Herbert Smith wins key role on Rio Tinto deal

Herbert Smith has won a place alongside the regular advisers in a deal that will see mining giant Rio Tinto strike up a joint venture with rival BHP Billiton and raise $15.2bn (£9.37bn) in a rights issue.

Herbert Smith has won a place alongside the regular advisers in a deal that will see mining giant Rio Tinto strike up a joint venture with rival BHP Billiton and raise $15.2bn (£9.37bn) in a rights issue.

Herbert Smith corporate partners Will Pearce and James Palmer are advising the underwriting banks on the share issue alongside Davis Polk & Wardwell London corporate partner Nigel Wilson.

Rio Tinto is being represented by Linklaters, which advised the dual listed mining group throughout its long running takeover battle with BHP Billiton last year.

Corporate partners James Inglis, Jessamy Gallagher, Tom Shropshire and competition partner Gavin Robert led the team.

Rio Tinto has abandoned its proposed $19.5bn tie-up with China’s Chinalco as part of an agreement with BHP Billiton to jointly invest in assets in Western Australia.

BHP Billition called on longstanding adviser Slaughter and May led by corporate partner Nigel Boardman, while Clifford Chance corporate partners Kathy Honeywood and Nigel Wellings acted for Chinalco.

Rio Tinto will pay a $195m fee to break off the agreement with Chinalco, which owns a 10 per cent stake in the group.

Rio Tinto is struggling with debts of around $37bn following its acquisition of aluminium group Alcan in 2007.