Bakers, Freshfields, HSF and Linklaters pick up spots on O2 deal

Amid a global wave of consolidation in the telecoms sector four firms have emerged as advisers on the latest big deal – Hong Kong-based Fortune 500 giant Hutchison Whampoa’s proposed £10.25bn acquisition of O2.

It is understood that Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has scooped the mandate for the UK’s second-largest mobile unit O2, while Hutchison Whampoa has turned to Baker & McKenzie, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters.

The deal follows news last month that BT is looking to acquire acquire telecoms operator EE, a deal which now looks set to go through. Freshfields also has a role on that transaction, advising BT opposite for Clifford Chance and Norton Rose Fulbright for EE owners Deutsche Telekom and Orange.

HSF also has form in the sector, with strong ties to O2 and its parent Telefónica. In 2012 the firm advised the latter on its landmark network collaboration with Vodafone.

Regulators are closely watching developments in the telecoms industry amid concerns that reducing the number of UK operators from four to three is a step too far. But the law firms involved will stay at the end of the phone, just in case.

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