Freshfields, Linklaters land top roles on BP-Rosneft deal

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters have been handed the prize mandates on BP’s £10bn share swap with Russia’s state-owned oil giant Rosneft.

London corporate partner Sebastian Lawson, along with associate Sergei Diyachenko from the firm’s Moscow office, led the Freshfields team acting for Rosneft. At Linklaters, London corporate partner Stephen Griffin and Moscow corporate partner Grigory Gadzhiev acted for BP.

The deal, which sees BP take a 9.5 per cent stake in Rosneft with the Russian company taking a 5 per cent share in BP, comes as the two magic circle firms are engaged in their own battle for mandates from the London-based oil company.

Last summer, Freshfields established an advisory team featuring London corporate head Mark Rawlinson after it landed a role acting for BP on the defence of any potential takeovers (7 July 2010). The mandate was widely seen as a major blow to BP’s longstanding corporate adviser Linklaters

Freshfields is a longstanding adviser for Rosneft. It is understood that the current tie-up predates the Gulf of Mexico disaster which led to BP instructing the firm on potential hostile bids.