The Work

August 9, 2011 2:17 PM

Vinson & Elkins Scores on Trio of Energy Transactions

Posted by Brian Baxter

Vinson & Elkins, the Houston-based Am Law 100 firm known for its oil and gas work, has in the past week landed key roles on three energy transactions with a total value of at least $1.2 billion.

London-based energy company Hunting announced on August 5 that it will acquire oil services company Titan Specialties for $775 million in cash. The deal allows Hunting to expand its oil and gas services business in North America, Bloomberg reports.

Vinson M&A and private equity partner James Hanna is leading a team from the firm advising Pampa, Texas–based Titan that also includes environmental partner Larry Nettles, M&A partner François Feuillat, antitrust partners William Vigdor and Cathy Lewis, and administrative and environmental counsel Kristie Tice.

Titan is an affiliate of New York–based private equity firm Riverstone Holdings, which operates primarily through a joint venture with The Carlyle Group. Former Vinson energy partner Stephen Coats serves as managing director and general counsel for Riverstone. Hunting, which will fund the deal with a combination of cash on hand and funds drawn down from a $608 million credit facility, turned to Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell and CMS Cameron McKenna for outside counsel on the deal.

In a separate deal announced Friday, Houston-based Vinson energy transactional partners Marcia Backus and Douglas Bland are advising Oklahoma City-based SandRidge Energy on a $500 million joint venture agreement with an affiliate of South Korean private investment firm Atinum Partners.

The agreement between SandRidge and Atinum calls for the drilling of oil and gas wells in the Mississippi Lime formation between Oklahoma and Kansas, according to The Oklahoman and Oil & Gas Financial Journal.

Vinson represented underwriters earlier this year on a $315 million initial public offering for a royalty trust--used in oil and gas production to avoid corporate taxes on profits--formed by SandRidge. The company's general counsel, Philip Warman, is a Vinson alum.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom energy and infrastructure partner John Ale in Houston and Korea corporate practice head H. Young Shin in New York are advising Seoul-based Atinum on the joint venture agreement with SandRidge, which will receive $250 million in cash once the deal closes in the fourth quarter of this year.

In the third deal, Vinson M&A partner David Cohen and energy transactions partner Mark Spradling are leading a team from the firm that is representing European private equity firm EQT Infrastructure in its acquisition of a 70 percent stake in Houston-based natural gas storage company Peregrine Midstream Partners.

The purchase price was not disclosed. EQT's investment in privately held Peregrine will allow the target to finish its Ryckman Creek project in Wyoming, which is in the process of being converted into a natural gas storage facility, according to Reuters and the Houston Business Journal.

Other Vinson lawyers working on the matter for Stockholm-based EQT include labor and employment partner Sean Becker and tax partner David Peck. EQT's internal legal and compliance director is Meena Ambardar.

Vinson's gross revenue increased 7.2 percent to $602.5 million in 2010, while profits per partner rose nearly 6 percent to almost $1.4 million, according to Am Law 100 financial data.

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