Brick Court heavyweights Mark Howard QC and Mark Hapgood QC will go head to head in the High Court tomorrow (1 February) as Russian shareholders attempt to block BP’s planned alliance with Rosneft.
Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom litigation partner David Kavanagh instructed Howard to represent Alfa-Access-Renova (AAR), the consortium of TNK-BP billionaire shareholders, in its legal challenge to the proposed deal.
Kavanagh is part of a team advising the consortium which also includes Skadden’s co-head of global transactions, Scott Simpson.
Linklaters’ London litigation chief Michael Bennett instructed Hapgood for BP. Hapgood is leading Richard Slade QC and Fionn Pilbrow of the same set.
Skadden is a long-standing legal advisor to AAR, the consortium through which the Russian billionaire shareholders hold their stake in TNK-BP. BP and AAR both own 50 per cent of TNK-BP.
Howard will argue that the High Court should stop any proposed deal between BP and Rosneft as the transaction would violate AAR’s shareholder agreement with BP.
The High Court document alleges that BP has “committed and [is] continuing to commit flagrant breaches of fundamental provisions of the shareholder agreement”. It adds BP failed to provide further details of the Rosneft alliance in spite of repeated requests from the shareholders.
Rosneft is being advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer London-based corporate partner Sebastian Lawson and Moscow-based associate Sergei Diyachenko, although it has not been named in the litigation.