Deals comment

Wachtell and Skadden seek to avoid political showdown

Wachtell and Skadden seek to avoid political showdown

Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom appear to have learnt from the mistakes of DP World’s takeover of P&O in their advice regarding respective clients Lucent Technologies’ and Alcatel’s proposed $13.4bn (£7.63bn) merger. The US and French companies are taking increased steps to avoid a similar political backlash. The companies have announced plans to create an independent US-based subsidiary to handle all US government research projects that are of a sensitive nature. Wachtell partner David Katz is advising Lucent, while partners Roger Aaron, Stephen Arcano and Ann Beth Stebbins are heading Skadden’s team for Alcatel. Sullivan and Cromwell, led by corporate partners George Sampas (pictured) and Dominque Bompoint, advised Goldman Sachs as financial adviser to Alcatel. Lucent’s financial advisers were JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley.

Skadden comes to Arcelor’s defence

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom has bolstered measures to defend Arcelor, the world’s second-largest steelmaker, amid increasing pressure on Mittal Steel to dig deep. Pressure has been growing for Mittal to increase its E19.8bn (£13.8bn) cash and shares offer for its European rival. Mittal, which has instructed long-term adviser Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, made a hostile takeover bid for Arcelor in January. The bid was rejected by Arcelor’s board at the time. If its track record is anything to go by, Skadden should have no troubles defending Arcelor. The firm acted for Skandia in connection with Old Mutual’s £3.3bn hostile offer to acquire Skandia’s shares, and it also successfully defended South African miner Gold Fields against a takeover by rival Harmony. The Skadden team advising Arcelor is being led by corporate partner Scott Simpson. Cleary’s team is headed by partner Jean-Pierre Vignaud.