Magic circle duo lead on $2bn Total deal

Magic circle duo Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy have won lead mandates on the $2bn sale of Engie assets to Total.

A&O advised the purchaser Total with a team led out of Paris by partner Alexandre Ancel and partner John Geraghty in London.

Employment matters were handled by partner Claire Toumieux, while partners Florence Ninane and Mark Friend worked on antitrust.

A&O’s offices in New York, Tokyo and Singapore provided additional support.

The deal sees Total acquire Engie’s portfolio of upstream liquefied natural gas assets for a value of $1.5bn. Additional payments of $550m could be paid by Total if oil markets improve in the next few years.

Clifford Chance represented Engie in the sale, with partner Mathieu Remy leading the team from Paris, alongside counsel Olivier Jouffroy and Sue Palmer.

London corporate partners David Lewis and Graham Philips provided additional support, while partners David Evans and George Kleinfeld acted in the US. Partners Alex Nourry, François Farmine and Alexandre Lagarrigue advised on antitrust, employment and tax issues respectively.

Clifford Chance shipping partner Gervais Green, commercial contracts partner Dessislava Savovam, finance counsel Pierre-Benoit Pabot du Châtelard and environment counsel James Shepherd were also involved.

The transaction looks set to make Total the second largest LNG player in the market. The deal will close by the middle of next year.

Background to the deal

Engie was previously known as GDF Suez – a company created in a £17bn deal between GDF Suez and International Power. Clifford Chance has a longstanding relationship with International Power and acted on the 2011 merger. Linklaters, Bredin Prat and Ogier advised GDF Suez on the deal.

A year later GDF Suez did not appoint Clifford Chance to its inaugural legal panel-a decision understood to be related to the requirement to keep the governance of the UK-listed International Power independent from other companies. The company’s rebrand to Engie was announced in early 2016.