Weil advises Chatterjee on Basell acquisition

Weil Gotshal & Manges has secured its first instruction from Indian private equity house Chatterjee Group to advise on its role in the acquisition of chemical group Basell.

Weil London managing partner Mike Francies landed the mandate late last year following a referral from Merrill Lynch to Weil New York partner Howard Chatzinoff, who then referred it on to London.

Chatterjee and Weil initially led on the deal, but consortium member Access Industries, the highly liquid private equity group controlled by Russian billionaire Leonard Blavatnik, came to the fore in the later stages of the transaction.

The switch saw Access’s longstanding adviser Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, led by London partner Scott Simpson, eventually take the lead role ahead of Weil.

Basell was created in 2000 through a joint venture between Royal Dutch/Shell and German chemicals company BASF. The acquisition, valued at E4.4bn (£3bn), is one of the largest private equity transactions of the year.

Weil, having advised on the commercial contract elements of the deal, may yet secure instructions from Basell on commercial matters but it seems likely that Skadden will reap the lion’s share of the plastics group’s work in the future.

Cahill Gordon & Reindel and Linklaters advised Credit Suisse First Boston and Merrill Lynch, which provided the financing for the deal, while tax practice Curtis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle acted as tax counsel to Access. Allen & Overy advised Royal Dutch/Shell.