Deals comment

Anxious times at Shearman & Sterling’s New York corporate department. The firm hit the headlines at the start of the year when it won a rare instruction from BASF. The chemical giant put in a hostile bid for US rival Engelhard, offering a $4.9bn (£2.75bn) all-cash offer.

Shearman bites its nails ahead of possible BASF M&A deal

Anxious times at Shearman & Sterling‘s New York corporate department. The firm hit the headlines at the start of the year when it won a rare instruction from BASF. The chemical giant put in a hostile bid for US rival Engelhard, offering a $4.9bn (£2.75bn) all-cash offer. However, last week (23 January) the offer was rejected, with Engelhard urging shareholders to withstand BASF’s advances. Now Shearman awaits BASF’s next move and hopes that the company successfully increases its bid and hands it a juicy M&A deal. Not that Shearman is short of big-ticket mandates. Last week, the German practice announced it had advised Sanofi-Aventis on the $1.3bn (£728.9m) sale of its rights to Exubera to Pfizer and scooped a role on Italy’s largest-ever deal in the US – Lottomatica’s $4.8bn (£2.7bn) acquisition of online lottery operator Gtech Holdings.

Freshfields and Sutherland land £2.8bn instruction for BNFL

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Sutherland Asbill & Brennan have scooped an instruction from British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) on the pending $5bn (£2.8bn) sale of its US subsidiary Westinghouse to Japanese congolmerate Toshiba. BNFL’s in-house legal director Alvin Shuttleworth (pictured) and UK general counsel Sue Quaint are leading on the deal, along with Atlanta-based Sutherland Asbill on US matters and Freshfields on European competition and regulatory issues. Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom has taken the lead US advisory role for Toshiba, while Denton Wilde Sapte is advising Toshiba on the UK side. Herbert Smith and Davis Polk & Wardwell are advising the Department of Trade and Industry on the transaction. As The Lawyer went to press, BNFL’s management was expected to agree to the sale. Toshiba offered the highest bid against US group General Electric and Japanese rival Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.