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Herbert Smith Freehills has acted on behalf of Hammerson Plc, a major British property development and investment company and a long-standing client of the firm, in relation to a rights issue and disposal of its interests in VIA Outlets (a premium outlets joint venture). The rights issue is expected to raise net proceeds of approximately £550 million and the sale of Hammerson's interests in VIA Outlets is for estimated cash proceeds of approximately €300 million.

The rights issue and disposal form part of Hammerson's response to major structural change in the retail industry and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The disposal is conditional on shareholder approval of the rights issue and certain anti-trust clearances, and is expected to complete in Q4 2020.

Don Rowlands and Alex Kay, client relationship partners for Hammerson, commented: "It has been great to support Hammerson in two key elements of its deleveraging strategy and response to the challenges faced by the retail sector, following on from assisting with disposals and restructuring of Hammerson's other shopping centre assets."

Mike Flockhart, Head of UK ECM, added: "This is one of the largest, and certainly most complicated, capital raises in the UK in the Covid era. It is continuing the trend we have seen on other deals of large shareholders anchoring raises and being key to success of the process."

Herbert Smith Freehills advised on all elements of the rights issue and the disposal. The deal was led by partners Alex Kay and Mike Flockhart, supported by Head of US Securities Tom O'Neill, and the team included senior associates Sarah Ries-Coward, Dennis Hermreck, Emily Naylor and Kaja Kluziak, associates Sean McDermott, Gaelen Perrone, Caroline Hagg, Harriet Sykes, Frances Worthington and Sophie Stevens. The wider team included Will Arrenberg from London Tax, Steffen Hörner from Frankfurt Tax, Simon Chadney and Jake Jackaman from London Finance, Sarah McNally from London Insurance, Susan Black from London Competition and Don Rowlands from London Real Estate.