Firms enter three-way Russian IPO battle

Ashurst, Linklaters and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher are battling it out to advise newly merged Russian aluminium giants Rusal and Sual on the merged entity’s proposed London listing.

The battle follows the three firms’ plum roles on the $30bn (£16.15bn) tripartite merger of Rusal, domestic rival Sual and Swiss commodities trader Glencore’s alumina business, announced last Monday (www. thelawyer.com, 9 October).

Ashurst and Gibson Dunn, along with Russian firm Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners, advised Rusal on the merger. Linklaters advised Sual and Glencore.

The combined company is understood to be targeting a London listing in Q1 2008, following comments by Sual chairman Viktor Vekselberg last week.

Ashurst corporate partner David Kershaw, who led the firm’s advice to Rusal, said: “It’s down to the company to decide who its advisers are and all three firms have their own ideas, and we’d be happy to act.”

The outcome is made more uncertain as Rusal, which will hold a majority 66 per cent stake in the merged entity, appointed a new legal chief in late September, in the final stage of merger discussions.

As reported on www. thelawyer.com (10 October), Peter Clateman joins as managing director of legal affairs from the Sputnik Group, where he was head of legal.

Ashurst landed its merger role through its relationship with Egorov. Egorov chairman Dimitry Afansiev is a friend of Rusal chairman and Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.