Dealmakers: Merger & SPAC advisors in demand

By BEN COOK

  • Law firms developing expertise in storage mergers and SPACs
  • White & Case, Latham & Watkins and Norton Rose featuring prominently
  • US and UK storage markets scene of most innovative deals

As energy storage becomes increasingly recognised by investors as an asset class in its own right, law firms are looking to establish themselves as experts in this rapidly emerging sector.

Accordingly, a number of firms are developing a track-record as specialists in the field.

In addition to advice on share offerings and mergers and acquisitions, firms have recently been advising companies on combinations with special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) with a view to becoming publicly listed.

Which firms are advising on high-profile matters?

Law firms White & CaseLatham & Watkins, and Norton Rose Fulbright have been among the most high-profile advisers on recent energy storage deals.

Lawyers from New York and the Texas city of Houston (Texas has been identified as having one of the fastest-growing storage markets in the US) have been instructed on major transactions of late. Meanwhile, a number of notable deals in the UK and in particular, Scotland, have generated work for firms such as Burges Salmon and TLT.

Last month, White & Case LLP advised Ormat Technologies, a geothermal, energy storage, solar PV and recovered energy power company, on an upsized US$338 million offering of common stock by its stockholder, ORIX Corporation. The White & Case team that advised on the transaction was led by capital markets partners Colin Diamond(based in New York/Houston) and A.J. Ericksen (Houston).

A Houston-based lawyer also led the Latham & Watkins team that advised Terra-Gen on the sale of an 80% interest in the Edwards Sanborn 1A co-located solar plus storage facility to an “affiliate” of Axium Infrastructure. The Latham team was headed up by Houston partner Lauren Anderson.

Flurry of UK deals 

Meanwhile, there has been significant activity in the UK market of late and lawyers with energy storage expertise have been in demand. Last month, Norton Rose Fulbright advised Gore Street Energy Storage Fund (GSEF), London’s first stock market-listed storage fund, on the acquisition of a portfolio of 81MW of UK battery storage assets. The Norton Rose team was led by London-based corporate partner Stephen Rigby.

Elsewhere, Burges Salmon advised Engie on its acquisition of a fully permitted 50 MW battery storage site in southern Scotland from a joint venture involving ILI Group, Abbey Group, and YOO Energy. The Burges Salmon team advising on the deal was led by Edinburgh-based corporate partner Danny Lee. In addition, Burges Salmon also advised Kona Energy on the sale of a future 200MW battery storage facility to Gore Street Energy Storage Fund (GSEF). The project is located in Heysham, Lancashire, and represents GSEF’s largest acquisition to date. The Burges Salmon team advising on the deal was led by partner Camilla Usher-Clark

In another deal in Scotland, law firm TLT advised Intelligent Land Investments Group (ILI) on the completion of the sale of a 50MW battery storage project to TagEnergy. The TLT team advising on the project – which will connect to the grid in 2024 – was led by corporate partner Damien Bechelli.

Back in October, pan-European law firm ADVANT Beiten advised Stuttgart-headquartered TransnetBW on the award, negotiation and conclusion of the project agreements with Fluence Energy for the construction of a 250MW battery storage facility in Kupferzell, Germany. The ADVANT Beiten team included energy partner and Hamburg office head Dr Christian Ulrich Wolf.

SPACs proving popular

Other examples of notable storage-related matters for law firms of late included White & Case advising Tigo Energy, a provider of solar and energy storage systems, on a combination with Roth CH Acquisition IV Co. Roth is a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) with $117 million held in trust and the deal will result in Tigo becoming a public company. DLA Piper LLP and Loeb & Loeb LLPacted as legal advisors to Roth.

Meanwhile, Ellenoff Grossman & Schole LLP advised Electriq Power, a provider of energy storage for homes and small businesses, on a merger with TLG Acquisition One Corp (TLGA), a publicly traded SPAC. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher acted as legal counsel to TLGA.

As the energy storage sector grows, so transactions in the industry are becoming increasingly sophisticated. There are a number of law firms that are rapidly developing their expertise in this field and marking themselves out as the market leaders in the sector. 

Despite fierce competition among law firms, with more major deals anticipated in the near future we can expect a few key players to cement their leadership position in the burgeoning storage market.

Image (clockwise from top left): Lauren Anderson (Latham & Watkins); Colin Diamond (White & Case); Stephen Rigby (Norton Rose Fulbright); Danny Lee (Burges Salmon); Camilla Usher-Clark (Burges Salmon); Damien Bechelli (TLT); Dr Christian Ulrich Wolf (ADVANT Beiten); and A.J. Ericksen (White & Case).

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