White & Case NY link wins mining bonanza

White & Case has landed its first ever deal for MMC Norilsk Nickel, acting on the Russian mining group’s surprise $1.16bn (£958.7bn) purchase of Anglo American’s stake in Gold Fields.

MMC Norilsk conducted the cash purchase of a 20 per cent share in Gold Fields, the fourth-largest gold mining company in the world, through its London-based subsidiary Norimet.

The sale gives Anglo American some $480m (£261.5m) in profit, which the FTSE 100-listed South African mining giant intends to use on capital expenditure and debt repayment.

White & Case won the instruction through New York corporate and securities partner Kevin Keogh via his longstanding relationship with Canada’s BMO Nesbitt Burns, which acted as financial adviser to MMC Norilsk.

The mandate came to the firm on Thursday 25 March, with the sale following just four days later on Monday 29 March.

Keogh said: “I was surprised by the swiftness of the deal.” Although he added: “It’s not strange when you have a situation where a seller has indicated an intention to dispense with a block as part of a reallocation of resources.”

MMC Norilsk counts Russian oligarch and former Yeltsin government official Vladimir Potanin as one of its largest shareholders. Potanin acquired control of more than 20 former state-owned enterprises during the country’s transition to a market economy.

Shearman & Sterling, led by London-based capital markets partner Richard Price, acted for Anglo American on the deal. Linklaters, headed by Moscow-based banking and projects partner Michael Bott, represented Citigroup as financial adviser to Anglo American.