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Gibson Dunn, Latham, Slaughters win roles on Ensco’s $839m buyout of Houston’s Oceanics

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Latham & Watkins and Slaughter and May have won places advising on London-based offshore drilling contractor Ensco’s $839m acquisition of Houston, US’ Atwood Oceanics.

The deal, which creates a combined company valued at $6.9bn, will create the largest jackup fleet in the world with 37 offshore oil rigs.

Atwood Oceanics’ acquisition gives it current operations and drilling contracts across six continents in markets spanning the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, West Africa, Middle East, North Sea, Mediterranean and Asia Pacific.

Latham & Watkins advised Ensco with a team lead by Houston-based energy partners Sean Wheeler and Debbie Yee. Ensco also turned to Slaughter and May corporate partner Hywel Davies for advice.

Atwood Oceanics was advised by Gibson Dunn with a team including London-based corporate partner Jonny Earle and tax partner Nicholas Aleksander. Houston based Tull Florey lead the team.

In February, Gibson Dunn confirmed it had opened a new Houston office with the firm later taking on six energy partner hires from Baker Botts. Florey, Gerry Spedale, Hillary Holmes, Shalla Prichard, and James Chenoweth joined Gibson Dunn alongside Dallas and Houston based partner Doug Rayburn.

The team joined founding partners Mike Darden, who joined from Latham & Watkins, and Justin Stolte who joined from Apache Corporation. Stolte joined Apache from Latham & Watkins in 2014. The pair previously worked at Baker Botts.