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Ashurst and Linklaters have landed lead roles on the proposed 1.4 billion pound ($2.5 billion) takeover of Russian oil exploration giant Imperial Energy. The deal sees Linklaters score a role for Indian corporate ONGC Videsh, whose offer for the oil company has now been recommended and is subject to approval from the Russian government. London-based corporate partner Michael Sullivan is heading up the team. Imperial turned to regular adviser Ashurst for the takeover bid with corporate partners Michael Robins and Jonathan Earle at the helm. The two companies have been in talks since July this year; however, Chinese group Sinopec has also been reported as considering tabling a rival bid for the energy company, but as yet has made no formal offer. Ashurst has been a regular adviser to Imperial in recent years, with Robins recently taking a role for the company on its $600 million financing at the beginning of April, as well as advising on a 305 million pound ($561 million) rights issue at the end of the same month. Robins also advised the company on its 2007 move from the alternative investment market (AIM) to the FTSE. Linklaters has also advised its client in the past, including taking a role in 2006 when it was part of a consortium that bought 324 million pounds-worth ($596 million) of Syrian oil assets from Petro-Canada. For more news, commentary and analysis on the international legal market, visit LegalWeek.com

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