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January 13, 2009 8:00 AM

Norton Rose, Freshfields on German Utility Takeover

Posted by Zach Lowe

Norton Rose advised the German utility giant RWE on its takeover of Dutch rival Essent for about $12 billion, the latest in a series of big money mergers involving European utility companies.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised Essent, according to a company statement. RWE, Germany's second-largest utility and the fifth-largest in Europe, paid about 9.6 times Essent's estimated pre-tax annual earnings to complete the deal, according to Bloomberg and Reuters.

RWE will use a 9 billion euro credit facility to fund the takeover. The deal comes on the heels of several major European utility takeovers, including the French company EDF's move to outbid Warren Buffett for Constellation Energy. EDF also purchased British Energy for $18.5 billion last year and is awaiting regulatory approval to close that deal.

The RWE-Essent deal is expected to close in the third quarter, the companies said. Eighty percent of Essent shareholders must approve the deal. 

Corporate partner Shawn der Kinderen, based in Amsterdam, led the Freshfields team advising Essent, along with partners Steven Perrick, Winfred Knibbeler, and Hans Galavazi.

Weero Koster led the Norton Rose team advising RWE, assisted by partners Daphne Broerse, Simon Currie, Alan Crookes, Wouter Hertzberger, Louise Higginbottom, Richard Hill, Erol Huseyin, Yke Lennartz, Mauro Mattiuzzo, Remco Smorenburg, Michael Taylor, and John Wood.

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