£1.35bn raised from investors to create oil bid vehicle Vallares

Former BP boss Tony Hayward and financier Nat Rothschild said they had raised £1.35bn from investors to create a bid vehicle to target emerging market oil assets.

Vallares, as the company will be known, aims to make a reverse takeover of an unlisted oil group in an emerging market, which needs money to develop its assets.

Vallares effectively offers a target, whose owners may end up with a majority stake of the listed company, a fast track route to a stockmarket listing and, thereby, the ability to raise money more cheaply than they currently can.

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The vehicle has two years to strike a deal, or to return the cash to investors, and will begin unconditional trading on the London Stock Exchange on June 22, the company said yesterday. The listing of emerging markets companies on Western markets has come under scrutiny in recent weeks, with accusations that corporate governance practices are below those usually expected by investors.

Julian Metherell, one of the founders, and a former senior Goldman Sachs banker, said such concerns were addressed by a voting cap which would limit any one Vallares shareholder’s voting rights to 29.9 per cent.

Mr Metherell added that Vallares’s high profile board, which includes Mr Hayward, who stepped down last year amid criticism of his handling of BP’s response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and Jim Leng, former chairman of steel maker Corus, would also help ensure all investors interests were defended.

Rodney Chase, deputy CEO at BP under Mr Hayward’s predecessor, John Browne, is chairman of Vallares.