Exclusive: Major Brexit Campaigner Loses £250M Real Estate Mandate And Sues Colony Over Fees
One of the key figures in the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union has lost a significant asset management mandate to a rival firm, Bisnow can reveal, and is suing its former partner Colony Capital for breach of contract.
U.S. private equity firm Colony has moved the mandate to manage around £250M of U.K. industrial assets from Quidnet Capital, the investor and asset manager run by Chief Executive Richard Tice, to M7 Real Estate, the industrial specialist run by Richard Croft.
Quidnet filed a claim in the Business and Property division of the U.K. High Court on 27 July against five Luxembourg-registered special purpose vehicles which own assets bought by Colony Capital.
The claim is for £6.4M, and in a section outlining the brief details of the claim the form states: “Damages claim for breach of contract, alternatively such orders as the Court deems just and appropriate so as to facilitate an account and/or enquiry as to the calculation of the amount due to the Claimant.”
“We are delighted to have given strong returns to Colony and generated a significant promote,” Tice said in a statement to Bisnow. “Obviously it is a shame that to get paid that promote we had to issue a writ in the High Court.”
No further details as to the background to the claim are currently available. Colony has not yet acknowledged the claim and declined to comment on the claim. M7 also declined to comment.
Tice was the co-founder of Leave.EU, one of the two main organisations which campaigned for the U.K. to leave the EU, and is one of the founders of Leave Means Leave, the organisation fighting to ensure that Brexit is a complete break from all EU institutions such as the Single Market and Customs Union. Last week Nigel Farage threw his support behind the organisation.
Tice put himself forward as a potential Conservative candidate for Mayor of London, but did not make the eventual shortlist of candidates.
M7’s Croft has been a vocal opponent of Brexit. “My position on Brexit is stronger than ever — I think it is a disaster for the country in terms of its social impact,” he told Estates Gazette in 2017.
The assets in the mandate now moved to M7 were part of two portfolios of secondary quality regional properties bought by Colony from U.K. banks and insolvency practitioners.
In September 2014, Colony bought the Silverbird Portfolio, with 25 office, industrial and retail assets, from Royal Bank of Scotland for £94M.
In October 2015, it bought the Gemini retail and industrial portfolio from administrators at Deloitte for £311M. The 24 assets in the portfolio were valued at more than £1B in 2006. Retail specialist Ellandi manages the retail assets from that portfolio, while Quidnet manages the industrial assets.
It is not known how many assets were in the mandate now managed by M7 for Colony.
On its website Quidnet says its assets under management total £500M, which would indicate that the mandate represents about half of its asset base. “It is a significant part of the portfolio,” Tice said. “That figure [of assets under management] goes up and down all the time but Colony were a significant client and we are delighted to have done a fantastic job for them.”
Quidnet also has joint ventures with other U.S. private equity firms including Angelo Gordon, with whom it bought a 14-asset industrial portfolio for £50M in January this year.
M7 manages a portfolio of more than €7B of assets in 13 countries across Europe totalling more than 1,300 assets. It has partnered with several European institutions and U.S. private equity firms including Blackstone, with whom it is currently undertaking a major push into the light-industrial and last-mile logistics sector through a venture called Onyx.