Shearman steps into British Energy rescue affray

Shearman & Sterling has emerged as the adviser to British Energy rebel shareholder Polygon Investments.

Over the past two weeks, Polygon, a hedge fund set up in late 2002, has been pressing for British Energy shareholders to be given a larger equity stake in the company, as opposed to the 2.5 per cent slice set out under the restructuring plan agreed last October.

Polygon, which holds a 5.6 per cent share in the beleaguered nuclear generator, is demanding that shareholders be given a 30 per cent stake as part of the ‘debt-for-equity swap’ rescue plan.

Shearman’s relationship with Polygon is tied to co-founder Reade Griffith, who was formally head of European event-driven trading and acting chief executive at US hedge fund giant Citadel, a client of the New York firm.

The restructuring plan needs to be approved by the European Commission, since the UK Government has put up £5bn as part of the turnaround. However, according to reports, Polygon is considering challenging the plan through the EU courts.

Chris Bright, EU and competition partner at Shearman’s London office, is acting for Polygon.

The British Energy restructure has involved a plethora of law firms, including Clifford Chance for the company and Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft for the bondholders.