Herbert Smith Freehills has advised FTSE 100 company National Grid plc on its acquisition of Western Power Distribution (WPD), the UK’s largest electricity distribution business, from PPL Corporation for an equity value of £7.8 billion.
National Grid has also agreed to sell The Narragansett Electric Company, the largest electricity transmission and distribution service provider in Rhode Island, USA, to PPL for an equity value of US$3.8 billion (£2.7 billion) and announced its intention to launch a sale process for a majority stake in its UK gas transmission business later this year.
The acquisition of WPD will strategically pivot National Grid’s UK portfolio towards electricity and significantly enhance its central role in the delivery of the UK’s net zero targets.
The Herbert Smith Freehills team was led by corporate M&A partners Caroline Rae and Bob Moore and senior associate Charles Steward. The team also included James Palmer, Silke Goldberg, Karen Rowe, Will Nevin, Will Breeze, Isaac Zailer, Tim Briggs, Veronica Roberts and Paul Ellerman. They worked closely with the National Grid legal team including Group General Counsel & Company Secretary, Justine Campbell and Senior Legal Adviser Deborah Waller. Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP (lead partner G.J Ligelis Jr) were lead legal advisers to National Grid on NY law.
Caroline Rae, partner in the London Corporate team, commented: “We are delighted to be supporting National Grid on this acquisition which will be transformational for its UK portfolio and will put National Grid at the heart of delivering net zero across the UK electricity sector”.