Alan Samson is an English and New York qualified partner based in the firm’s London office. He co-chairs the firm’s real estate group and heads the European real estate private equity team. He joined the firm in May 2000 as the firm’s first English law partner.
Mr. Samson has more than 25 years’ experience in all aspects of commercial real estate and real estate finance, including corporate and investment property acquisitions and disposals, acquisition financing and joint ventures. His practice has recently been heavily focused on the acquisition of real estate loan portfolios (whole loans, senior and/or junior notes and structured pieces) from financial institutions, distressed/vulture fund formation, recapitalisations, mezzanine loan origination and debt restructurings and workouts. His client base is largely made up of US and European financial investors (primarily opportunity and private equity funds).
Private Equity Real Estate recently named Mr Samson as one of the most influential 100 people globally in the real estate private equity industry over the past decade and their readers voted his team law firm of the year for Europe transactions. He has also been named as one of the “Hot 100” movers and shakers of the legal profession in The Lawyer magazine’s survey. When assembling their dream team of 40 lawyers to start a new “magic circle” firm, Legal Business nominated Mr. Samson as head of their fantasy firm’s real estate group. He is featured as a leading real estate lawyer in the most recent edition of Legal Experts (published by Legal Business) and is regularly ranked among London’s leading real estate finance lawyers in Chambers’ UK Guide to the Legal Profession and the Legal 500 UK. He was recently identified by Chambers UK 2018 as a leading lawyer in the fields of Real Estate and Real Estate Finance, and he is recognised in Who’s Who Legal: Real Estate (13th Edition) 2018. The 2017 edition of Legal 500 UK ranks him (in the top Band 1) as a leading lawyer in the Commercial Property, Commercial Property: Hotels and Leisure, Commercial Property: Investment and Property Finance categories. In addition, he is recognized by the 2019 edition of Best Lawyers in the United Kingdom as a leading lawyer for Real Estate, Real Estate Finance and Financial Services.
Prior to joining Gibson Dunn, Mr. Samson spent 10 years at and was a partner with a major London law firm, where he both headed that firm’s North America Group and was a member of their Property Finance Group. He also practiced for several years (during the early 1990s) with Weil Gotshal & Manges in New York as part of an exchange programme.
Mr. Samson is a former member of the editorial board of the Property Law Journal and has published in the Real Estate Finance Journal. He is also a member of the NYU London-New York Real Estate Roundtable and the Urban Land Institute and is a regular speaker at conferences on real estate private equity and banking and finance topics.
Recent transactions include advising:
- Aecom Capital on a joint venture for UK real estate development;
- Aktiva Capital on several private equity investments in the oil and gas and hedge funds industries in the US and Europe;
- Ares Management (formerly AREA Property Partners) on several joint ventures, acquisitions and financings;
- Centerbridge Partners in joint ventures to acquire UK real estate assets;
- Colony Capital on the private equity acquisition of two Geneva hospitals with financing from Goldman Sachs;
- Delek Global Real Estate and Phoenix Insurance on the acquisition of a portfolio of commercial real estate loans/B notes secured against Swiss and German real estate from a European investment bank;
- Deutsche Bank AG in its acquisition of several loan portfolios in multiple European jurisdictions;
- Development Securities PLC on their joint venture with Patron Capital to acquire the Manchester Evening News Arena;
- Gulf International Bank on their Knightsbridge headquarters project;
- Highbridge Principal Strategies and The Related Companies on mezzanine financing arrangements concerning a London development project;
- Investcorp Bank BSC on the acquisition and financing of European real estate
- Lehman Brothers Real Estate Partners, Westbrook Partners and Atlas Capital Group on a senior loan facility to finance the private equity acquisition of Cannon Bridge House, London;
- Marriott International on a hotel joint venture with Whitbread for 46 UK hotels, a syndicated bridge financing of the portfolio and subsequent sale and manage back to RBS; and on the acquisition of the Grosvenor House Hotel in London and the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin out of the Le Meridien receivership;
- Meadow Partners on their acquisition, financing and recapitalisation of multiple UK real estate assets;
- Northwood Investors on their acquisition of UK and Irish real estate assets and loans;
- Oaktree Capital Management on a significant number of joint ventures, acquisitions and financings;
- Prudential Capital on the restructuring of a UK ground rent portfolio;
- Rockpoint Group on joint ventures for the acquisition and financing of office buildings/hotels in London and Paris;
- Valad Property Group in relation to matters concerning their UK funds;
- Westbrook Partners on numerous transactions, including their acquisition and financing of Shell Mex House and Dolphin Square in London, as well as portfolios from the Prudential and the receivers of Greycoat;
- WeWork, THRE and PFA on their acquisition, financing and joint venture arrangements for Devonshire Square in London;
- WR Berkley Corporation on the acquisition of new headquarters buildings in the insurance district of the City of London.
