Clifford Chance appoints François Bonteil as Global Real Estate Head

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Leading international law firm Clifford Chance today announced that François Bonteil has been appointed the new Global Practice Area Leader for the firm’s well-regarded Real Estate practice, succeeding Jonathan Solomon from 1 May 2019.

François, who joined Clifford Chance as a partner in the firm’s Paris office in 2004, is a long-standing and integral member of the global practice area’s leadership team. François specialises in complex real estate investments, real estate acquisitions/disposals, sale and lease back transactions, joint ventures, real estate financing, real estate restructuring and real estate funds formation.

François said: “This is an exciting time for our global Real Estate team. The market is changing fast with new players becoming increasingly influential, high demand for real estate assets from across a wide range of investors, burgeoning demands on developers and a fast-growing proptech sector. These changes create challenges but also fantastic opportunities for our clients and our firm. I look forward to leading the team as we navigate this landscape, working closely with my fellow partners and other members of our global Real Estate practice and market-leading sector team.”

Commenting on the appointment, Global Managing Partner Matthew Layton said: “Our global Real Estate practice has a tremendous reputation; we are immensely proud of our track record in advising on the most exciting and complex real estate projects in the world. I am confident that under François’ leadership, the practice will continue to go from strength to strength.”

After a long and successful career at Clifford Chance since 2000, including leading the London and global Real Estate practices, Jonathan is retiring from the partnership to take up a different type of role within the real estate market.Matthew Layton said: “We are immensely grateful to Jonathan for his contribution to the firm over the past 19 years, he leaves an important legacy. On behalf of the partnership, I wish him all the very best.”

Clifford Chance’s leading real estate group advises on the entire property ‘life-cycle’ from the initial acquisition, development, leasing, joint venturing and financing through to the final exit, as well as tax structuring, REITs, funds, financing, planning, environment and litigation. Some of the recent high profile real estate mandate the global team advised on include:

  • Network Rail’s sale of its commercial real estate portfolio of around 5,200 properties to Telereal Trillium and Blackstone Property Partners for £1.46 billion, one of the UK’s largest ever real estate deals.
  • Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC’s €464.9 million acquisition of the Ariane Tower in Paris from Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield.
  • Primonial’s 50% equity investment in a healthcare real estate portfolio owned by Medical Properties Trust in Germany. 
  • BBVA’s disposal of 80% of BBVA’s real estate business in Spain to Cerberus for approximately €5 billion, the second biggest property deal in Spain’s history.
  • Abu Dhabi based Aldar Properties PJSC’s acquisition of an AED 3.7 billion real estate assets portfolio from Tourism Development and Investment Company PJSC, one of the largest real estate acquisitions in the history of the Middle East. 
  • Madison International Realty’s purchase of approximately 51% interest in Forest City’s portfolio of 14 retail properties in the New York City metropolitan area, which is valued at around US$1.3 billion. G
  • Goldman Sachs, which formed a consortium with investors including Gaw capital Partners, on the acquisition of a US$2.94 billion retail portfolio comprising 17 shopping centres in Hong Kong from Link Asset Management Ltd.
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