CC Amsterdam lands Telefonica

Clifford Chance‘s Amsterdam office has clinched its first deal advising Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica.

The office was brought in on the company’s $6bn (£3.9bn) bond issue, which was achieved through an issuing vehicle in the Netherlands, as the firm’s Madrid and New York offices were already working with Telefonica.

The company historically uses Linklaters & Alliance Dutch member firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek in Holland.

Clifford Chance’s Amsterdam-based capital markets partner Frank Graaf says: “It was quite a good relationship already in Madrid, and I think also in New York. But prior to this deal they’d used a competitor here.

“It’s a pretty active vehicle. Most of the international bond issues go through the vehicle, so it’s only if they did a domestic bond issue that they wouldn’t use Dutch lawyers.”

The issue was in four tranches – three in dollars and one in euros.

The underwriters, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, were advised by Uría & Menéndez in Spain and Davis Polk & Wardwell in the US.

The Clifford Chance capital markets partners leading the deal were Jaime de San Roman in Madrid and Richard Kosnik in New York.

De Brauw corporate partner Jan Willem de Boer says: “We’ve done bond issue work for them but I wouldn’t know why we didn’t do this one.

“They use a variety of lawyers, so I simply think this one was granted because of its other offices – it doesn’t make it their main counsel.

He adds: “I would say we were the main counsel, at least in the Netherlands. The big corporations use several counsel just to keep us all eager.”

In August, De Brauw acted for Telefonica on its issue of more than 200 million new shares to pay for the acquisition of Dutch TV company GMG Endemol.

The company plans to fold Endemol into its media unit and then list that separately on the stock market.

Telefonica is currently experiencing a sustained period of growth, mainly through acquisition. As well as the Endemol deal, this year alone has seen the company team up with Finland’s Sonera in a bid to win third-generation mobile phone licences in the German auctions.

Earlier this month, its mobile phone unit Telefonica Mobiles announced it was to acquire Motorola’s Mexican mobile assets.

Telefonica is one of the world’s leading telecoms. It is the leading communications provider in Spanish and Portuguese-speaking nations. The international unit operates nearly 21 million fixed lines and serves over nine million mobile phone subscribers.