Cravath, Herbies land lead roles on potential AOL deal

Cravath Swaine & Moore and Herbert Smith have scooped lead roles advising Time Warner on the potential £1bn sale of its subsidiary AOL UK.

A deadline for bidders to declare an interest in buying the internet company passed last Monday (12 June). BSkyB is the favourite to pick up the internet business, although a deal with Vodafone has not been ruled out.

However, it is still unclear whether Time Warner, AOL UK’s US parent, will put the company up for sale.

Cravath is expected to advise longstanding client Time Warner on US aspects of the deal with best friend Herbert Smith taking the lead on UK law, should the much-speculated-upon sale proceed.

The two firms are longstanding advisers to Time Warner, with both featuring on the merger of America Online and Time Warner in 2000. Herbert Smith partners James Palmer, Gareth Roberts and Richard Fleck advised on that deal.

Time Warner sparked speculation about the future of AOL UK last month when it instigated a European strategic review by Citigroup.

The options include the sale, a joint-venture partnership – an arrangement that has already thrown up names such as Vodafone and O2 – or doing nothing.