NRF confirms lead role in BP’s buy of Woolworths’ fuel arm

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Norton Rose Fulbright has confirmed that it is the lead adviser to BP in its acquisition of Woolworths’ fuel business. The deal is for a network of 527 existing retail petrol station sites and 16 committed development sites located in Australia. 

“Acquisitions on this scale in the Australian downstream fuel industry do not come along very often. This transformative deal for BP involved a range of complex legal issues – from the structure of the transaction to the competition considerations, the strategic alliance and the property and environmental law issues,” said corporate partner Shane Bilardi, who led the NRF team.
The two companies have also proposed creating a strategic alliance partnership which will see convenience food offerings launched at select BP Australia stations including the service station sites acquired from Woolworths. NRF was retained by BP as its lead legal adviser for both the acquisition and partnership.

NRF advised on all aspects of the transaction, apart from competition advice and associated approvals, which Corrs Chambers Westgarth was tasked to do. NRF advised in matters including transaction structuring, negotiating the full suite of acquisition and strategic alliance documentation, foreign investment review advice, advising and assisting with closing of the acquisition, and implementation of the strategic alliance partnership. Meanwhile, Clayton Utz is reported to have advised Woolworths.

The acquisition – which subject to customary closing conditions, including approvals from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Foreign Investment Review Board – is expected to close no earlier than 2 January 2018. 

Bilardi was assisted in Melbourne by special counsel Chris Mitchell, as well as partners Justin Lucas and Michael Park; special counsel Ka-Chi Cheung and Andrew Perry; senior associate Jamie Griffin; and associates Jacqueline Dowling and Emma Haylock. In Sydney, the team was assisted by partner Noni Shannon and associate Sonali Seneviratne.

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