Polygon, British Energy settle their differences

McDermott Will & Emery

’s client Polygon Investment Partners has backed down in its high-profile dispute with British Energy.

London corporate head William Charnley and head of international disputes John Reynolds advised rebel British Energy shareholder Polygon on its battle with the company and the bondholders. The firm has a longstanding relationship with Polygon.

The debate concerned a resolution proposed by Polygon against the Government-backed restructuring of British Energy. However, the parties reached a non-financial settlement on 30 September, and Polygon is now in the unusual position of having to vote with the company at the extraordinary general meeting (EGM) that the hedge fund requisitioned.

Litigation against Polygon by British Energy and the bondholders, advised by Clifford Chance and Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft respectively, was withdrawn when the hedge fund agreed to settle.

The settlement leaves Stark Investments as the largest shareholder in British Energy. Stark, owned by Wisconsin fund manager Brian Stark, is understood to be a bondholder and is therefore expected to vote for restructuring along with the bondholder committee. Stark did not return calls for comment.

Financial litigation partner Michelle Duncan is heading the Cadwalader team advising the bondholders, who are still pursuing actions against British Energy and shareholder Brandes Investment Partners.

Brandes, advised by Travers Smith Braithwaite corporate finance head Spencer Summerfield and litigation partner Andrew King, still faces a claim for wrongful procurement and breach of contract.
Meanwhile, there is also ongoing litigation against British Energy, in which the bondholders are asking for a declaration that the restructuring agreement is binding.

But all eyes will be on the EGM on 22 October, where the company and the bondholders will hope that the Polygon turnaround is enough to secure British Energy’s future.

The hedge fund’s general counsel, Sean Coate, declined to comment.