Daily News: July 17, 2013

Wells Fargo Acquires Comerzbank’s UK Commercial RE Portfolio

Wells Fargo said it has signed an agreement to acquire Commerzbank’s Hypothekenbank Frankfurt UK commercial real estate portfolio. The transaction includes a £4.0 billion ($6.05 billion) portfolio of commercial real estate loans comprised of high-quality institutional assets throughout the U.K. with a focus in London.

A portion of the portfolio, consisting of approximately £1.3 billion ($1.96 billion) of non-performing assets, will be acquired by Lone Star Funds, with Wells Fargo providing the financing. The transaction is expected to close in Q3 2013.

“This transaction, in combination with Wells Fargo’s long standing real estate expertise, will help create a best-in-class commercial real estate platform in the UK,” said Bill Vernon, executive vice president and group head who led the acquisition team for Wells Fargo Commercial Real Estate.

“Hypothekenbank Frankfurt’s 20-year history in London, their recognition as a market leader in the commercial real estate industry, and our similar approaches to building quality assets and providing outstanding client service all add up to a great strategic expansion opportunity for Wells Fargo’s U.K. Commercial Real Estate business.”

Upon completion of the transaction, Wells Fargo will name Hypothekenbank Frankfurt industry veteran, Max Sinclair, as head of its London Commercial Real Estate office. In addition, Mike Acratopulo, Hypothekenbank Frankfurt’s managing director and head of origination, and a number of other Hypothekenbank Frankfurt employees are expected to become Wells Fargo team members, with most of those joining the London Commercial Real Estate team. Upon joining Wells Fargo, Sinclair will report to Chip Fedalen, executive vice president and group head who currently oversees Wells Fargo’s UK Commercial Real Estate operation and reports to Mark Myers, head of Commercial Real Estate at Wells Fargo.

As part of the transaction, the Hypothekenbank Frankfurt office space at 90 Long Acre will become Wells Fargo’s new U.K. Commercial Real Estate headquarters.

“Given Wells Fargo’s position as the number one commercial real estate lender in the U.S. and our recent expansion of commercial real estate services in the UK, this transaction is a significant investment in the future growth of our U.K. platform,” said Myers. “Max’s deep industry expertise and knowledge of the UK market will add significant strength to our Commercial Real Estate platform and we look forward to having him and the other outstanding Hypothekenbank Frankfurt team members join our Wells Fargo team in London.”