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August 12, 2010 1:54 PM

Linklaters, Clifford Chance Advise on GDF Suez Deal for International Power

Posted by Drew Combs

Lawyers at Linklaters and Clifford Chance played leading roles in the mammoth European energy deal announced Tuesday under which Franco-Belgian GDF Suez SA will take control of Britain's International Power PLC. The agreement will transform GDF Suez into the world's largest utility, according to Reuters.

Under the deal, GDF Suez will receive a 70 percent stake in London-based International Power in exchange for turning over its non-European power generation business, as well as assets in the United Kingdom and Turkey. Additionally, International Power’s shareholders, who retain a 30 percent stake in the new company, will receive a special $2.2 billion dividend as part of the transaction. International Power will remain listed on the London Stock Exchange.

The Clifford Chance group that advised International Power on the memorandum of understanding for the transaction, which has been referred to as a reverse takeover by GDF Suez, was led by London-based corporate partners David Pudge, Bredan Moylan, and Kathy Honeywood. London-based banking partner Andrew Grenville and corporate associates Nick Hughes and Melissa Fogarty rounded out the Clifford Chance team.

Matthew Layton, head of Clifford Chance’s corporate practice, said in a statement that the deal "demonstrates [the firm’s] ability to effectively structure complex, cross-border transactions and deliver a positive result for…clients." The firm has represented International Power in previous deals, including the acquisition of German wind farms in 2008 and 2009.

The Linklaters team representing GDF Suez in the transaction included Paris-based corporate partner Marc Loy, London-based partners Matthew Middleditch and Iain Wagstaff, and New York partner Thomas McGrath. Earlier this year, the firm represented arrangers and lenders in a financing deal for a solar power plant in southeast France being developed by GDF Suez.

In the most recent deal, GDF Suez was also represented by partners Patrick Dziewolski and Matthieu Pouchepadass at the French law firm Bredin Prat.

International Power and GDF Suez engaged in merger talks earlier this year but were not able to reach an agreement. Talks leading up to Tuesday's deal, which still requires the approval of International Power’s shareholders, began in July.

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