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Deals of the Year 2011: BP/Reliance

Value $9 billion strategic partnership
Advisers Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley
return to the Asian Deals of the Year index

Finally, to M&A, where the outstanding transaction was the $9 billion strategic partnership between BP and Reliance. This wasn’t a landmark takeover, since there was no overall change of control – instead, Reliance Industries sold a 30% stake in its southern and eastern Indian oil and gas fields to BP for $7.2 billion plus up to $1.8 billion in performance payments. However, it warrants recognition partly through scale – one of the biggest foreign direct investment deals into India – and partly through the sheer effort of getting any inbound deal over the line in India.

This was not a swift transaction. Three government ministries, a cabinet panel and the prime minister had to sign off on it, a process that took the best part of half a year. But for BP, this was worth waiting for.

Most publicity around the company in recent years has involved the Gulf of Mexico spill, the cost of the clean-up and the associated divestments, so an important purchase such as this in an emerging market puts it back on the front foot again.

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