BLP and Norton Rose lead as Playtech founder’s energy group plots float

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) and Norton Rose are advising as Genesis Energy, which was founded by the Israeli billionaire who also owns almost half of Playtech, looks to float on AIM.

Genesis Energy has interests in seven offshore licences in the Mediterranean Sea between Cyprus and Israel, an area that is reportedly rich in natural gas deposits.

In 2010, Texas company Noble Energy announced it had discovered significant hydrocarbon reserves in the area. The discoveries have since led to friction between the nations nearest the sites over rights to the reserves.

Genesis Energy, which was founded by billionaire Teddy Sagi, is looking to float on London’s AIM during the 2012 calendar year and reportedly hopes to raise between £57m and £76m from the IPO. If successful, the deal would be one of the largest on AIM so far this year.

Genesis has instructed investment bank Canaccord Genuity to handle the float. Norton Rose is advising Canaccord, with London corporate partner Nick Adams leading.

BLP is advising Genesis Energy, with corporate finance partners Murdoch Currie and Alex Latner leading on the deal.

Background to this deal:

BLP has advised gaming software company Playtech, which was also established by Genesis Energy founder Sagi, since 2005. In 2006, BLP advised Playtech on its £550m AIM float, the market’s largest ever at that time (3 April 2006). Corporate finance partner David Collins led on the deal along with gaming and regulatory partner Hillary Stewart-Jones. Latner also assisted.

Stewart-Jones left BLP along with Stephen Ketteley to join DLA Piper in June 2011 and it is understood that she continues to be instructed by Playtech on regulatory matters. However, BLP has continued to get the bulk of Playtech’s corporate work. The firm advised the company on its move-up from AIM to the main market in July this year.