Paul Weiss; Davis Polk on Sony deal

Two US firms have won the lead roles on the $1.2bn sale of German music giant Bertelsmann’s 50 per cent interest in Sony BMG to Sony.

Davis Polk & Wardwell advised Bertelsmann with New York partner Christopher Mayer leading the firm’s team on the deal.

Sony turned to panel firm Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison and partner James Schwab.

Paul Weiss has been instructed by Sony on a number of deals after sitting opposite the music publishing giant on a number of deals throughout the 1990s.

Schwab told The Lawyer, “We initially developed a relationship with Sony while across the table on deals and then advising a partnership in which they were part owner. Our relationship has grown over the years and we now advise various divisions throughout the world.”

The firm advised Time Warner in 1991 organising Columbia House as a joint venture with Sony.

Last year (3 October), The Lawyer reported that the European Commission had approved Bertelsmann and Sony’s merger. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton competition partners Nick Levy and Robbert Snelders led the firm advising Sony while Slaughter and May competition partner Philippe Chapette advised Bertelsmann.