Simpson Thacher & Bartlett has captured a role advising Vodafone on its expected $30bn (£15.86bn) offer for US operator AT&T Wireless – over usual adviser Sullivan & Cromwell.
If the deal goes ahead, it will be the third major role played by the New York firm in the current US M&A boom.
Those deals are worth a combined total estimated at $158bn (£83.5bn) and include advising JPMorgan Chase’s $58bn merger with Bank One. In that deal, it edged out Davis Polk & Wardwell and Cravath Swaine & Moore.
Last year Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom led Thomson Financial’s US tables for the whole of 2003, working on deals worth just $122bn (£64.49bn), and Simpson Thacher worked on deals worth just $66.5bn (£35.15bn) in 2003.
Simpson Thacher captured the Vodafone instruction because regular adviser Sullivan & Cromwell is advising rival bidder Cingular. Sullivan is Vodafone’s regular US corporate firm and worked on the UK mobile company’s 1996 merger with Airtouch.
Simpson Thacher has teamed up with Vodafone’s regular UK adviser Linklaters for the monster deal. Simpson head of corporate Pete Ruedder is leading the team.
Vodafone’s offer comes in the same week as Comcast’s $66bn (£34.89bn) hostile bid for Walt Disney, marking a dramatic upturn in the US M&A market.
THE US M&A bonanza
The $30bn (£15.86bn) sale of AT&T Wireless
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is advising Vodafone because regular adviser Sullivan & Cromwell is advising Cingular, which is also set to bid.
Comcast’s $66bn (£34.89bn) hostile bid for Walt Disney
Oracle’s ongoing $9.3bn (£4.92bn) hostile bid for PeopleSoft
JP Morgan Chase’s $58bn (£30.66bn) merger with Bank One