Raft of firms benefit from mining mega-deal

The latest mega-deal in the mining industry has gifted roles to a group of elite US and Canadian firms.

US aluminium giant Alcoa has instructed Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton to advise it on its $33bn (£16.54bn) unsolicited bid for Canadian rival Alcan. Stikeman Elliot is advising Alcoa on Canadian law aspects.

It is understood that Alcan has turned to its longstanding Canadian advisers Ogilvy Renault, although both parties declined to comment. A spokesperson for Alcan said that the firm is in the process of instructing outside counsel. Historically, Alcan uses Davis Polk & Wardwell and Sullivan & Cromwell as its M&A advisers.

If successful, the combination between Alcan and Alcoa would trump that of Rusal, which merged last year with Linklaters clients Sual and Glencore in a $30bn (£15.04bn) deal.

Alcoa’s approach to Alcan is seen as a direct response to Russia’s dominance of the fastly converging aluminium industry.

Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, BMO Capital Markets and Lehman Brothers are acting as Alcoa’s financial advisers in the cash-and-shares bid. It is understood that Morgan Stanley will act for Alcan.

As exclusively reported by The Lawyer (4 December 2006), Alcoa’s general counsel Larry Purtell instigated a full-scale review of the company’s legal advisers, which resulted in LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae being dumped as litigation counsel in favour of Virginia-headquartered Hunton & Williams.

This is today’s second major M&A deal with a Canadian element following Canadian publishing group Thomson Corp’s £8.8bn approach to Reuters (see story).