October 14, 2020 @ 15:35 by Alison Cowie
Law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has advised the Blackett family, shareholders of the iconic Matfen Hall Hotel, on the sale of the company to hospitality business Walwick Estate Group.
Based in Northumberland, Matfen Hall is a luxury hotel and wedding venue and, until now, had been in the Blackett family for more than 260 years. A multidisciplinary team of lawyers from WBD’s Newcastle office advised on the transaction led, on the corporate side, by partner Ben Butler (pictured) and Oliver Rickett and, on the real estate and private wealth side, by Ellen Rutherford.
The sale of Matfen Hall is the latest in a series of major North East deals completed by WBD during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, including Nasdaq’s investment in Newcastle firm Caspian; Mercia Asset Management’s investment in a breast cancer detection technology; the creation of Northern Accelerator’s Seed Investment Fund to deliver a step-change in the translation of world-class research into sustainable commercial enterprises coming out of the North East; and the extension of a deal between retail giant Ocado and Northumberland robotics manufacturer Tharsus.
Ben Butler of WBD commented: “With our history steeped in a strong private wealth practice, we have been advising the Blackett family for many decades, combining legal expertise and commercial advice. We’re thrilled to have been able to support them on the sale of Matfen Hall, one of the most prestigious venues in the UK with a rich North East heritage.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic presented a number of challenges, but these were overcome with a combination of confidence, pragmatism and innovation. Our longstanding relationship with the client, understanding of the local market and our strong ability to provide cross-sector expertise, meant we were able to prevail over the complex aspects of this deal and secure the best possible outcome for our client.”
Sir Hugh Blackett added: “We’re extremely grateful for the expertise and commitment of the WBD team, who showed great strategic thinking and strong commercial acumen throughout the process. My family and I have been relying on the firm for a long time and it’s such a pleasure to work with a local Newcastle team with the resources and breadth of technical expertise of a large international firm.”