Arcelor-Severstal merger hits a bump

Tensions are brewing over steel giant Arcelor’s conduct in its proposed merger with Russia’s Severstal – and Allen & Overy (A&O) and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom are both at the heart of the action.

Not only are shareholders mounting opposition to Arcelor’s E6.5bn (£4.43bn) share buyback scheme, but they are also voicing discontent over the proposed merger after a publication by Arcelor suggested that the merger would effectively hand control of the company to Alexei Mordashov, chairman of Severstal.

In fact, tensions have reached such a point that legal commentators are now speculating over the possibility of legal action against Arcelor’s board of directors for falling foul of conflicting interests. As one lawyer said: “There is a serious potential for serious damages.”

Either way, it makes for exciting times for Arcelor’s advisers Skadden and Serverstal’s advisers A&O, as the share buyback goes before a shareholder vote this week (21 June) and the Severstal’s bid a week later, on 30 June.Get the latest news and an irreverent commentary delivered to your desktop every Wednesday by subscribing to Lawyer News Weekly.

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