Herbert Smith and Travers field City teams for Polish energy deal

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) and Travers Smith have scooped roles as San Leon Energy acquires Aurelian Oil & Gas in a bid to become the largest foreign holder of shale licenses in Poland.

Spencer Summerfield
Spencer Summerfield

HSF, a longstanding adviser to both Aurelian Oil & Gas and San Leon Energy, is acting for Aurelian in the transaction, having been initially appointed to advise the exploration and production company in February when it launched a strategic review to examine and evaluate options to sell the company’s assets or to sell the whole company altogether.

As a result, once it was clear that a deal with San Leon Energy was on the cards, HSF was conflicted out of acting for San Leon and the oil and gas company was forced to look elsewhere. Travers Smith was then brought in to advise the oil and gas company on the acquisition earlier this month.

HSF London corporate partner Mark Bardell and corporate and energy partner Steven Dalton are leading the team for Aurelian, while Travers corporate finance head Spencer Summerfield is acting for San Leon, alongside corporate senior associate Mohammed Senouci.

The deal will see San Leon pay an estimated $98m (£61.7m) in stock for Aurelian, which will bring the companies’ combined market value to approximately £150m and consolidate its unconventional gas concession portfolio in Poland.

The transaction is pending approval from Aurelian’s shareholders, but this is expected before the end of the year and it is understood that the deal is likely to be completed before the end of January 2013.

Bardell commented: “Aurelian is an upstream export company in the early stage of its life and we knew that there were many opportunities and possibilities as to how it could progress, so the real challenge with this particular transaction was getting it right.”

Background to this deal:

Legacy Herbert Smith is a longstanding adviser to Aurelian, having been the company’s primary external lawyers for around 18 months. Bardell, Dalton and global M&A head Stephen Wilkinson are all relationship partners for Aurelian.

HSF is also normally San Leon’s go-to counsel, but as the firm had already started advising Aurelian in the early stages of the process, San Leon turned to Travers. Although Travers had acted for San Leon previously on a smaller matter earlier this year, this is the firm’s first large corporate mandate for the company.