Allen & Overy joins Mannesmann fray

Allen & Overy has won a place in the massive takeover bid from Vodafone Airtouch for Mannesmann – handling what lawyers claim is the largest syndicated loan agreement ever.

The £18.75bn loan is to help the UK telecommunications giant reach the £80bn figure it needs for victory in its hostile takeover battle for German rival Mannesmann.

A&O is acting for the bookrunners, which are in charge of managing the loan. They are Bank of America, Barclays, Citibank, and Goldman Sachs.

Linklaters is representing Vodafone together with its German alliance partner Oppenhoff & Radler.

Bruckhaus Westrick Heller & Loeber is Mannesmann’s main adviser.

David Morley, the banking partner in charge of the A&O team along with banking partner George Link in Frankfurt, says: “It is the biggest loan anywhere in the world. The figures make your eyes water.”

He adds that the second biggest loan was for euro22.5bn (£15.4bn) last year to fund the takeover by Olivetti of Telecom Italia.

The banks that have agreed to underwrite and arrange the loan are ABN Amro, Bank of America, Banque Nationale de Paris, Barclays, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, Greenwich, NatWest, ING Barings, National Australia Bank, Toronto Dominion and Warburg Dillon Read.

The A&O team consists of Morley, Link, and banking assistants Philip Bowden, Alisa Westwood, Harmurt Krause and Neil Weiland.

Linklaters’ team is led by securities partner Clare Moulder. Banking partner Philip Badge and banking associate Stuart Thomas are assisting her.