US trio digs deep for BHP Petrohawk buy

US heavyweights Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Sullivan & Cromwell have lined up to advise on BHP Billiton’s $12.1bn (£7.4bn) purchase of Petrohawk Energy Corporation.

The Australian mining giant has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Petrohawk for $38.75 per share by way of an all-cash tender offer for all of the issued and outstanding shares of Petrohawk, ­representing a total equity value of about $12.1bn and a total enterprise value of $15.1bn.

Teams from Morgan Lewis and SullCrom are acting as ­co-counsel to BHP, while Simpson Thacher is advising Petrohawk. BHP has also engaged Barclays Capital and Scotia Waterous as financial advisers on the offer, while Petrohawk has appointed Goldman Sachs.

The Morgan Lewis team is being led by energy ­transactions team leader David Asmus and energy partner Michael King. The SullCrom team is headed by partners James Morphy and Krishna Veeraraghavan.

The Simpson Thacher team is being led by ­partners Lee Meyerson and Eric ­Swedenburg.

Petrohawk is an independent oil and natural gas company, and has led a number of explorations and developments of shale deposits in the US.

The acquisition provides BHP with operating ­positions in Petrohawk’s shale plays including the Eagle Ford shale deposit in south ern Texas, the Haynesville and Lower Bossier shales in northwestern Texas and the Permian Basin in western Texas.

The deal is expected to be completed by September.