Simpson and SullCrom take lead roles on Microsoft’s $8.5bn Skype bid

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Sullivan & Cromwell have scored top roles in Microsoft Corporation’s $8.5bn (£5.2bn) acquisition of Skype Global.

Simpson Thacher is representing Microsoft in its acquisition of the internet communications company, announced on 10 May, led by partners Casey Cogut, Alan Klein and Greg Grogan. Covington & Burling is also advising Micrsoft, with a team from San Francisco, Brussels and Washinton DC led by IP partners Evan Cox and Bruce Deeming.

Meanwhile, Sullivan is representing Skype and its investor group, led by Silver Lake, with partners Richard Morrissey, Alison Ressler and Sarah Payne leading.

Skype was founded in 2003 and acquired by eBay in September 2005, before being taken over by investment group Silver Lake in November 2009.

The latest acquisition represents Microsoft’s biggest deal to date, and Skype is set to become a new business division within Microsoft.

Sullivan’s Morrissey, who is co-head of private equity at the firm, said: “Obviously this is a very good deal for us to be involved in and there are two very high quality groups in Microsoft and the investor group led by Silver Lake.

“For the tech world this also represents a very large deal.”

Morrissey said the acquisition would involve a variety of legal work including contract negotiations, intellectual property matters, competition and tax.

It is expected that all regulatory clearances for the acquisition will be completed by the end of the calendar year.