Herbies and Links advise as Centrica buys British Energy stake

Linklaters and Herbert Smith have won instructions in a £2.3bn deal that saw British Gas owner Centrica buy a 20 per cent stake in nuclear energy group British Energy.

Owen Clay

Owen Clay

Centrica, which was advised by Linklaters corporate partner Owen Clay, bought the stake from British Energy owner EDF Energy. Clay worked alongside Centrica general counsel Grant Dawson and legal counsel Lisa Minns.

EDF was represented by Herbert Smith partner Mark Newbery, with support from M&A partner Simon Youdale and energy partners Julia Pyke and Jennifer Bell.

The deal also includes a joint venture between the two companies to build four power stations in the UK and the handover of Centrica’s 51 per cent stake in Belgian power generator SPE to EDF.

Clay said: “This is a key milestone in the re-launch of the nuclear industry in the UK and the Government’s policy to secure UK energy supplies and reduce carbon emissions. For Centrica, the UK’s biggest household gas supplier, the deal is a major step towards its goal of reducing exposure to short-term volatility in the wholesale gas and power markets.”

EDF agreed to buy British Energy for £12.5bn in September last year, with Centrica purchasing a 25 per cent stake. Centrica was forced to renegotiate the deal after a sharp drop in electricity prices.

British Energy’s adviser in the acquisition, Clifford Chance partner Mark Poulton, was not involved in the latest deal.