Founder bows out at Evans Randall

6 February 2016 – by Jack Sidders The founder of Evans Randall, the private investment bank which made its name buying trophy buildings such as the Gherkin, EC3, has been bought out of the business by his partners. Evans Randall Michael Evans has stepped down as chairman and sold his one-third stake in the company to chief executive Kent Gardner and chief financial officer Paul Kendrick, who own the remaining equity. The complex deal saw Gardner and Kendrick buy out Evans’ share of each management contract linked to each of the individual property vehicles which hold the company’s £1.5bn portfolio. The two sides have decided to pursue different investment strategies. Gardner and Kendrick have set up a new vehicle – Evans Randall Capital Advisors. The ­business, which has 10 staff, will operate as Evans Randall. Evans retains several vehicles originally linked to the business – such as Evans Randall, which he founded in 1993 – and will continue to invest in property through his private family office. His focus includes US and UK residential assets. The Evans Randall business under Gardner and Kendrick will focus on a new investment strategy from its Mayfair office on Old Burlington Street, W1, the lease on which has been renewed. It is targeting smaller lot sizes of between £20m and £75m where value can be added through asset management and redevelopment, characterised by the £45m purchase of 90 Fetter Lane, EC4, in November 2015. Plans are being worked up for a refurbishment of the building. Gardner said: “Evans Randall is continuing its growing focus on diversified asset management plays, primarily in London offices. “It continues to look at a range of investment channels, from deal-by-deal opportunities to investment mandates and potentially fund launches, seeking private equity-style returns.”

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Evans’ £4bn legacy

Evans Randall began investing in property in 2005 and quickly racked up £4bn of deals, including some of the best known buildings in London. The acquisitions – which included a 50% stake in the Gherkin, EC3, 5 Canada Square, E14, Drapers Gardens, EC2, and 25 North Colonnade, E14 – typically involved complex structures and substantial debt. Each of those assets has now been sold, with a mixture of outcomes. Drapers Gardens, which was bought for £243m in 2010, was among the firm’s more successful deals when it was sold at a £40m premium two years later. Others required complex restructuring, most notably the Gherkin, following the financial crash or consensual sales with lenders. The company remains in protracted talks to sell 33 Old Broad Street, EC2, to Taiwan’s Tsai family via UBS for £250m. The current portfolio includes Riverbank House, EC4, 3 Carlton Gardens, SW1, Sovereign House, E14, Lakeshore at Bedfont Lakes in Middlesex, and a German shopping centre.

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