Clifford Chance, Linklaters lead on Rio Tinto deal

<a class=Clifford Chance, Linklaters lead on Rio Tinto deal” />Clifford Chance and Linklaters have taken lead roles in the Chinese government’s $19.5bn (£13.5bn) cash injection into mining group Rio Tinto.

Rio Tinto, advised by Linklaters, raised the money by selling stakes in its mines and issuing convertible bonds to Chinalco, the state-owned Chinese group.

When the bonds are converted into shares Chinalco, represented by Clifford Chance, will own 18 per cent of the Rio Tinto group.

Clifford Chance corporate Kathy Honeywood (pictured) and Nigel Wellings acted on the deal, supported by Beijing-based corporate partner Rupert Li.

Honeywood also worked on Chinalco’s £7.1bn share raid on Rio Tinto in February last year. That deal saw the Chinese company snap up 12 per cent of Rio’s London shares (6 February 2008).

She said: “Chinalco’s stake acquired in Rio Tinto in February 2008 represented the largest stakebuild of shares in a UK plc. Over the course of the past year we’ve worked closely with our client to structure an investment that constitutes by far the largest overseas investment by a Chinese company.”

The Linklaters team was led by corporate partners James Inglis and Richard Godden. The firm advised Rio Tinto on its long-running battle to see off a takeover bid by BHP Billiton last year. Corporate partners Richard Godden and James Inglis led the team for Rio Tinto, which is a longstanding client of the firm.

It has been reported that BHP Billiton is considering making an offer for some of the mine stakes offered to Chinalco.

BHP was advised by Slaughter and May throughout the course of its bid for Rio Tinto, leaving the City firm in prime position for the instruction.

Corporate rainmaker Nigel Boardman is the relationship partner, although corporate partner Elizabeth Holden, finance partner Andrew Balfour, competition partner Malcolm Nicholson and tax partner Jeanette Zaman all worked on the attempted takeover.

Rio Tinto is dual listed in London and Australia. The Chinalco deal is subject to Australian regulatory approval.

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