Deals comment

CC and Linklaters get long-awaited decision on BPB sale
Linklaters will be delighted French building materials group Saint-Gobain’s offer for plaster-board giant BPB was accepted. BPB, advised by Clifford Chance corporate partner David Pudge, has consistently rejected Saint-Gobain’s offer. But after nearly five months of talks, BPB has agreed a 775p cash offer from Saint-Gobain, valuing it at £3.9bn. The offer was a considerable increase on the 720p per share hostile offer Saint-Gobain made in the summer. The instruction is believed to be the first major deal Linklaters has handled for the group. The Linklaters team is being led by corporate veteran Richard Godden (pictured) and senior associate David Holdsworth. Saint-Gobain’s interest in BPB became public in July. The group’s previous UK takeover was five years ago, with the £1.04bn acquisition of Meyer International, in which the French company instructed Macfarlanes.

FSA abandons action against ex-Royal Dutch chair
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has dropped its action against former chairman of Royal Dutch Shell Sir Philip Watts over the oil company’s reserves scandal. The decision has raised the ire of many industry commentators who claim the FSA has repeatedly failed to hold senior figures to account for company mistakes. The FSA closed its investigation more than a year after it fined Royal Dutch Shell £17m for overstating its oil and gas reserves between 1998 and 2003. The FSA said it had been pursuing inquiries into the roles of individuals in the misstatement of Shell’s hydrocarbon reserves, but had decided against taking further action. Watts was represented by Herbert Smith litigation partner Martyn Hopper. “It was the right decision,” he said. “Sir Philip has maintained that he acted properly and in good faith at all times and the decision by the FSA vindicates his position.” While Watts and his lawyers celebrate, the question remains: how could the FSA find Shell guilty of ªunprecedented misconduct” and yet not find any individuals to blame? Hopper worked alongside Herbert Smith’s head of litigation Sonya Leydecker and in-house barrister Murray Rosen QC.