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Denton Wilde Sapte (DWS) has scooped an instruction from UK and Canadian-listed Nelson Resources, an independent oil company that is the target of Russian state oil giant Lukoil.
According to reports, Nelson's controlling shareholders, which hold a 65 per cent stake in the company, have agreed to a $2bn (£1.14bn) sale, despite the offer being about 10 per cent below the company's current market value.
It is understood Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has secured instructions from Lukoil, which has a legal panel including Norton Rose and White & Case. Akin Gump Washington DC partner James Langdon is believed to be acting for the company. Langdon has taken instructions from Lukoil before, advising on the sale of a 7.59 per cent stake to ConocoPhillips last October.
DWS landed the instruction from Nelson a fortnight ago following a recommendation from the firm's energy practice.
Canadian firm Gowling Lafleur Henderson is providing advice on local law issues.
Nelson is a former Canadian gold miner which has focused on Kazakhstan oil since 2000 with reserves of 270 million barrels.