Kirkland takes lead in Cable & Wireless US auction

Kirkland & Ellis is spearheading the auctioning of Cable & Wireless’s US operation after the group last week filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Kirkland restructuring partners James Sprayregen and Bennett Spiegel are leading the instruction for the debt-ridden Cable & Wireless America (CWA), which was first considered for sale by parent Cable & Wireless plc on 4 June this year.

Last week, Los Angeles-based venture capitalist Gores Technology Group, represented by Pepper Hamilton, announced its intention to buy CWA. It was at the investor’s behest that CWA, which is made up of six entities, filed for Chapter 11, allowing a restructuring of the group. The filing in Delaware was made by restructuring partner Laura Davis Jones from Pachulski Stang Ziehl Young & Jones.

However, while Gores has made an offer for CWA, valued at $125m (£71.7m), there is a strong possibility that other interested parties will enter an auction for the
business.

It is understood that other companies that have examined the US group include Level 3 Communications and WilTel Communications. Investment bank Greenhill & Co is acting for Cable & Wireless, which has retained Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz as counsel. Blackstone Group is acting on behalf of CWA.

As part of the process, new management has been drafted in at CWA, made up of John Dubel and Eric Simonsen from turnaround specialist AlixPartners, which opened offices in both London and Munich in January.

Dubel is acting as chief executive officer at CWA, while Simonsen has been appointed as chief restructuring officer and chief financial officer.