DLA, Herbies, OC land Carphone AOL mandates

Herbert Smith, DLA Piper and Osborne Clarke have all scooped roles on the £370m acquisition of AOL’s internet access business by mobile communications giant Carphone Warehouse.

Carphone Warehouse’s general counsel Tim Morris is understood to have instructed existing advisers Osborne Clarke and DLA Piper on the deal, while Herbert Smith partners Nick Elverston and Gavin Davies represented Time Warner subsidiary AOL.

All three firms are regular advisers to the two companies. Osborne Clarke acted for Carphone Warehouse on the December 2005 acquisition of Centrica’s OneTel business, while DLA Piper partner James Kerrigan has previously represented the company on a number of transactions.

Meanwhile, Herbert Smith has advised Time Warner and AOL since the two companies merged in 2000.

The deal sees Carphone Warehouse become the UK’s third biggest internet provider, with AOL bringing 2.1m customers. AOL will continue to provide advertising and portal services through a revenue-sharing agreement.

Carphone Warehouse is paying cash for the business, funded via an extension of existing debt facilities. European competition authority clearance is being sought and the deal is expected to be approved by the end of December 2006.