A Slaughter and May conflict has gifted Allen & Overy (A&O) a mandate to advise Swedish telecoms equipment company Ericsson on its £1.2bn deal to buy the bulk of Marconi’s assets.
Slaughters, which is retained as corporate legal adviser to both Ericsson and Marconi, is acting for the latter company on the deal. This is the latest in a number of recent deals where Slaughters’ clients have been on both sides (The Lawyer, 10 October).
A&O corporate partner David Wooton is leading the team advising Ericsson. He said that because the magic circle firm advised Marconi on its high-profile restructuring the lawyers on the Ericsson deal were vetted to ensure that they were not involved on the restructuring.
Wooton added that the deal was innovative as it was structured as an asset purchase rather than a takeover and therefore enbabled Ericsson to avoid picking up Marconi’s pension deficit.
Marconi will use £700m of the sale proceeds to cover its pension liabilities and return to rest to its shareholders.
Ericsson is funding the purchase with cash out of its own resources. The Slaughters team was led by corporate partner Frances Murphy.