Shearmans and A & O act in France Telcom claim

Shearman & Sterling's Paris office and Allen & Overy's Italian office are advising France Telecom in its two-pronged attack on Deutsche Telekom, which has recently broken its partnership to merge with Telecom Italia.

Shearmans is advising the French telecommunications giant on its million-euro claim for damages against Deutsche Telekom after Deutsche stepped in with an $81m rescue attempt of Telecom Italia from an ongoing hostile bid from Olivetti.

Emmanuael Gaillard, managing partner of Shearman & Sterling's Paris office, confirms he is heading a team working on the deal, but refuses to say how many of the office's 20 arbitration lawyers are working on the case.

However, one source says that at least six of Shearman & Sterling's Paris lawyers are working on the deal.

Allen & Overy, in association with Brosio Casati e Associati, is advising France Telecom on a second action against Deutsche Telekom in Italy.

The compensation claim is for the break-up of Wind, a partnership between Italy's state-owned electricity group Enel, France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom.

Davide D'angelo, a telecoms lawyer at Allen & Overy's Italian office, says: “Enel has filed a petition to protect its own shareholding, and we are representing France Telecom.”

D'angelo, who is part of a four- strong team which includes lawyers from Allen & Overy's litigation and corporate departments, says the firm has been advising France Telecom since 1995.

“We represented them when they set up Wind with Deutsche Telekom, and on its aborted negotiations on a joint venture with Olivetti in 1996.”

According to one source, in the past Shearman & Sterling has also worked for Deutsche Telekom.

However, Guillard says there is no conflict, as Shearman's German office advised Deutsche Telekom and the work involved smaller deals.

Two other firms are known to be advising France Telecom on EU anti-trust issues and negotiations but France Telecom refused to disclose their names.

Herbert Smith is advising Olivetti on raising funds to take over the Italian telecommunications company, which is five times its size. The firm is understood to have fought off competition from Freshfields for the deal.