Telecoms giants’ ’Everything Everywhere’ tie-up puts legacy panel firms on red alert
The legal teams at Orange and T-Mobile have been integrated following the merger of the two telecoms giants, to be followed by a panel review later this year.
The merger, which went live on 1 July, has created a new company called Everything Everywhere, becoming the UK’s largest telecoms provider ahead of rivals Vodafone and O2.
The legal team is currently operating with the legacy panels of Orange and T-Mobile, which have a combined legal spend of around £5m, but they are set to be merged – a move likely to trigger fierce competition among both firms’ advisers.
A source at Everything Everywhere said: “The legal panel will be reviewed and we need to begin planning for what that will look like. It will take a bit of time but we need to secure the best cost advantage for the business.”
T-Mobile’s main panel firms include Allen & Overy, Bird & Bird, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Hammonds, Kemp Little and Winckworth Sherwood. It also instructs Monckton Chambers and Essex Court Chambers.
Orange’s primary legal advisers are Field Fisher Waterhouse and Olswang, while it also works with Baker & McKenzie, Burges Salmon, Cobbetts and
TLT Solicitors. Eversheds is believed to be the only firm that has a place on both panels.
During the merger discussions T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom was advised by a Clifford Chance team, which included competition partner Jenine Hulsman and Düsseldorf competition partner and office head Joachim Schütze.
Orange parent company France Telecom was advised by a Norton Rose team, which included regulatory partner Michael Grenfell and corporate partner Oliver Stacey.
The new-look legal team at Everything Everywhere is headed by general counsel and company secretary James Blendis, formerly legal director at T-Mobile. Former Orange UK general counsel Alexander Lunshof has moved into a senior role within the legal team of parent company France Telecom.
Blendis will oversee five legal divisions headed by a mix of former T-Mobile and Orange lawyers. They are: Orange’s Colin Caldwell, Sonia Bellamy and Tom Speed and T-Mobile’s Guy Perring and Matthew Redding. The combined 60-strong legal team will be split between offices in Hatfield, Paddington and Bristol.