Weil Gotshal scoops WorldCom restructure

Weil Gotshal & Manges has picked up another high-profile restructuring. Not content with working on Enron – the US’s biggest bankruptcy – and restructuring telecoms company Global Crossing, the US firm is advising troubled telecoms giant WorldCom.
Weil Gotshal has confirmed that a team led by New York corporate partner Jeff Weinberg and restructuring partner Marcia Goldstein is acting on the telecoms company’s restructuring. The WorldCom work could entail fees of a similar size to those charged in relation to the Enron work. Weil Gotshal has so far requested $26m (£17m) in Enron-related fees and expenses.
Weil Gotshal has around 56 partners and counsel in its combined restructuring and bankruptcy practices. The firm will have to marshal its resources carefully. Some 90 partners and counsel and 177 associates have spent 56,000 hours on Enron work since the company filed for Chapter 11 protection last year. Some commentators have suggested that Weil Gotshal could be overstretched in adding the WorldCom work to Enron and Global Crossing.
One partner at a rival New York firm came to Weil Gotshal’s defence. He said: “Sometimes when it rains, it pours. If they have taken it on, I’m willing to bet they’ve got the capability to do it.”
A WorldCom spokesperson said that it had retained the firm because of its strengths in M&A, restructuring and, should it be necessary, bankruptcy. This same line of argument was offered by Enron officials when it retained Weil Gotshal’s services.
Weinberg’s corporate portfolio includes a number of telecoms transactions. He was lead US counsel to Telewest Group on its global securities offering and advised the McCraw family when McCraw Cellular was bought by AT&T. Goldstein has handled a number of parties in debt restructurings and Chapter 11 cases, including Regal Cinemas, Babcock & Wilcox and United Companies Financial Corporation.
Weil Gotshal was unavailable for comment.