A&O, Slaughters bag GE’s John Wood oil well division purchase

Allen & Overy (A&O) and Slaughter and May have taken the prize mandates advising John Wood Group on the $2.8bn (£1.7bn) sale of its oil well support ­division to General Electric (GE).

A multijurisdictional A&O team acted for GE, led ­jointly by US M&A head Eric Shube and London corporate ­partner David Broadley.

Slaughters took the mandate from longstanding client John Wood, fielding a team led by corporate ­partner Simon Nicholls.

Baker Botts, meanwhile, acted for the energy services group on the US aspects of the transaction, with ­Houston-based firmwide corporate chair David ­Kirkland leading.

Slaughters has acted for Aberdeen-based John Wood on several major transactions going back a number of years, most recently its £600m purchase of rival PSN at the end of last year.

Nicholls led on that ­transaction alongside finance partner Andrew Balfour. PSN turned to McGrigors for advice, with corporate partner Rosalie Chadwick leading from its Glasgow office.

Nicholls said: “This is another good deal for a ­significant client. There was a big return of value on this, so it was a great deal and we were happy to help them get it away.”

On the back of the sale last week, John Wood shares immediately leapt by 13 per cent. The group told shareholders that it would return more than half of the sale price to its shareholders.

For GE the deal is part of what is believed to be a growing interest in the oil and gas sector.

Slaughters also acted on GE’s previous investment in the UK energy market when corporate partner Mark Zerdin led a team advising the US conglomerate on its £800m takeover of ­Wellstream.

The oil and gas services company was advised by Clifford Chance on the December 2010 deal, with London corporate partners Tim Lewis and David Lewis leading.

The latest deal is still ­subject to regulatory approval, after which GE will take on nearly 4,000 staff spread across 20 offices in the well support division.