A&O and Linklaters wrap up German telecoms financing

Magic circle rivals Allen & Overy (A&O) and Linklaters & Alliance have together completed one of the biggest telecoms financings of the year.

In a German deal, A&O advised E-Plus and its major shareholder KPN Mobile on a euro2.5bn (£1.54bn) non-recourse facility to refinance its existing project financing and to provide finance for further network rollout.

Linklaters advised the four bookrunners on the deal – Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and Salomon Brothers.

The credit agreement for the transaction was governed by English law and the security and other ancillary documents were governed under German law.

A&O ran the deal out of its Frankfurt office, providing both local and English law advice on the ground. The deal was run jointly by English law partner George Link and German law partner Neil Weiand.

Linklaters led the deal out of London with banking partner Jeremy Stokeld heading the team. Frankfurt partner Eva Reudelhuber advised on German law.

Link says the deal was significant because it was A&O’s first major telecoms financing in Germany this year. “The telecoms markets are pretty flat at the moment, so to do this in the current market conditions shows how strong the deal was,” he says. “There’s a big financing need out there, but I don’t think the markets are going to pick up – it’s still a difficult market to get these transactions done. It’s going to be a few months before the market picks up, which means that there’s going to be a requirement for non-traditional forms of financing.”

A&O scooped the deal through its relationship with KPN Mobile, which dates back to a strong relationship with its Benelux merger partner Loeff Claeys Verbeke, which it joined forces with at the beginning of this year on 1 January. Recent major telecoms transactions for the office include advising on the purchase of E-Plus Mobilfunk for KPN Mobile and acting for the banks on the hostile takeover of Mannesmann by Vodafone AirTouch.