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WINNER: Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners

In a field packed with Russian deals, local powerhouse Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners wins the first-ever European Corporate Team of the Year award for its work advising UC Rusal on a deal which ended a long dispute over shares in Norilsk Nickel, in which Rusal holds a 25.1 per cent stake.

Completed in December 2012, the deal saw Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich agree to buy a minority position worth $1.5bn in Norilsk Nickel. The acquisition was part of a settlement between the shareholders of the company, who had been engaged in a conflict for five years.

The deal involved novel compulsory transfer provisions using escrow and third-party material breach evaluation triggers which circumvented standard restrictions. The deal needed to be structured to provide an agreed scheme of corporate governance, under which Abramovich’s investment vehicle Millhouse Capital transferred its stake to the escrow account. Matched there by equal stakes from Rusal and fellow shareholder Interros, Millhouse will have control over compliance through voting rights.

The deal was led by firm chairman Dimitry Afanasiev, supported by recent recruit Robin Wittering (particularly on English law issues) and litigation partner Denis Arkhipov. Ashurst was instructed on EU merger control and Hong Kong securities matters.


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