Bristow Group’s Merger with Era Group

Baker Botts L.L.P., Kirkland & Ellis and Bracewell represented Bristow in the transaction. Milbank LLP served as Era’s legal counsel. Skadden represented Centerview Partners.

Bristow Group Inc. and Era Group Inc. announced that they entered into a definitive agreement to combine the two companies in an all-stock transaction, creating a financially stronger company with enhanced size and diversification.

The combined company, which will be named Bristow, will strengthen its global leadership position with significant operations throughout the Americas, Nigeria, Norway, the United Kingdom and Australia for offshore aviation transportation and search and rescue solutions. The new organization will offer a broader range of world-class, efficient solutions through enhanced fleet size and diversity, continuing to invest in new technology and safety features to meet the evolving needs of new and existing oil and gas customers and governmental agencies.

The transaction will be structured as a reverse triangular merger whereby Era will issue shares to Bristow stockholders. Era (NYSE:ERA) shares will continue to trade on the NYSE. Under the terms of the agreement, which was unanimously approved by the Board of Directors of both companies, Bristow shareholders would own 77% of the equity of the new company and Era shareholders would own 23%. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2020, following receipt of required regulatory approvals and satisfaction of other customary closing conditions, including approval by Bristow’s and Era’s stockholders. The merger is intended to qualify as a tax-free reorganization for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

Ducera Partners and Houlihan Lokey are serving as financial advisors to Bristow. Centerview Partners, the independent investment banking and advisory firm, served as exclusive financial advisor to Era Group Inc.

The Baker Botts team was led by Rachael Lichman (Picture) and included Stuart McIntyre, Lyman Paden, Shelley Austin, Nicholas Jones, Sean McClay, Janice Han, Malory Weir, Keegan Bobholz, Dillon Sebasco, A.J. Ericksen, Emmie Proctor, Gail Stewart, Chris Pratt, Christian Ryholt.

Bracewell lawyers involved in the transaction included Partners Lytch T. Gutmann, Troy L. Harder, Jason B. Hutt and Jeffery B. Vaden, and Associates Kate Barrington McGregor, Andrew W. Monk and Kevin M. Voelkel.

The Skadden team included M&A partners Alexandra McCormack (New York) and Paul Schnell (New York), and associate Caroline Frizzo (New York), and Litigation partners Robert Saunders (Wilmington) and Cliff Gardner (Wilmington).

The Kirkland team was led by transactional partners Doug Bacon, Debbie Yee and Cephas Sekhar and associate Jack Shirley; antitrust partners Matt Reilly and Jacob Boyars; tax partner Thad Davis and associate Paul Stephens Hendrickson; and capital markets partner Michael Rigdon and associate Christopher Fox.

Involved fees earner: Shelley Austin – Baker Botts; Keegan Bobholz – Baker Botts; A.J. Ericksen – Baker Botts; Janice Han – Baker Botts; Nicholas Jones – Baker Botts; Rachael Lichman – Baker Botts; Sean McClay – Baker Botts; Stuart McIntyre – Baker Botts; Lyman Paden – Baker Botts; Chris Pratt – Baker Botts; Emmie Proctor – Baker Botts; Christian Ryholt – Baker Botts; Dillon Sebasco – Baker Botts; Gail Stewart – Baker Botts; Malory Weir – Baker Botts; Kate Barrington McGregor – Bracewell; Lytch Gutmann – Bracewell; Troy Harder – Bracewell; Jason Hutt – Bracewell; Andrew Monk – Bracewell; Jeffery Vaden – Bracewell; Kevin Voelkel – Bracewell; Doug Bacon – Kirkland & Ellis; Jacob Boyars – Kirkland & Ellis; Thad Davis – Kirkland & Ellis; Christopher Fox – Kirkland & Ellis; Paul Stephens Hendrickson – Kirkland & Ellis; Matthew Reilly – Kirkland & Ellis; Michael Rigdon – Kirkland & Ellis; Cephas Sekhar – Kirkland & Ellis; Jack Shirley – Kirkland & Ellis; Debbie Yee – Kirkland & Ellis; Caroline Frizzo – Skadden Arps Slate Meager & Flom; Cliff Gardner – Skadden Arps Slate Meager & Flom; Alexandra McCormack – Skadden Arps Slate Meager & Flom; Robert Saunders – Skadden Arps Slate Meager & Flom; Paul Schnell – Skadden Arps Slate Meager & Flom;

Law Firms: Baker Botts; Bracewell; Kirkland & Ellis; Skadden Arps Slate Meager & Flom;

Clients: Bristow Group Inc. ; Centerview Partners;

Author: Ambrogio Visconti