Linklaters and Hengeler tune in for Vodafone’s €7.7bn German cable buy

Linklaters and German firm Hengeler Mueller have advised on Vodafone’s €7.7bn (£6.6bn) takeover of Kabel Deutschland.

The deal, announced today (24 June), will create a telecoms and media group with German revenues of €11.5bn (£9.8bn), as well as 32.4 million mobile, 5 million broadband and 7.6 million direct TV customers in the country.

Vodafone

The German cable business, set to be bought for €87 (£74.20) per share in cash, was advised by a Hengeler team including corporate partners Maximilian Schiessl in Düsseldorf and Achim Herfs in Munich, alongside Berlin regulatory partner Wolfgang Spoerr and Düsseldorf competition partner Christoph Stadler.

They were joined by Düsseldorf-based corporate associates Annika Claus, Benjamin Leyendecker-Langner and Christian Strothotte. Leyendecker-Langner is currently seconded to the firm’s Munich office.

Vodafone was advised by Linklaters, which fielded corporate partners Iain Fenn in London, Klaus Hoenig in Düsseldorf and Stephan Oppenhoff in Frankfurt.

Including €3bn (£2.6bn) of net debt on 31 March, the acquisition’s total enterprise value is €10.7bn.

Background to this deal:

Linklaters has a long track record acting for Vodafone in the UK and Germany, with Fenn and Clodagh Hayes among the City partners advising it on its acquisition of Cable & Wireless Worldwide last year.

Kabel Deutschland, headquartered in Unterföhring near Munich, uses Hengeler as its main corporate lawyers, with Herfs acting as relationship partner. Schiessl was brought in for the latest deal on the back of his specialism in public takeovers, working alongside Herfs, but it was Schiessl was carried out the bulk of the work in the run-up to today’s announcement.

The telecoms group is a longstanding client of the German leader, which last year advised it on its €603m acquisition of Hanover cable rival Tele Columbus, with Herfs at the helm. Frankfurt partner Torsten Busch also led for the underwriters, headed by longstanding client Deutsche Bank, on Kabel Deutschland’s IPO in 2010, with the company advised on the listing by a Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer team including Frankfurt corporate partner Rick van Aerssen.

Hengeler’s Schiessl also advised private equity group EQT on its acquisition of Germany’s Kabel Baden-Württemberg in 2006 and led when it sold it off in 2011 to US buyer Liberty Global, which was advised by Freshfields Hamburg corporate partner Michael Haidinger and a Ropes & Gray finance team led by London partners Jane Rogers and Tania Bedi (28 March 2011).

Liberty, which instructed Ropes and Shearman & Sterling for its acquisition of Virgin Media earlier this year (6 February 2013), also considered a bid for Kabel Deutschland of a reported €7.5bn (£6.4bn) but is not understood to have made a formal offer.

Liberty also engaged Freshfields and Ropes for its 2009 purchase of Germany’s Unitymedia.