White & Case Advises on Seadrill Restructuring

Press Release
2 min read

Global law firm White & Case LLP has advised the coordinating committee representing a bank group holding US$7.4 billion in secured debt, on the successful restructuring of Seadrill Limited, one of the world’s largest offshore oil drilling companies.

Seadrill, which grew rapidly over the past decade and benefits from one of the youngest fleets of vessels in the market, faced three key issues prior to the launch of its restructuring in early 2016:

  • the knock-on effects of the downturn in the oil market
  • a resulting decline in revenue forecasted in the short to medium term
  • a 'wall' of debt maturities which ran from 2016 until 2020.

Throughout a two-year restructuring process, White & Case worked side-by-side with leading Norwegian law firm BAHR and Lazard as financial adviser, to represent a committee coordinating more than forty senior secured lenders. The result was a significant structural improvement for senior lenders, the negotiation of settlements that attracted more than US$1 billion of new capital, and the re-profiling of Seadrill's capital structure to meet the challenges of the ongoing downturn in the oil market, in the expectation of a recovery in the offshore drilling sector in the years ahead.

"This high profile restructuring mandate involved more than a quarter of the world's largest 100 banks and was the largest chapter 11 filing of 2017," said White & Case partner Scott Greissman, who led the Firm's team advising on the matter together with maritime finance partner David Joyce. "It was one of the most complex restructurings in history, the largest ever in the offshore drilling sector, and one which has the potential to set groundbreaking precedents in offshore restructurings on both sides of the Atlantic."

"Due to Seadrill's links to the US, and its restructuring through chapter 11, this transaction adds to the strong track record through which our transatlantic restructuring team has earned its excellent reputation for the successful, seamless management of complex global restructurings."

White & Case partner Christopher Frampton, who heads the Firm's Global Asset Finance Practice, said: "This mandate demonstrates our experience and capabilities advising the maritime and offshore industry. Our global, cross-practice approach enables us to support clients who are looking to enter the market, expand existing positions or to address the challenges associated with underperforming assets. Our clients depend on the service and advice we provide to protect their investments, maximize their returns and negotiate complex restructurings in a volatile and hard-to-read environment."

The transaction involved more than 50 White & Case lawyers from a number of practices and offices. The team was led by partners Scott Greissman, David Joyce, Phil Abelson, Rob Bennett (all New York) and Ian Wallace (London), with support from associates Andrew Zatz, Elizabeth Kirk, Viktor Braun, Celeste Jackson, Andrea Amulic (all New York), Will Stoner, Hayley Mitchinson and Beth Hough (all London).

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