Lovells, Freshfields, White & Case secure major German energy deal

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Lovells and White & Case have advised on a major deal that is set to transform the German ­energy market.

Steven Bryan
Steven Bryan

The firms worked on the acquisition by a joint venture – made up of Australian investor Industry Funds Management (IFM) and its partner and owner of the Belgian high voltage grid Elia – of the business of 50Hertz Transmission from Vatenfall Europe.

The deal marks the growth of independent companies in the German transmission market and happens in advance of the implementation of the third EU Package Directive, which will require EU countries to ­separate ownership of ­transmission grid operation and generation/supply ­businesses.

Lovells partner Steven Bryan, who led his firm’s cross-border team advising its longstanding client IFM on the matter, said: “It’s the first divestment by an ­integrated generation and transmission owner. It ­creates a precedent because it’s an example of how it can be done. You’ve got a ­combination of an industry player and a financial player – perhaps it shows the way forward. These are assets that are highly sought after.”

Lovells was asked to advise IFM after having worked with the client on a number of matters over the past few years, including its bid as part of a consortium for Anglian Water.

Bryan was assisted by Ben Higson (partner) and ­Karima Fahmy (senior ­associate) in the London corporate team; Alexander Loos (partner) and Thorsten Volz (senior ­associate) in the Dusseldorf corporate team; Michael Dettmeier (partner) and Stefan Schultes-Schnitzlein (senior associate) in the Dusseldorf tax team; and Matthew Levitt (partner) and Simon Barnes (of ­counsel) in the competition and EU law team based in Belgium and London.

The assets are to be acquired by Elia and IFM on a 60:40 basis for a total of e810m (£899m). The joint venture was advised by Freshfields, with a team including Cologne-based corporate and M&A partners Ludwig Leyendecker and Burkhard Bastuck.

Vatenfall is understood to have been advised by White & Case M&A partners Jörg Kraffel and Carsten Rodemann, together with its in-house team.