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Michael Back

Partner

Michael is a senior partner specialising in real estate, infrastructure and fund investment transactions across Asia Pacific.

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Experience

Michael Back is a real estate and funds lawyer with in-depth knowledge and experience in all aspects of real estate investment, development, planning, environment and asset management. He has acted for the government and private sectors in all major asset classes including commercial office, retail, logistics and alternative sectors such as affordable and student housing and build-to-rent. Michael also co-leads our Asia real estate practice.

Michael has a reputation for being a problem solver, easy to work with, identifying issues early and getting deals done in a way that satisfies the client's commercial drivers.

Michael is also an active member of our Diversity and Inclusion and Community and Pro Bono committees.

A small selection of Michael’s experience is below:

International investors

  • M&G (Prudential) – advising on the acquisition of commercial office buildings and retail malls in Australia and investments in wholesale funds.
  • Nuveen – advising one of the world’s largest fund managers on fund through developments and commercial office acquisitions and disposals.
  • PNB – advising the Malaysian sovereign fund on the acquisition and disposal of commercial office buildings and investments in wholesale funds.

Government

  • FPQ – Acting for the Queensland Government on the sale of its forestry plantations business including the drafting of legislation to introduce a new land tenure and title registration system.
  • Redevelopment of Roma Street – Acting for the Queensland Government on the redevelopment of the Roma Street goods yards in Brisbane as a multi-use residential, commercial and public open space facility. This project included dealing with Queensland Rail in relation to their ongoing needs.
  • Southbank TAFE – Acting for the Queensland Government on the Southbank Institute of TAFE redevelopment which was the first project in Queensland to be assessed under the Government’s Public Private Partnership guidelines.

Real Estate Funds

  • QIC – Advising on the acquisition of a 50% interest in one of the United Kingdom’s largest retail shopping centres for a purchase price of approximately AUD$1.3 billion. This transaction is one of the largest real estate transactions undertaken by an Australian organisation.
  • QIC – Advising on the establishment of its international funds platform in the United Staes and Europe.
  • Australian Super – Advising on the acquisition of a 50% interest (GBP£270 million) in thecentre:mk in Milton Keynes, one of the United Kingdom’s largest shopping centres.
  • Challenger – Advising on acquisitions and disposals of CBD commercial office towers throughout Australia, including advising on planning and environment matters.
  • ESR (formerly Propertylink) – Advising on the establishment of its Australian logistics business and on acquisitions and disposals of logistics assets.

Other strategic matters

  • Government Owned Corporations (GOCs) – Advising Governments and GOCs on appropriate investment structures, including joint ventures with the private sector.
  • FIRB – Advising foreign investors on the Foreign Investment Regulatory framework including preparing applications for FIRB approval for all asset classes.

 

Background

A graduate of the University of Sydney, Michael holds Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and Bachelor of Law (Honours) degrees. He is an associate of the Australian Institute of Valuers and Land Economists. Michael was an inaugural Board member of the Queensland Government’s Urban Land Development Authority. Michael is also the Honorary Solicitor for the Princess Alexandra Hospital Foundation.

Michael regularly presents at global conferences on international real estate and funds investments.

Market Recognition

Michael is consistently recognised by his peers, clients and industry as a market leader and strategic adviser. He praised for the breadth of his career: "He has had a strong and long career; his knowledge, technicality and commercial ability are excellent." Chambers & Partners. He is also recognised specifically by Legal 500 for his international funds experience: “Michael Back possesses specialist knowledge of fund investments, transactions and developments throughout Australia, Asia, the UK and the US.”

In 2021, Chambers awarded Michael a new individual rank in Australia called ‘Hall of Fame’ which is given to law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of their profession and who receive regular praise from their clients for continued excellence. Michael is also named annually by Doyle’s Guide as a Leading Property & Real Estate Lawyer in Queensland.

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