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March 17, 2011 1:42 PM

Three Firms Take Lead on Qatar's Stake in Spain's Iberdrola

Posted by Brian Baxter

Allen & Overy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, and leading Spanish firm Uría Menéndez are advising on state-backed Qatar Holdings's acquisition of a 6.2 percent stake in Spanish power company Iberdrola for $2.82 billion, according to U.K. publication Legal Week.

Representing Bilbao-based Iberdrola, one of the largest private electric utilities and renewable energy operators in the world, is A&O corporate partner Richard Browne in London and Madrid office managing partner Iñigo Gómez-Jordana. The firm previously advised Iberdrola on its $22.5 billion acquisition of Scottish Power in 2006.

Iberdrola's deal with Qatar Holding, a subsidiary of Qatar sovereign wealth fund the Qatari Investment Authority, will create a strategic alliance between both companies, according to The Deal. Bloomberg reports that Iberdrola will use the investment to bolster its balance sheet following its $2.4 billion purchase of a Brazilian power company in January and $3.5 billion bid to buy out minority shareholders in a clean energy unit earlier this month.

A&O's Browne told Legal Week that the "strategic understanding" between Iberdrola and Qatar Holding would allow his client to search for development opportunities around the world, including the Middle East.

"The sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East are big players and important in the market at the moment, and they are making a number of interesting investments," Browne said.

Also advising Iberdrola on the deal was Uría Menéndez M&A partner Javier Tortuero and Madrid managing partner Rafael Sebastian, Legal Week reports. Iberdrola's general counsel is Carlos Serrano.

Qatar Holding turned to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer corporate partners Sarah Murphy and Bruce Embley, along with tax partner Jonathan Cooklin. All three work out of London. Freshfields corporate partner Armando Albarran, antitrust partner Alvaro Iza, and tax partner Miguel Loran are leading a Madrid-based team from the firm advising Qatar Holding on its investment in Iberdrola.

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