Firms advise on $1.2bn energy merger

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Minter Ellison and Ashurst have advised on the $1.2bn Beach Energy and Drillsearch Energy merger announced on Friday.

Both with operations focused in the Copper Basin, the combined company will have an expanded portfolio of oil, gas and infrastructure assets.  Minter Ellison acted for Beach Energy, the largest onshore oil producer in Australia.

“I think it’s very significant because it’s consolidating two companies that have significant oil and gas assets… it creates the biggest Copper Basin,” lead Minter Ellison partner on the deal Ron Forster told Australasian Lawyer.

“There could well be other consolidation exercises in the sector.”

The merger, subject to shareholder approval, will mean that Beach Energy will acquire all of the shares in Drillsearch, exchanging each Drillsearch share for 1.25 Beach Energy shares.  Drillsearch shareholders will own around 30 per cent of the share capital in the merged group.

“We are delighted to assist Drillsearch on this transformative transaction that will result in the largest oil producer and second largest gas producer in the Cooper Basin,” said Ashurst lead partner Bill Koeck.

“Our involvement in this transaction is a continuation of our close relationship with Drillsearch.”

Forster commented that the Australian energy sector is likely to see further consolidation over the next 12 month period.

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