Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has been instructed by South African company MTN Group to advise on its merger with mobile operator Bharti Airtel.
Freshfields partner Bruce Embley advised MTN on the deal, which could see the company acquire a 36 per cent interest in Bharti, with Bharti acquiring a 49 per cent shareholding in MTN.
Bharti is being advised by Indian firm AZB & Partners.
Freshfields has an existing relationship with MTN. Embley led a team from the magic circle firm advising the South African company on its $5.53bn (£3.5bn) acquisition of Investcom in 2005.
More recently Freshfields advised MTN on its 2008 alliance with Indian mobile company Reliance Communications. Embley led a team advising MTN, while Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton was instructed by Paris-based partner Pierre-Yves Chabert on the £7.3bn deal.
The current deal would allow Bharti and MTN to expand into Asia. MTN would help Bharti enter Africa and the Middle East.