Skadden and A&O snare latest billion-dollar energy deal

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Allen & Overy have taken the lead roles on a $1bn energy deal in Africa.

Skadden represented Vitol Group and new client Helios Investment Partners in their acquisition of the majority of Shell’s shareholding in most of its African downstream businesses.

Skadden partner Doug Nordlinger led the firm’s team, which also included partners Shaun Lascelles, Tim Sanders, Chris Baker, Mark Darley, Clive Wells and counsel Scott Brown.

De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek also acted as counsel to Vitol and Helios, with London-based partner Ernest Meyer Swantée leading.

Allen & Overy corporate partner Dominic Morris led the Magic Circle firm’s team for Shell assisted by corporate partner Gillian Holgate and senior associate David Duncan. Banking partner Philip Bowden advised on financing.

The deal, which will see two new joint ventures formed to assure the continued availability of Shell fuels and lubricants under the Shell brand, was particularly complex because of its multijurisdictional nature.

One joint venture will own and operate Shell’s existing oil products, distribution and retailing businesses in 14 African countries, with the potential to add five more in future.

A separate company, 50 per cent owned by Shell and 50 per cent by Vitol and Helios, will own and operate Shell’s existing lubricants blending plants in seven countries.

The deal was governed by English law but because of the Francophone nature of many of the African countries involved, Skadden ran much of the due diligence out of its Paris office.