A&O, Freshfields and Shearman advise as US exchange ICE goes Dutch

Allen & Overy (A&O), Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Shearman & Sterling have won roles advising on IntercontinentalExchange’s (ICE) acquisition of a stake in Dutch energy exchange company APX-Endex’s gas and power derivatives business.

Laurence Levy
Laurence Levy

The acquisition, which will give the US energy exchange company entry into the growing Dutch gas market for the first time, sees ICE take a 79.12 per cent stake in the business from European gas infrastructure company Gasunie.

A team of lawyers from longstanding ICE adviser Shearman advised the buyer, led by a team from the firm’s London office. Corporate partner Laurence Levy acted as lead partner on the deal, assisted by senior associate Simon Little and associate Blake Spencer, with partner Thomas Donegan advising on financial regulatory issues alongside associate Mark Dawson. For Dutch law matters ICE turned to Loyens & Loeff.

Gasunie, which as an existing shareholder of APX-Endex is expected to retain any remaining shares in the business, turned to A&O for advice, led by Amsterdam corporate head Annelies van der Pauw.

Freshfields acted for APX-Endex, led by the firm’s Netherlands-based corporate partner Alexander Doorman. It is understood that finance partner David Rouch advised a Freshfields UK team.

In connection with the transaction, APX-Endex is to reorganise its business into two operations: a power spot and clearing business and a derivatives and gas spot business.

The acquisition is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2013, subject to regulatory approvals.

Background to this deal:

Shearman has a longstanding relationship with ICE, advising on the launch of its over-the-counter foreign exchange clearing facility, its takeover of Climate Exchange, the setting up of ICE Clear Europe, its acquisition of the Clearing Corporation and its formation of a US CDS clearing house. The firm’s role acting for ICE, however, has been known to create a commercial conflict with one of the company’s rivals, the CME Group (2 July 2012). The global financial exchange, formed in 2007 out of the mergers of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade, had previously used the firm’s financial regulatory partner Barney Reynolds as its UK counsel but given the competitive nature of the industry decided that Shearman could no longer advise.