CC Abu Dhabi launch prompts major oil acquisition mandate

CC Abu Dhabi launch prompts major oil acquisition mandateClifford Chance has bagged a role as the only UK firm on the Abu Dhabi state-owned International Petroleum ;Investment Company’s (Ipic) $2.3bn (£1.58bn) purchase of Canada’s Nova Chemicals Corporation.

The is the first ­mandate from Ipic for the magic ­circle firm since it launched its office in Abu Dhabi in August last year. It is understood that Shearman & Sterling is Ipic’s longstanding legal adviser in Abu Dhabi.

Clifford Chance has put a five-lawyer team on the deal, with Abu Dhabi partner John ;Graham ;and ­Washington DC partner Bill ­Blumenthal leading the team. It is understood that Abu Dhabi senior associate Jon Olier handled much of the work coordinating the deal for Ipic across the time zones.

The firm worked with finance partner Philip Brown at Canadian firm Torys, which advised on the Canadian aspects of the deal for Ipic.

Graham said: “I think we’ve done a deal for them in the past, but it’s a fairly new client for us here and one we’re excited about.

It’s because we’re here ­physically now – it’s a ­relationship established through the new office.”

He added: “We’ve got about 20 lawyers here now. We feel very fortunate to have got the instructions that we have, and we’d be happy to receive more.”

The deal, which has been offered at a 348 per cent premium to Nova’s share price, ;will ;bring ;the ­company some relief from worsening trading conditions brought on by falling oil prices and looming debt repayments.

Nova’s roster of advisers comprises Canadian firm Osler Hoskin & Harcourt and leading New York firm Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz. Corporate partner David Katz led Wachtell’s four-man team.

Osler Hoskin handled the transaction with a team including the firm’s co-chairman Brian Levitt, ­corporate finance partner John ;Macfarlane ;and ­Western Canada corporate head Stan Magidson.