National Grid plc’s £7.8 Billion Acquisition Of Western Power Distribution

Herbert Smith Freehills and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP has advised National Grid plc on the deal. Ashurst advised PPL Corporation.

National Grid plc acquired Western Power Distribution (WPD), the UK’s largest electricity distribution business, from PPL Corporation for an equity value of £7.8 billion.

National Grid has also agreed to sell The Narragansett Electric Company, the largest electricity transmission and distribution service provider in Rhode Island, USA, to PPL for an equity value of US$3.8 billion (£2.7 billion) and announced its intention to launch a sale process for a majority stake in its UK gas transmission business later this year.

The acquisition of WPD will strategically pivot National Grid’s UK portfolio towards electricity and significantly enhance its central role in the delivery of the UK’s net zero targets.

Headquartered in Allentown, Pennsylvania, PPL Corporation is one of the largest companies in the US utility sector with more than 12,000 employees. PPL’s seven high-performing, award-winning utilities serve more than 10 million customers in the US and UK.

The Herbert Smith Freehills team was led by corporate M&A partners Caroline Rae (Picture) and Bob Moore and senior associate Charles Steward. The team also included James Palmer, Silke Goldberg, Karen Rowe, Will Nevin, Will Breeze, Isaac Zailer, Tim Briggs, Veronica Roberts and Paul Ellerman. They worked closely with the National Grid legal team including Group General Counsel & Company Secretary, Justine Campbell and Senior Legal Adviser Deborah Waller.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, lead legal advisers to National Grid on NY law, advised with a team led by partners G.J. Ligelis Jr. and Mark I. Greene and included associates Catriela Cohen and Ariadne E. Lyon and foreign associate attorney Theresa M. Scharff on M&A matters; partners Christine A. Varney and Margaret T. Segall and associate Kolja I. Ortmann on antitrust matters; partner Matthew J. Bobby and associates Sally Ye and Brendon J. Rivard on executive compensation and benefits matters; partner David J. Kappos and associate Carys J. Webb on intellectual property matters; partner Matthew Morreale on environmental matters; partner Michael L. Arnold on other corporate matters; and senior attorney Joyce Law and practice area attorney Brian M. Budnick on real estate matters. Associates Joanna Pak and Parth S. Baxi also worked on M&A matters; Jill C. Refvem also worked on M&A matters; and Pedraam Mirzanian also worked on intellectual property matters.

The Ashurst team is being led by corporate partner Nick Williamson, and includes corporate partner Aaron Shute, competition partner Neil Cuninghame and tax partner Nicholas Gardner, assisted by senior associates Aimee Carroll-Hewitt and Danica Barley and associates Amy Coleman, Martin Voelker, Hamish Tester and Victoria Beswick. Partner Alex Biles, with support from associate Charlotte Coleman, is providing debt advice. Environment, health and safety advice is being provided by partner Eleanor Reeves, senior associate James Nierinck and associate Joanna Fox. Incentives advice is being provided by senior associate Rebecca Servian. Partner Ruth Buchanan, counsel John Gordon, senior associate Hannah Martin and associate Imene Hamdi-Cherif are advising on employment and pensions aspects. Real estate advice is being provided by partner Henry Moss, senior associate Victoria Clarke, associates Michael Smith and Dan Sargeant. Digital economy counsel Gita Shivarattan also advised with support from associate Harry Newton, with partner Amanda Hale advising on telecoms matters and counsel Don McCombie advising on IP matters. Partner Nick Hilder, senior associate Mark Emmanuel, associates Kamila Saatova and Claudia Sharland advised on utilities. Partner Tim Cant, senior associate Jamie Jefferson Ng and associate Henry Glasford advised on finance regulatory matters and Tom Cummins advised on dispute resolution matters. Partner Nicholas Moore provided banking advice with support from senior associate Briony Holcombe.

Involved fees earner: Danica Barley – Ashurst; Alex Biles – Ashurst; Ruth Buchanan – Ashurst; Tim Cant – Ashurst; Aimee Carroll-Hewitt – Ashurst; Victoria Clarke – Ashurst; Amy Coleman – Ashurst; Tom Cummins – Ashurst; Neil Cuninghame – Ashurst; Mark Emmanuel – Ashurst; Joanna Fox – Ashurst; Nicholas Gardner – Ashurst; John Gordon – Ashurst; Amanda Hale – Ashurst; Imene Hamdi-Cherif – Ashurst; Nick Hilder – Ashurst; Briony Holcombe – Ashurst; Jamie Jefferson Ng – Ashurst; Hannah Martin – Ashurst; Don McCombie – Ashurst; Nicholas Moore – Ashurst; Henry Moss – Ashurst; Harry Newton – Ashurst; James Nierinck – Ashurst; Eleanor Reeves – Ashurst; Kamila Saatova – Ashurst; Rebecca Servian – Ashurst; Claudia Sharland – Ashurst; Gita Shivarattan – Ashurst; Aaron Shute – Ashurst; Michael Smith – Ashurst; Martin Voelker – Ashurst; Nick Williamson – Ashurst; Michael Arnold – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Parth Baxi – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Matthew Bobby – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Brian Budnick – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Catriela Cohen – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Margaret Segall D’Amico – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Mark Greene – Cravath Swaine & Moore; David Kappos – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Joyce Law – Cravath Swaine & Moore; G.J. Ligelis Jr. – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Ariadne Lyon – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Matthew Morreale – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Kolja Ortmann – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Joanna Pak – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Jill Refvem – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Brendon Rivard – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Christine Varney – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Carys Webb – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Sally Ye – Cravath Swaine & Moore; William Breeze – Herbert Smith Freehills; Tim Briggs – Herbert Smith Freehills; Paul Ellerman – Herbert Smith Freehills; Silke Goldberg – Herbert Smith Freehills; Robert Moore – Herbert Smith Freehills; Will Nevin – Herbert Smith Freehills; James Palmer – Herbert Smith Freehills; Caroline Rae – Herbert Smith Freehills; Veronica Roberts – Herbert Smith Freehills; Karen Rowe – Herbert Smith Freehills; Charles Steward – Herbert Smith Freehills; Isaac Zailer – Herbert Smith Freehills;

Law Firms: Ashurst; Cravath Swaine & Moore; Herbert Smith Freehills;

Clients: National Grid; PPL Corporation;

Author: Federica Tiefenthaler