Global law firm White & Case has advised Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) on the proposed US$1.3 billion merger of the fleet and operations of its wholly owned subsidiary, Vela International Marine Ltd, with the National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (Bahri).
Upon completion of the transaction, the shipping businesses of Vela will be integrated within the corporate structure of Bahri to create one of the world's largest shipping companies.
"This unprecedented deal is one of the most significant mergers and acquisition transactions in Saudi Arabia in recent years," said Riyadh Executive Partner Dr. Waleed Al-Nuwaiser. "White & Case has been active in the Middle East for more than 60 years and continues to work with a broad range of clients whose long term strategic needs include complex and transformational deals such as this one."
White & Case London-based partner Alan Burke added: "Requiring a specialist transactional team of experienced lawyers from across our M&A, regulatory, banking, employment, tax and competition practices emphasises the strength and depth of our global capabilities."
Under the terms of the merger, Bahri will become the exclusive provider of VLCC crude oil shipping services to Saudi Aramco for crude oil sold by the company on a delivered basis for an initial term of 10 years. This transaction will create an enhanced global shipping company which can leverage its considerable capabilities in the sector.
The Saudi Aramco internal legal team was led by senior legal counsel J.S. Lilly, working with legal counsels Randall Geuy and Andrew Law. The White & Case team – which played a key role in managing the transaction – was led by partners Alan Burke (London) and Dr. Waleed Al-Nuwaiser (Riyadh), working closely with partners Wendell Maddrey (New York), Peter Finlay (London), Charles-Henri Arminjon (Riyadh) and Philip Power (Riyadh). Reed Smith LLP advised Saudi Aramco and Vela on the specialist shipping aspects of the transaction, led by partners Charles Brown and Philip Rymer.
White & Case has represented Saudi Aramco and its predecessor company, the Arabian Oil Company, for more than half a century.
Bahri were represented by Clifford Chance LLP, led by partners Mike Taylor and Nick Swinburne, and Al-Jadaan & Partners Law Firm, led by Mr. Mohammed Al-Jadaan.
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