Ashurst advises on £7.8 billion sale of UK electricity distribution group Western Power Distribution

Global law firm Ashurst is advising PPL Corporation on the £7.8 billion sale of UK electricity distribution group Western Power Distribution (“WPD”) to National Grid announced today.

Headquartered in Allentown, Pennsylvania, PPL Corporation (“PPL”) 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.

WPD is the UK’s largest electricity distribution business with its four distribution network operators (“DNOs”) delivering electricity to approximately 7.9 million customers and employing over 6,500 staff. WPD’s network comprises approximately 90,000 kilometres of overhead lines, 135,000 kilometres of underground cable and 188,000 transformers.

National Grid is a London listed FTSE 100 company and is one of the world’s largest publicly listed utilities focused on transmission and distribution of electricity and gas. For National Grid the sale is a Class 1 transaction under the Listing Rules and is therefore conditional upon the approval of the shareholders of National Grid at a General Meeting expected to be held in late April 2021.

Completion of the sale is also conditional on customary approval from the Financial Conduct Authority and the Guernsey Financial Services Commission.

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.

Lead partner Nick Williamson commented:

“PPL Corporation is a long standing client of Ashurst and we are delighted to have worked with them on this key strategic M&A deal”.

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