SOCAR / DESFA Proposed Merger

Compass Lexecon advised the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) during the Phase II merger investigation by the European Commission of SOCAR’s acquisition of DESFA, the natural gas transmission operator in Greece, which was privatized as part of Greece’s financial bailout program.

The European Commission opened its in-depth investigation in November 2014. As DESFA owns and operates Greek’s sole high-pressure gas transmission and Greece’s only LNG terminal, the Commission’s main concerns were that the transaction may reduce competition on the upstream wholesale supply market for natural gas in Greece because it could allow the merged entity to hinder SOCAR’s competitors in accessing the Greek gas transmission network. In order to overcome these concerns, SOCAR was asked to sell part of DESFA to a third party. We provided economic support during the merger filings. In December 2016, Greece canceled the sale of DESFA to SOCAR.

Our team, led by Lorenzo Coppi, included Luis Agosti, Anton Garcia, Stefano Trento, Francesco Astolfi, Alyssa Lam, Michele Avagliano, Rui Pratinha, and Su-Ann Lim.