Trio of firms to lead on BP’s proposed sale of TNK-BP stake to Rosneft

In BP’s proposed $27bn (£16.8bn) sale of its stake in TNK-BP to Russian state oil company Rosneft both sides have turned to their regular advisers for advice.

Linklaters, BP’s long-standing adviser, is acting as lead counsel to the British oil company. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, which recently represented Rosneft in the Court of Appeal, is advising its client on the acquisition.

BP’s joint venture partners in TNK-BP – the Alfa-Access-Renova (AAR) group – is represented by Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom on matters related to the BP sale.

Linklaters’ team included London corporate partner Stephen Griffin, commercial litigation partner Michael Bennett and global corporate head Jeremy Parr.

Cleary’s core team for Rosneft consists of M&A partner Russell Pollack in Paris and corporate finance partner Daniel Braverman and associates Gabriele Antonazzo and Marie-Hélène Farrelly in London advising on the corporate aspects, with Brussels-based competition partner Antoine Winckler providing additional advice on antitrust matters. Moscow-based corporate partner Murat Akuyev and associates Mikhail Suvorov and Yulia Savitskaya also provided advice on Russian law matters.

The Skadden corporate team is led by London partners Scott Simpson and Michal Berkner and Moscow partners Linda Davies and Dmitri Kovalenko. Disputes partner David Kavanagh and counsel David Edwards are also advising alongside antitrust partner Ingrid Vandenborre.

Meanwhile, Weil Gotshal & Manges London corporate partner Marco Compagnoni is advising AAR on its own sale of its stake in TNK-BP to Rosneft.

According to the Financial Times, the deal, which is still under discussion, would see BP sell Rosneft its 50 per cent stake in TNK-BP for a mixture of cash and shares with a total value of $27bn.

Background to this deal:

Linklaters and Skadden have been advising their respective clients in their troublesome partnership in TNK-BP, the joint venture established between BP and AAR in 2003, for some time. Last year, the two firms had roles in the arbitration between BP and AAR over a proposed share swap between BP and Rosneft (12 May 2011).

In January 2011, Linklaters, led by Griffin and Moscow corporate partner Grigory Gadzhiev, acted for BP on its £10bn share swap with Rosneft. In that deal, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer London corporate partner Sebastian Lawson, along with Moscow associate Sergei Diyachenko, acted for Rosneft (24 January 2011). The deal saw BP take a 9.5 per cent stake in Rosneft, with the Russian company taking a 5 per cent share in BP.

In Rosneft’s most recent joint venture with natural gas producer Itera to jointly develop gas fields in the Russian Arctic, the Russian oil company instructed Allen & Overy corporate head Anton Konnov and energy partner Tim Shilling (23 August 2012).