From 4 to 6 April, Utrecht will host AIJA’s seminar on ‘The real deal in M&A: All about transactions involving real estate property’. To learn more, we asked our organising committee to share some highlights and tell us more about the topic of the seminar.
Q1: What should participants expect?
Sjoerd Mol (Partner, Benvalor): The seminar promises to offer a very interesting academic programme, with the latest on transaction structuring in M&A real estate deals, due diligence, tax in real estate deals and case studies from industries such as hospitality, retail and industrial. The sessions will be held in a historical place, an old cloister that dates to 1348 and now houses the five-star hotel Karel V.
The programme will kick off with a welcome reception on Thursday, 4 April in the St Michael’s chapel of the 112 meters high Dom Tower which used to be the private chapel of the bishop of Utrecht. Participants will be invited to climb all 464 stairs to the top!
Another highlight of the social programme will be the Friday night dinner and party afterwards. We are planning a four-course dinner including drinks, as well as a DJ and GT bar afterwards at The Court Hotel. Here we can party all night long, catch up with people we know and make new AIJA friends.
Saturday, 6 April (and the last day!) will offer participants a canal boat tour to enjoy Utrecht’s famous wharves and canal houses. The day will end with a dinner in an amazing restaurant located in an old water tower.
Q2: Real estate M&A will be the main topic of your discussions. In your view, what are the main challenges in this area?
Michaela Pelinka (Partner, bpv Huegel): By nature, M&A transactions bring some challenges. One is to formulate clauses on warranty and potential guarantees in a correct manner. Careful consideration should be given especially to the characteristics that the purchased object must or must not have. Court decisions in this area are made case by case and are difficult to predict. In this case, we should also be looking at the conflicting interests of buyers and sellers.
Another challenge would be to manage the increasing complexity of regulatory requirements across different areas of public law, such as construction law, preservation orders, land use plans or land transfer law. These must be carefully considered, particularly in cases where the buyer wants to make structural changes to the property as they may act as deal breakers. Sometimes, even expert attorneys on real estate law might have to consult with their colleagues from the public law department.
To overcome these challenges, we must consider some do’s and don’ts of an acquisition in real estate:
Q3: Real estate seems to be on of the hottest sectors for M&A in the coming years. What are the main trends to follow?
Michaela Pelinka (Partner, bpv Huegel): Investors, particularly European investors, are becoming more careful as a result of geopolitical tensions. They are seeking secure, long-term revenue. Brexit has left them quite insecure about the future.
At the same time, investments into areas which have previously been considered ‘alternative’ niches, such as co-living-Projects, student residences or data centres, have proven successful, whereas more ‘traditional’ segments such as offices are showing a certain decline.
Legal tech is already a reality, and it is disrupting the way real estate transactions are being processed. The potential applications are manifold and may greatly facilitate larger due diligences.
Register to find out more.
Early bird fees until 19 February. See you in Utrecht!