Linklaters repels Slaughters to snatch Aquarius mine deal

Linklaters has seen off competition from Slaughter and May to advise platinum miner Aquarius on its $191m (£134.67m) fund-raising and all-share offer for rival Ridge Mining.

Linklaters corporate partners Charlie Jacobs and Robert Cleaver advised Aquarius on the $121.7m (£85.81m) share placing and $69.6m (£49.07m) rights issue, while private equity partner Carlton Evans acted on the Ridge Mining bid. Aquarius is also planning a convertible bond issue.

Ashurst corporate partner Nicholas Holmes won the underwriting mandate to represent Merrill Lynch, while Field Fisher Waterhouse advised longstanding client Ridge Mining.

Slaughters advised Aquarius on a previous fundraising in 2008, when the company brought in $366m (£258.06m) by selling new shares at 800p.

Linklaters was at the table for that deal, advising the underwriter Morgan Stanley, but this is the firm’s first significant mandate from Aquarius.

Former Slaughters head of corporate Timothy Freshwater is a non-executive director at Aquarius.

This was the second major capital raising instruction for Ashurst this year. The firm advised William Hill on its plan to raise £1.2bn via a rights issue and debt facility.

The Aquarius deal also called in a host of international firms. Clayton Utz acted for the company in Australia, alongside Werksmans in South Africa. The banks instructed Mallesons in Australia and Deneys Reitz in South Africa.

Field Fisher has advised Ridge Mining since its split with gold business Cluff Mining in 2004.

Corporate finance partner Anthony Brockbank is the relationship partner for Ridge, and led the firm’s team on the Aquarius bid.

Aquarius, which is listed in Australia, London and South Africa, is understood to value Ridge Mining at around $92m (£64.87m). The platinum sector is under pressure to consolidate amid slumping commodity prices.