Eversheds wins first-time place on Vodafone’s revamped UK panel

Eversheds has joined the Vodafone panel for the first time following a review of the telecoms giant’s roster of legal advisers.

The firm joins DLA Piper, Linklaters, Norton Rose Fulbright, Osborne Clarke, Olswang and Slaughter and May on the revamped panel, which will remain in place for three years.

Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co is understood to have lost its panel slot, sources said. Legacy Wragge & Co had been part of the original line-up.

DLA Piper has maintained its panel place along with Olswang, both of which were added to the roster when general counsel Rosemary Martin conducted a large-scale panel review in mid-2011 (12 March 2012). As a result Vodafone cut its panel from 30 to 10 following an extensive consultation.

Linklaters survived the 2011 cull to retain its role as the telecoms giant’s main corporate counsel (13 September 2011).

That was just months after Martin joined as general counsel from Practical Law Group, where she was CEO (21 January 2010).

Linklaters is understood to have maintained the position following the latest review, despite Vodafone turning to Slaughters to lead the $130bn sale of its 45 per cent stake of Verizon Wireless to Verizon (2 September 2013).

The mammoth acquisition was the third-largest M&A transaction in history, and the world’s second-largest cross-border corporate transaction.

It involved the largest bond issuance ever, the largest break fee of all time and the largest return of value to shareholders ever seen in the UK.

Historically Vodafone has held some specialist work such a property back from the panel firms and will use advisers on ad hoc basis. For example, Shakespeares has handled commercial contracts for Vodafone on an off-panel basis since the 2011 review.