BT joint venture driven by team of 15

British Telecom has used an even bigger team of in-house lawyers on its AT&T joint venture than it used on its aborted £12bn-megamerger with MCI.

American Jack Greenberg, director of legal services for BT's global communications arm, headed a team of 15 in-house lawyers worldwide, which pulled together the complicated agreement that will create a company with a £6bn turnover in its first year.

A team of seven worked on the aborted MCI merger last year. Greenberg commented: “The in-house team was the driver of the deal, and although the joint venture is less in economic terms than the MCI merger would have been, joint ventures are more complicated. They are 'green fields' because the parties can create what they want.”

BT used Linklaters in the UK on the MCI deal, but this time instructed a team from Bird & Bird, led by communications group head David Kerr with corporate partners Dan Ayers and Dominic Cook and tax partner Richard Ward.

In the US, BT instructed two firms, using Toby Myerson, Max Gitter and tax partner Peter Rothenburg from Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, and David Saylor and Joel Winnick at Hogan & Hartson. In Brussels, for competition purposes, it used Bernard Amory of Jones Day Reavis & Pogue.

The US long distance carrier AT&T also used an in-house team, led by Marilyn Wasser, and instructed the country's most profitable firm last year, New York-based Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, led by Stephanie Seligman.

The BT/AT&T venture will handle 25 billion minutes of telecoms traffic annually.