Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom (Scott Simpson) forged an alliance with Arcelor, the world’s second-largest steel maker, to defend it against a hostile takeover by rival Mittal Steel. Mittal, which has instructed long-term adviser Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Jean-Pierre Vignaud), made an unsolicited £17bn takeover bid for Arcelor on 27 January. The bid, which mixed cash and a shares exchange offer, was rejected unanimously by Arcelor’s board two days later. Mittal’s bid has also been met by political opposition in Luxembourg, Madrid and Paris, due to fears of job cuts and monopolisation. Mittal chief executive Lakshmi Mittal met with Spanish economy minister Pedro Solbes the week before last to prise Spain away from the northern European opponents, and met with Josep Borrel, President of the European Parliament, last Tuesday (7 February). Mittal’s bid comes hot on the heels of Arcelor’s victory in a bidding war with ThyssenKrupp to acquire Canadian steel company Dofasco.
LA-based O’Melveny & Myers and New York’s Weil Gotshal & Manges gave the right signals to entertainment giants Warner Bros and CBS in their joint venture to form a new television channel. The channel, named CW after the companies’ initials, will be launched in the US in the autumn. CBS and Warner will cease operation of their respective channels, UPN and The WB, when CW begins broadcasting. The Warner representation is being led by O’Melveny partners Mark Easton and Christopher Murray. CBS’s lead adviser is Weil partner Howard Chatzinoff.
Top firms in New York and Milan hit the jackpot with roles advising on the $4.8bn (£2.27bn) sale of GTech, the US lottery systems manufacturer, to Italian De Agostini subsidiary Lottomattica. Dewey Ballantine represented Lottomattica on the deal – the largest-ever US acquisition by an Italian company – led by New York M&A partner Morton Pierce. Lottomattica’s domestic representation came from Bonelli Erede Pappalardo, led by Milan partner Andrea Carta Mantiglia (M&A). Cravath Swaine & Moore represented GTech, led by corporate partners Phillip Gelston and Sarkis Jebejian.
It has clearly been a good month for Cravath Swaine & Moore’s M&A team. The firm is also representing media mammoth Time Warner on its $537.5m (£307.8m) sale of Time Warner Book Group to French media player Lagardère. The Time Warner Book Group publishes consumer books under imprints including Warner Books and Little Brown and Company, and the deal will make Lagardère’s book publishing branch the world’s third-largest book publisher. The Cravath team was led by partners John Gaffney (corporate) and Stephen Gordon (tax). Lagardère was represented by Jones Day, led by M&A partner John Hylan.