions as well as risk management for Securities, Real Estate and Alternative Investments.

Allen & Overy acted as legal advisor on the buyer side; a multi-practice German/Luxembourg team led by Michael Fink comprised partners Dr Jochen Scheel (Frankfurt), Dr Christian Hilmes (Hamburg, both Real Estate), Dr. Olaf Meisen (Banking & Finance), Dr. Udo Olgemöller (Public Law, both Frankfurt) as well as counsels Lennart Dahmen (Investment Funds) and Stefan Kuhm (Banking & Finance, both Frankfurt). Additional advice was provided by senior associates Dr Daniel Bolm (Real Estate) and Dr Marcus Mackensen (Corporate/Private Equity, both Hamburg) as well as associates Simon Binn (Corporate/M&A, Dusseldorf), Hauke Jung (Real Estate), Ann-Chantal Gildehaus (Banking & Finance), Martin Sturm (Public Law, all Frankfurt) and senior transaction coordinator Oliver Ahnseel (Real Estate, Hamburg).

Furthermore, a Luxembourg-based Allen & Overy team advised on Luxembourg law. The team was led by partners Jacques Graas (Corporate) and Yannick Arbaut (Investment Funds) and included senior associate Victoria Woestmann, associate Raphael Loeschner, trainee Patrick Kaufmann and juriste Raphaël Theiss (all Corporate/M&A).

Tax aspects were covered by Ernst & Young (Christian Mundel and David Schröder, both Munich). Universal-Investment’s in-house team was led by Thomas Wagner and Maximilian Bretz, supported by in-house legal counsel Dr Sebastian Gaertner. The overall deal management was coordinated by Ernst & Young (Daniel Pavic and Patrick Piller, both Munich).