A year ago this week

A&O steals BT contract for e-commerce float

Allen & Overy (A&O) was selected in a beauty parade to work on the flotation of BT's international directories and e-commerce business Yell.

This was the first time the firm instructed BT, which had previously enjoyed longstanding relationships with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters & Alliance. This was an unexpected coup for A&O, which during the bidding process considered itself “an outsider”, as it had not previously done any work for BT in the UK.

A year on, and Yell has still not floated and analysts speculate that BT is going to sell its directories arm in order to ease a predicted £3bn of its £30bn debt.

A&O is unable to comment on the possible sale of Yell. According to John Salmon, press officer for Yell, this is because “there is so much speculation going on about Yell at the moment when the decision is still in the balance. Nobody knows what's going to happen, and disclosing any information about Yell will only add to this speculation.”

A&O was not asked to advise BT on its rights issue, a move announced on 9 May, which is instead being handled by Linklaters.

KLegal raids Cap Gemini and IBM in communications drive

KMPG's associated law firm recruited three top in-house lawyers to add weight to its IT and telecoms group.

The three were Gilbert McClung from IBM, Peter Cashmore from Telecom New Zealand and John Buyers from Cap Gemini. They are now known as the “Three Musketeers” in KLegal circles.

In its biggest coup of the year, the IT and telecoms group announced the appointment of Alan Whitfield, BT's group general counsel, in February. He is to start work in June after serving his notice with BT.

Weil Gotshal woos top duo for Germany

For the launch of its Frankfurt Office, Weil Gotshal & Manges poached the head of the German Takeover Commission and a former Jones Day Reavis & Pogue partner.

Josef Tobien, who had a leading role in the Vodafone/Mannesmann takeover battle, was described by one German banking lawyer as one of the best minds in the market (The Lawyer, 22 May 2000).

At the end of last month (April 30), Weil Gotshal recruited Gerhard Schmidt, one of Germany's leading private equity rainmakers, from German firm Beiten Burkhardt Mittl & Wegener, bringing the total number of partners to nine.