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Ashwath Rau move sees AZB share in $1.4bn Lafarge-Nirma deal, alongside Crawford Bayley, Freshfields, Pinsents

Nirma will buy Lafarge India’s assets for $1.4bn from LafargeHolcim according to reports, with several law firms getting a slice of the action including Ashwath Rau’s old and new firm.

AZB & Partners partner Ashwath Rau acted for LafargeHolcim as transaction counsel, with partner Dhruv Singhal and senior associate Qais Jamal.

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM) continued being responsible for vendor diligence after Rau’s departure for AZB around 2 June, with CAM partner Ramgovind Kuruppath taking over from Rau.

Outgoing Cyril Amarchand competition partner Nisha Kaur Uberoi (who will join AZB), handled the competition law aspects.

Freshfields Paris partner and global M&A co-head Alan Mason, Singapore partner Arun Balasubramaniam, and London and Paris associate Sophie Bauquis acted for LafargeHolcim as international counsel alongside AZB

Crawford Bayley partners Sanjay Asher and Bhumika Batra acted for Nirma.

Pinsent Masons Leeds-based senior partner Andrew Kerr and senior associate Joanna Jowitt assisting on international aspects of the transaction for Nirma.

According to Mint:

In April 2015, LafargeHolcim was directed to sell around 5 million tonne of its east India assets in order to comply with competition rules in India. This was needed so that the erstwhile Holcim and Lafarge SA could conclude their global merger and start operating as a single entity in India. In August 2015, the company agreed to sell its east India cement assets to Birla Corp. Ltd for Rs 5,000 crore. However, the deal was called off in February this year due to regulatory hurdles over the transfer of mining rights with these assets, which was not permitted at the time under the provisions of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act. The act was amended to allow such transfers in March.

LafargeHolcim had, however, restarted the process to sell its entire 100% stake in Lafarge India even before the amendment. The sale had evinced interest from a number of bidders as it was seen as the largest big chunk of cement capacity likely to come up for sale. JSW Cement Ltd and Piramal Group were two of the other Indian bidders who had expressed interest in these assets along with a couple of foreign cement companies and private equity funds.

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