Vinson secures lead role as EMGS float makes a splash in Norway

US firm Vinson & Elkins has acted on one of Norway’s most popular IPOs so far this year, the $1.6bn (£809.54m) flotation of innovative oil services company ElectroMagnetic GeoServices (EMGS).

Vinson acted for the company and its selling shareholder, private equity house Warburg Pincus. Although Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer traditionally has close ties with Warburg in Europe, energy-strong Vinson has a longstanding relationship with Warburg’s global oil and gas investments, for which it has $2bn (£1.02bn) earmarked in funds.

This is one of Warburg’s inaugural energy investments in Europe and is consequently one of the first times Vinson has represented Warburg in the region.

Warburg netted $270m (£136.61m) from the IPO. It bought EMGS in 2004 from Statoil, Norway’s state oil company. From the IPO’s gross proceeds, $125m (£63.25m) will go to EMGS.

London-based corporate finance partner Peter Young led the team at Vinson on EMGS’s flotation in what is his first headline deal since moving to the firm from Shearman & Sterling in January (The Lawyer, 24 January).

Goldman Sachs was lead coordinator, as well as being joint bookrunner with Lehman Brothers and ABG Sundal Collier. Vinson’s US rival Latham & Watkins advised the banks, with London-based corporate finance partner Olof Clausson leading the team.

The company priced its IPO at NKr135 (£11.19) per share, at the very top of its revised price range. The range had to be reset following strong investor demand.

Both retail and institutional investors were attracted by the company’s potential. It has invented a way of discovering hydrocarbons below the seabed using magnets rather than drilling.