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April 30, 2010 4:55 PM

Slaughter, Shearman on ICE's Deal for Europe's Leading Emissions Exchange

Posted by Zach Lowe

There may not be many companies that stand to gain as much from financial regulatory reform as IntercontinentalExchange Inc., which already operates a clearinghouse for credit-default swaps and would stand to receive lots more business should federal law require more derivatives move through clearinghouses or exchanges.

But ICE continues to look forward, and today it announced plans to acquire Climate Exchange PLC, which operates the leading emissions trading platforms in both Europe and the U.S., according to The Wall Street Journal and lawyers who worked on the deal. The deal is valued at $603 million and is contingent on shareholder and court approval in the U.K., where Climate Exchange is based, lawyers say.

A team from Shearman & Sterling represented ICE, which is not a surprise, because the firm helped create the derivatives clearinghouse (called ICE Trust) in early 2009 and has advised the company on several other transactions. (Shearman partner Bradley Sabel was named one of The American Lawyer's Dealmakers of the Year for 2009 for his work on the creation of ICE Trust.)

Slaughter and May represented Climate Exchange, lawyers say. The Shearman team has been working on the deal in earnest for about two months, though the two companies have been close for years, says Lois Moore, who led the Shearman team along with Barney Reynolds. (ICE owned a small stake in Climate Exchange before this deal.) Climate Exchange controls about 90 percent of the market in emissions allowance trading in Europe and had been waiting patiently for the U.S. to implement a cap-and-trade system that could create a booming market here, the WSJ says. In the meantime, Climate Exchange's main U.S. subsidiary, the Chicago Climate Exchange, operates a U.S. exchange through which companies can trade emissions contracts in various gasses, the WSJ reports.

Jeff Twentyman led the Slaughter and May team on the deal, lawyers say. He was not immediately available for comment. 

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