Linklaters and White & Case land roles on Sberbanks $3.9bn Denizbank deal

Linklaters and White & Case have scooped roles on the acquisition of Denizbank by Russia’s Sberbank for $3.9bn (£2.51bn).

Linklaters was retained to advise Russia’s largest bank on its acquisition of Turkish-based Denizbank from Belgium’s Dexia. The deal marks Sberbank’s largest acquisition to date and also makes it the first Russian lender to acquire a bank in Turkey.

Moscow partner John Goodwin advised Sberbank on the deal alongside partner Denis Uvarov and managing associate Lev Loukhton.

White & Case advised Dexia on the deal, with London partner David Crook leading the deal alongside Istanbul-based partners Meltem Akol and Asli Basgoz, Brussels partner Gisele Rosselle and associate Anthony O’Conner in Istanbul.

This is not the first time that the two firms have acted on a Sberbank deal. In April this year Linklaters was retained by the bank to advise on its $1bn (£0.64bn) acquisition of privately owned investment bank Troika Dialog. Offshore firm Walkers also acted as Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands counsel to Sberbank.

White & Case advised Troika Dialog’s shareholders on the transaction, while Clifford Chance was retained by South Africa’s Standard Bank, which owned the outstanding shares in the company.

Meanwhile, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick and Stibbe were retained to act for ailing Dexia when it was bailed out by the Belgian, French and Luxembourgish governments in October last year (10 October 2011).

Sberbank’s latest acquisition also comes at an interesting time for the bank, which is grappling to win back the confidence of investors. It was preparing to launch a secondary public offering last year, but like a number of other Russian entities had no choice but to delay its plans due to unfavourable market conditions (2 April 2012).

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has been advising Sberbank on the proposed privatisation, which is hoped to go through later this year (21 May 2012).

The deal also signals ongoing foreign interest in the Turkish market, which has recently become an attractive new hub for international law firms, with Allen & Overy, Baker & McKenzie, Clifford Chance, Chadbourne & Parke and Germany’s Graf von Westphalen all setting up shop there in 2011 (6 February 2012).