3 Firms Seal $650M Transamerica Deal, Largest Amid Virus

By Andrew McIntyre
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Law360 (October 29, 2020, 5:41 PM EDT) -- Wachtel Missry represented a SHVO-Deutsche Finance America venture on its $650 million purchase of San Francisco's Transamerica Pyramid Center — the largest U.S. real estate deal since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic — with Cleary Gottlieb and Buchalter helping on the sell side of the deal, the closing of which SHVO announced Thursday.

The deal for the trophy 48-story office tower had been in the works for close to a year, and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP and Buchalter APC helped Aegon NV's U.S. unit Transamerica Corp. with the sale, while Stoel Rives LLP assisted Aegon unit Transamerica Life Insurance Co. with a $495 million loan it provided to the buyer venture.

Wachtel Missry LLP routinely handles real estate matters for developer SHVO.

"The deal took over 10 months to construct and close," Wachtel Missry's Morris Missry told Law360 in an interview Thursday. "There were many pitfalls and turns in negotiating and finally consummating the transaction, including the seller agreeing to make financing available during the pandemic."

The sale is the first time the tower, completed in 1972, has traded hands. The Dutch insurance company gained ownership of the asset after purchasing Transamerica Corp. in 1999.

A group of European investors led by Bayerische Versorgungskammer joined SHVO and Deutsche Finance America on the purchase.

"We're proud to take on ownership and management of the Transamerica Pyramid — the most famous and recognizable skyscraper on the West Coast, and one of the most memorable office towers in the world," Michael Shvo, chairman and CEO of SHVO, said in a statement Thursday. "This iconic tower is an important addition to our portfolio of celebrated properties, enduring landmarks and architectural gems."

For Aegon, the closing of the Transamerica sale follows another disposition the firm recently did. Earlier this month, Aegon announced it sold accident insurance products provider Stonebridge for €65 million ($75.9 million).

Aegon is based in The Hague, Netherlands.

"I am pleased that we have taken another step to strengthen our balance sheet with the sale of the Pyramid building complex," Lard Friese, CEO of Aegon, said in a statement Thursday. "I am proud that we will continue to be associated with this landmark as we have retained the naming and branding rights."

Jones Lang LaSalle Americas Inc.'s Gerry Rohm, Michael Leggett, Robert Hielscher, Michael Seifer, David Dokko and Erik Hanson brokered the deal for the seller, while JLL's Peter Smyslowski, Mike Tepedino, Robert Tonnessen and David Sitt helped with the financing aspects of the deal.

Counsel at Cleary, Buchalter and Stoel Rives declined to comment Thursday.

The buyer venture is represented by Morris Missry, David Weiner, Scott Lesser and Maria Nazarova of Wachtel Missry LLP.

The seller is represented by Steven Wilner of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP and Manuel Fishman of Buchalter APC. Virginia Pedreira of Stoel Rives LLP assisted Transamerica Life Insurance on financing matters.

--Editing by Stephen Berg.

For a reprint of this article, please contact reprints@law360.com.

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