Ashurst has advised the shareholders of mortgage broking franchise business, Smartline Home Loans Pty Limited (Smartline) in the A$67 million sale of 100% of shares in Smartline to Realestate.com.au Pty Limited (Realestate.com), a subsidiary of REA Group Limited (REA).
Realestate.com will acquire a 80.3% stake in Smartline, with the remaining 19.7% shareholding to be retained by the existing management team. The minority shareholders hold a put option over the remaining shares, which can only be exercised after three years. If not exercised, REA will acquire the remaining shares at the end of four years. The transaction is expected to complete in late July 2017.
Smartline is one of Australia’s premier mortgage broking franchise groups with over 300 advisers nationally, settling more than $6 billion in loans annually, with a total loan book of over $25 billion. This transaction sees realestate.com move into the online mortgage broking business while retaining the key founding expertise of the brand of Smartline.
Ashurst has acted on the deal with a team led by Corporate partner Mark Stanbridge (picture), assisted by senior associate Alexander McCall and lawyer Callum Newson-Brown (Corporate); partner Vivian Chang and senior associate Sophia Kwok (Tax); with partner Jennie Mansfield and expertise counsel Julie Mills (Employment).
Involved fees earner: Mark Stanbridge – Ashurst; Alexander McCall – Ashurst; Callum Newson-Brown – Ashurst; Vivian Chang – Ashurst; Sophia Kwok – Ashurst; Jennie Mansfield – Ashurst; Julie Mills – Ashurst;
Law Firms: Ashurst;
Clients: Smartline Home Loans Pty Limited;