CC and Weil secure instructions on GE’s purchase of Vetco Gray

Clifford Chance has retained its role as lead adviser to a private equity consortium in its $1.9bn (£982.1m) disposal of an oil market supplier to Weil Gotshal & Manges client General Electric (GE).

The consortium comprised Candover, 3i and JPMorgan Partners. Houston-headquartered Vetco Gray supplies products and services for onshore and offshore oil and gas drilling, with sales of more than $1.6bn (£827m).

Private equity partners Adam Signy and Ian Bagshaw led the team at Clifford Chance for the consortium, as they did in 2004 when the private equity funds banded together to buy Vetco from Swiss-Swedish engineering group ABB for $925m (£478m).

The consortium’s financial adviser on the Vetco disposal was Lehman Brothers.

While Vetco Gray has been spun off from the original Vetco International business, the consortium will retain control of Vetco Aibel, which provides services for the upstream oil and gas market.

Travers Smith won a role advising the management of Vetco on the disposal, with corporate partner David Innes and senior associate Caroline Murphy leading. Travers also advised Vetco on the original 2004 buyout. The firm will continue to advise the management of Vetco Aibel.

Weil fielded its co-chair of the corporate team Thomas Roberts in New York as well as Dallas-based corporate partner Jay Tabor for longstanding client GE.

The firm has taken the lead role in a string of GE’s increasingly diversified acquisitions, including the $656m (£339.1m) purchase of Canadian water purification company Zenon Environmental in April 2006.