Bakers leads Ensco bid to buy rival US driller Pride

Baker & McKenzie is ­representing UK-based ­offshore drilling company Ensco on its $7.1bn (£4.4bn) bid to acquire US competitor Pride.

The cash-and-stock deal could create the world’s ­second-largest offshore driller after Transocean and has been hailed as a vote of confidence in deepwater drilling following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year.

Dallas-based corporate partners Roger Bivans and Alan Harvey are leading the Baker & McKenzie team advising Ensco.

In London the team also includes corporate partner Helen Bradley, who advised Russian-based oil company Exillon Energy on its ­London IPO in 2009, and tax partner James MacLachlan. The pair are working alongside partners Susan Stone and Michael Snider in Houston, and New York finance ­specialist Janna Bellwin.

Pride is being advised by teams from Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz and Baker Botts. The Wachtell team includes partners David Katz in corporate, and restructuring partner Eric Rosof, while the Baker Botts team is being led by corporate chair David Kirkland. It also includes tax partners Derek Green and Benjamin Wells.

If the deal goes ahead the combined company would have 74 oil rigs compared with Transocean’s 138, and an estimated value of $16bn. Reports suggest the deal is likely to close in the second quarter of 2011.