From The Am Law Daily
Clifford Chance and three other firms advised on Vedanta Resources’s $1.5 billion stock purchase that gave the company a 10.4 percent stake in Cairn Energy’s India business. The purchase from Malaysia’s state-owned oil company is believed to be the largest overnight block trade transaction in India’s history.
The Am Law Daily reported last August on London-based Vedanta’s $9.6 billion bid to acquire a controlling stake in the Indian oil and gas unit of Cairn Energy. The deal would give Vedanta and its founder and chairman, Indian businessman Anil Agarwal, a large piece of the subcontinent’s lucrative oil reserves by acquiring Cairn India’s huge Rajasthan oil field.
But that deal, which is structured in a way so Vedanta takes control of Cairn India by buying out smaller shareholders, has hit regulatory hurdles. As a result Vedanta, India’s largest mining company, has sought other ways to expedite taking control of Cairn India, according to The Telegraph.
The current deal calls for Vedanta to buy 10.4 percent of Cairn India from Kuala Lumpur-based Petroliam Nasional Berhad. The company, commonly known as Petronas, is the largest in Malaysia and owns the country’s integrated oil and gas concerns.
Indian legal publications Bar & Bench and Legally India have the breakdown on the firms involved representing various parties on the transaction. Partners Essaji Vahanvati and Shuva Mandal with AZB & Partners in Mumbai are advising Vedanta subsidiary Sesa Goa, which is acquiring Petronas’s stake in Cairn India by buying its shares on the open market. (Vahanvati is the son of India’s attorney general, who was conflicted out of providing the government with a legal opinion on Vedanta’s bid for Cairn India because of the relationship, according to Legally India.)
Clifford Chance capital markets partner Rahul Guptan in Singapore is advising Bank of America/Merrill Lynch–placement agent for Petronas–along with Amarchand & Mangaldas, India’s largest law firm, which fielded a team led by Mumbai-based managing partner Cyril Shroff and Bangalore-based partners Nivedita Rao, Arjun Lall, and Anand Jayachandran.
Madhurima Mukherjee, head of the capital markets practice at Indian firm Luthra & Luthra in New Delhi, is advising Petronas on the complex transaction along with partner Deepak THM in Mumbai, according to Bar & Bench and Legally India.
The Financial Times reports that Vedanta’s purchase of Petronas’s stake in Cairn India on the open market will ramp up pressure on New Delhi to allow Vedanta to take over the entire company. The deal came together on short notice after Vedanta received a call on Monday from Merrill Lynch, adviser to Petronas, according to the FT. The total sale value of Petronas’s nearly 15 percent stake in Cairn India is $2.1 billion. The Malaysian company didn’t disclose the buyers for its remaining shares outside of those sold to Vedanta.
Latham & Watkins and AZB & Partners are representing Vedanta on its outstanding offer for a majority stake in Cairn India, while the company’s Edinburgh-based parent Cairn Energy has turned to Scottish firm Shepherd and Wedderburn and New Delhi-based S&R Associates, according to our previous reports.