Dewey storms race to secure Wind purchase

Gianni and Bonelli lose out as US firm triumphs in Italian telecoms contest

Dewey Ballantine client Weather Investments has won out in the high-profile contest for Italian telecommunications group Wind, tabling a stunning €12.2bn (£8.34bn) offer to defeat a bid by Blackstone.

Dewey Italian head Bruno Gattai advised Weather, the bid vehicle led by Egyptian telecoms guru Naguib Sawiris, chief executive and chairman of Egypt’s Orascom Telecom. According to reports, Sawiris’s Orascom outfit, which owns and runs mobile phone networks across the Middle East and North Africa, stumbled into financial difficulty in 2001, before being rescued by more than $200m (£105.8m) of investment from former Palestinian Liberation Organ-isation head Yassir Arafat. Gattai shocked the Italian market when he joined Dewey from Simmons & Simmons in September 2003, taking with him a trio of heavy-hitting partners.

The US firm’s win marks a loss for Italian corporate powerhouses Gianni Origoni Grippo & Partners and Bonelli Erede Pappalardo, which advised Blackstone and Goldman Sachs respectively on Blackstone’s rival bid.

The deal also saw another US firm, McDermott Will & Emery, through its Italian ally Carnelutti Studio Legale, secure a key instruction. Carnelutti advised Enel, the Italian utility company disposing of Wind.

The offload of Wind – Italy’s third-largest mobile phone operator and its second-largest fixed-line telecoms group – comes as Enel continues its withdrawal from telecoms to focus on its core electricity and gas businesses.