Sullivan beats rivals to France Telecom

Sullivan & Cromwell has elbowed aside Linklaters and Shearman & Sterling to advise France Telecom on its €3.9bn (£2.61bn) takeover of internet service provider Wanadoo.

Linklaters and Shearman have advised on the majority of France Telecom’s key corporate deals over the last three years. These have included a £10.7bn rights issue, a multibillion-euro refinancing, the Vodafone-Cegetel deal, the Mobilcom joint venture, the acquisition of Equant and a number of deals involving subsidiary Orange.

France Telecom has offered to buy back the 29.4 per cent of Wanadoo it does not already own. Sullivan partners Nikolaos Andronikos and Gauthier Blanluet are advising the telecoms company. Bredin Prat partner Didier Martin is advising Wanadoo.

French M&A is experiencing a mini-boom to mirror the spate of mega-deals in the US, and Sullivan and Bredin Prat have scooped key roles on both of the largest deals. They are also advising Aventis on its defence of Sanofi-Synthelabo’s €48bn (£32.14bn) hostile bid.

Sanofi is being advised by Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier, Linklaters, Rambaud Martel and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz.