SunGard was an American multinational company based in Wayne, Pennsylvania, which provided software and services to education, financial services, and public sector organizations. It was formed in 1983, as a spin-off of the computer services division of Sun Oil Company. The name of the company originally was an acronym which stood for Sun Guaranteed Access to Recovered Data, a reference to the disaster recovery business it helped pioneer. In August 2005, the company was acquired by seven private equity firms for $11.3 billion and de-listed from the NYSE.
The company operated from nine sites across central London. Nick McCalmont-Woods was tasked with investigating SunGard’s strategic property options for consolidating its multiple office sites into a single new facility in the capital. After researching the state of the office market in The City and Canary Wharf it was agreed that the optimal solution was for SunGard to relocate to Canary Wharf.
The initial strategy paper prepared for SunGard addressed:
- an overview of its central London portfolio
- the opportunities for the acquisition of office space within the timetable agreed
- the prospects for the disposition of existing leased space
- the restructuring of existing lease liabilities on its core property holdings
- the scope and extent of existing dilapidations and reinstatement liabilities
- the impact of forthcoming lease events (e.g. rent reviews) on the disposition of existing offices
The strategy for acquisition strategy addressed:
- formulation of an accommodation strategy and occupational brief
- research into the size, suitability and timing of available premises in The City and Canary Wharf
- arranging site inspections and presentations with potential landlords
- drafting of RFPs and generation of DCF appraisals to illustrate total occupational costs for each shortlisted option
- twin-track negotiation strategy (to leverage best market terms and provide for a Plan B option)
- advice on building specification and impact on future reinstatement liabilities at lease termination
- advice on future expansion and determination options
- advice on level of tenant incentives
- advice on turnkey solutions for fitting out the new office premises
- advice on drafting of lease alienation provisions
- drafting and negotiation of heads of terms
Working closely with SunGard’s representatives (the Group CFO and the Group Facilities Manager for SunGard Europe) Nick McCalmont-Woods successfully concluded negotiations to acquired 84,000 sq ft offices under four separate leases from Citigroup at 25 Canada Square, E14. The lease structure agreed afforded SunGard the flexibility it required to draw down and exit space on pre-determined dates under rental and rent-free terms that were significantly more favourable than could be expected in the open market at the time.
Dean Gluyas, VP, Group CFO Europe
“In mid-2005 SunGard engaged the London City office of GVA Grimley (Nick McCalmont-Woods) to assist in obtaining 84,000 sq ft of Grade A office space for consolidation of multiple city locations to a single footprint in London’s financial district. The process was extensive and well co-ordinated. Important for SunGard was that Nick McCalmont-Woods demonstrated a strong understanding of the Central London property market that matched our requirements for lease flexibility with our specific financial needs (to include implications of US GAAP and internal lease levelling issues).”