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Clifford Chance and DLA Weiss-Tessbach have won roles on the latest acquisition by German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom.
Deutsche Telekom subsidiary T-Mobile Austria has agreed to buy Austrian mobile operator tele.ring for €1.3bn (£890m). T-Mobile is purchasing tele.ring from Western Wireless International Austria Corporation, a subsidiary of Alltel Corporation in the US. As part of the deal, T-Mobile will inherit net operating losses of around €150m (£102.3m).
Joachim Fleury, head of the communications, media and technology practice at Clifford Chance, advised Deutsche Telekom along with associate Martin Franklin. The deal was brokered under New York law.
Partner Ivo Deskovic led the DLA Weiss-Tessbach team advising on Austrian law aspects, with M&A specialists Phillip Dubsky and Max Becker. Deutsche Telekom is a longstanding client of DLA Weiss-Tessbach - previous deals include the company's acquisition of T-Mobile Austria and Croatian Telecom.
Wall Street firm Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman, led by corporate partner Barry Adelman, represented Western Wireless, with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer providing advice on Austrian law.
The European telecoms market has seen a spate of mergers and acquisitions since late spring as the much-heralded consolidation of the sector finally gets underway. Italian mobile group Wind has been sold by Enel to Weather Investments for €12bn (£8.18bn). Spanish giant Telefonica bought Cesky Telecom for €2.7bn (£1.84bn). Also in Spain, Ono bought counterpart Auna's fixed-line business for €2.2bn (£1.5bn), and Auna has also sold its mobile arm for €6.4bn (£4.36bn) to France Telecom.
Fluery said the companies are hitting the acquisition trail now, having spent the last few years putting their houses in order. "All the big companies have spent the first half of this decade restructuring. They're now sound businesses again and are seeing their credit ratings increase," he said. "There's still plenty of space in the mobile communication market for consolidation."