King & Spalding Welcomes New Lateral Hires; Advises Bi-Lo Holdings In Acquisition

Friday, September 20, 2013 - 16:54

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King & Spalding announced today that a five-lawyer team of energy lawyers from Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) joined King & Spalding’s Paris office, led by partner Mehdi Haroun, former head of the North Africa practice at HSF. The team includes Philippe Trosset and Ruxandra Lazar, both counsels, and associates Nora Djeraba and Marion Morvan, recently joined by Raphaële Bouniol, an associate from French law firm Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier. Their presence establishes a King & Spalding energy team on the ground in France with strong corporate and public law expertise, and significantly expands the energy practice’s capabilities across Europe and North Africa.

The group’s practice spans general corporate and mergers and acquisitions, project development, public law and dispute resolution matters in sectors such as oil and gas, conventional power, renewable energy, petrochemicals and telecommunications. Haroun is a dual-qualified French and Algerian lawyer and has particular experience in matters in France and North Africa. Chambers and Legal 500 have identified him as one of the leading lawyers practicing in France, Algeria, Libya and Morocco. 

Mr. Haroun and the group regularly advise clients on their operations in North Africa, including OMV on its US$866 million purchase of Pioneer Natural Resources in Tunisia, BHP Billiton, RWE Dea and BAT. They also represent Tullow on a first-of-its-kind gas-to-power project in Mauritania; DONG Energy in the first French offshore wind-farm project (1500MW); and Solar Euromed on the first French concentrated solar power (CSP) project. They also advised Solar Euromed and BAT on project development/acquisition in Sudan.

Mr. Trosset, a former HSF partner, is a French-qualified corporate law expert with over 40 years’ experience. He set up HSF’s French practice and used to head its corporate practice and has broad-based M&A and transactions expertise, including corporate restructuring, tax, insurance regulatory and employment. Currently, Trosset mainly is advising DONG Energy, with the rest of energy team, on the corporate structuring of its French operations and foreign investors into a French-listed agricultural company. 

Ms. Lazar, a graduate of the French Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA) and of the University of Bucharest (Romania), is a French-qualified lawyer and an authority on energy projects and public law. She has an active French administrative litigation practice and currently is litigating multiple cases against the French government on behalf of the firm’s client Hess Oil France. Together with Haroun, Ms. Lazar is advising DONG Energy on regulatory and administrative law aspects and documentation in relation to its French offshore project development.

Ms. Djeraba has considerable experience on North African oil and gas matters, especially in the upstream oil and gas sector. She recently completed a six-month secondment at OMV’s Vienna headquarters. She is fluent in Arabic.

Ms. Morvan focuses on mergers, acquisitions, corporate and commercial work for international clients, including transactions and projects in Africa. She also works with Messrs. Haroun and Trosset in France and elsewhere on corporate and regulatory matters for British American Tobacco Group companies.

Ms. Bouniol has an administrative law background coupled with a French business school diploma (ESSEC), which contribute to her focus on administrative law and regulatory issues (including competition) as well as commercial aspects of transactions. She works closely with Lazar on the administrative and public law aspects of the transactions handled by the energy team.

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King & Spalding has established a London financial services regulatory practice with the addition of partner Angela Hayes as the firm continues to expand its global financial institutions offering. Hayes joins King & Spalding from Mayer Brown, where she was a partner.

Ms. Hayes’s expertise encompasses both advisory mandates and defence regulatory investigations and proceedings. Her advisory experience covers start up of new financial services businesses and new product development, through ongoing conduct of business and governance systems and controls to ensure regulatory compliance and to minimize the risks of market abuse, money laundering and fraud. Her extensive contentious regulatory experience includes investigations and proceedings by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (formerly the Financial Services Authority) and cross-border investigations by European and U.S. financial regulators, including the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

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King & Spalding advised Bi-Lo Holdings, parent company of the BI-LO and Winn-Dixie grocery store chains, in its definitive agreement with Piggly Wiggly Carolina Company, Inc., to acquire 22 Piggly Wiggly stores with approximately 1,200 store employees in South Carolina and coastal Georgia. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Sixteen of the Piggly Wiggly stores that Bi-Lo Holdings will acquire are in South Carolina and six are in Georgia.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2013 and is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. Upon completion of the transaction, the acquired stores will be rebranded under the BI-LO banner name.

The King & Spalding team involved in this transaction was led by Atlanta corporate partners Austin Jowers and Ray Baltz and consisted of the following additional lawyers: Spencer Stockdale (corporate associate, Atlanta); Les Oakes (environmental partner, Atlanta); Chris Markus (FDA/life sciences partner, Washington); Eleanor Banister (ERISA partner, Atlanta); Tom Hawk (healthcare partner, Atlanta); and Susan Foxworth (real estate counsel, Atlanta).