Cobbetts benefits as Abramovich invests in gold

Cobbetts has landed a key role on the latest acquisition by Russia’s richest man and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich.

The Manchester-headquartered firm advised AIM-listed gold miner Highland Gold on the sale of a 40 per cent stake in the business to Abramovich for $400m (£194.5m) last week.

Abramovich has bought the stake through his investment company Millhouse, and becomes Highland Gold’s biggest shareholder.

As Highland Gold is Russian-based but Jersey-registered, it is not subject to the Takeover Code and therefore Abramovich does not have to make an automatic bid, despite exceeding the 29.9 per cent threshold that normally triggers a formal takeover announcement.

Corporate finance partner Simon Ledbrooke led the team at Cobbetts, which led on English law aspects. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Moscow legal services arm advised on Russian law, while Jersey law aspects were handled by Bedell Cristin.

Financial advisers to Highland Gold were NM Rothschild and JP Morgan Cazenove.

Cobbetts advised Highland Gold in 2005 on its $13m advancement by Barrick Gold, up until now the biggest shareholder in Highland.

Although Abramovich has a longstanding relationship with Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom’s London managing partner Bruce Buck, on this occasion Millhouse used its own in-house legal team.