Recent recognitions include:
- “Alan Samson is highly regarded for his strong technical skills in both commercial real estate and related funds and finance work. He is particularly known for his work on behalf of US clients”. He is a “highly experienced real estate finance lawyer praised for his good grasp of finance and private equity” – Chambers UK 2018
- Alan Samson is a “great lawyer”. His “extremely detail-orientated team is able to quickly synthesize complex issues, explain them clearly, and propose solutions.” – UK Legal 500 2017
- “They handled our project brilliantly – they are a world-class team.” Alan Samson is described by clients as an “incredibly efficient executor of deals and an extremely solid adviser” known to be “available any time and very responsive”. “Alan is very creative and thorough in his approach to transactions. He’s very available, timely and really serves the best interests of the client. He’s a hard negotiator, so very good for the client,” – Chambers UK 2017
- “Alan Samson’s team… focuses on transactional work for private equity clients.. and shows ‘very good negotiation skills'” – UK Legal 500 2016
- ‘Alan Samson is “aware of everything that is going on and brings it all together”‘ – Chambers UK 2016
- “Practice head Alan Samson is praised for his ‘response times’ and ‘attention to detail.'”UK Legal 500 2015
- “Clients praise his ability to see difficult and complex deals through to completion. ‘We were highly impressed. It was an extremely complicated transaction and we were very impressed by the depth of their knowledge, the quality of their advice and the work they put in.'” –Chambers UK 2015
- ‘Alan Samson is “very commercial” and “handles high-end transactions”‘ – UK Legal 500 2014
- Clients say Alan Samson ‘works hard, is accommodating and smart, and has a good attitude. Very detail-oriented and always able to meet deadlines. Very, very bright…complete and deep understanding of the law and the process, and vast experience of operating in the sector.'” – Chambers UK 2014
- “Alan Samson is ‘one of the best in the market: tireless and very commercial.” – UK Legal 500 2013
- “The ‘extremely entrepreneurial’ Alan Samson is highly recommended by sources, who regard him as ‘focused and dedicated’… ‘drives the entire deal and thinks about the commercial aspects’ …’very capable -he is highly sophisticated, clever and hard driving.’ “- Chambers UK 2013
- “Alan Samson is ‘approachable and has a strong ability to solve complex problems’…and provides ‘in-depth industry expertise and knowledge.'” – UK Legal 500 2012
- “Alan Samson garners great praise: “He is the reason we chose this firm; he has high technical competence and is efficient in the way he deals with clients. He is a hugely experienced practitioner with a fine track record in high-value real estate transactions. Clients admire his assertive style, and that he is “always right on top of things.” – Chambers UK 2012
- “Alan Samson is “very smart, productive, and reliable.” – UK Legal 500 2011
- “Alan Samson is “an excellent practitioner, who is self-assured and relentlessly client-focused.” – Chambers UK 2011
- “Alan Samson is “tireless, smart and commercial.”- UK Legal 500 2010
- “Much of the team’s success is attributed to Alan Samson. He co-chairs the real estate group and heads the European private equity team.” – Chambers UK 2010
- “Alan Samson is recognised for his wealth of expertise.”- Chambers UK 2010
- “When Alan Samson is involved in a case, “he’s on top of everything – nothing slips through the cracks,” praise interviewees. He is an extremely knowledgeable and experienced adviser in the sector who is also recognised for his skills in hotel and leisure-related work.”- Chambers UK 2009
- “Alan Samson is a familiar face on large and complex structured private equity deals. He inspires complete confidence in clients that “all interests are being fully considered, both on individual technical issues and on the overall big picture.” – Chambers Global 2008