Tony Hayward, former chief executive of BP, is back in the oil and gas game. This week, he announced the formation of Vallares, an investment venture with financier Nathaniel Rothschild that aims to acquire oil and gas properties in emerging markets. Hayward was ousted as BP's chief executive less than one year ago, after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill debacle in the Gulf of Mexico left BP, its public image and its shares in a tailspin. This doesn’t appear to have affected the outlook for Vallares, which aims to raise up to $1.6 billion in a London-listed initial public offering in June.

In addition to Hayward and Rothschild, the special purpose acquisition company was founded by Julian Metherell, former head of Goldman Sachs' U.K. investment banking business, and Tom Daniel, who established Vallar plc (another investment vehicle) with Rothschild.

Vallares, which has secured backing from several U.S. and U.K. long-only and hedge funds and some sovereign wealth funds, will invest mainly in upstream exploration and production. The venture is seeking to fund, then merge with an emerging market player with good resources and assets but lacks the capital or capability to fully develop them. Vallares doesn't plan to use the capital raised to buy assets; it would use it to execute mergers with market firms interested in benefitting from London's access to capital and Vallares' management experience, Hayward told the Wall Street Journal. Geographically, Vallares will consider a broad range of investments all over the world, including South America, West Africa, Russia, the Middle East and South East Asia.

Credit Suisse Group is the IPO's global coordinator and joint bookrunner; JP Morgan Cazenove is joint bookrunner and Evolution Securities is co-lead manager.

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