Weil wins biggest deals on both sides of Atlantic

Weil Gotshal & Manges scooped its second major private equity acquisition of a household name this week, advising Goldman Sachs on the $25bn (£12.6bn) acquisition of US wireless operator Alltel.

The firm has scored the week’s largest private equity deals on both sides of the Atlantic after securing client Terra Firma’s £3.2bn bid for record label and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer client EMI yesterday (21 May).

Texas Pacific Group (TPG) and the private equity arm of Goldman Sachs turned to Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, which is TPG’s longstanding adviser, and Weil, co-counsel to Goldman Sachs, on the bid for Alltel, the fifth-largest wireless operator in the US.

The Cleary team was led by New York-based M&A partner Paul Shim, while corporate partner Mike Aiello led the Weil team.

On the Alltel acquisition, Washington DC firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld landed a role for the acquirors on the regulatory aspects, led by technology, media and telecoms partners Kathleen Abernathy and Tom Davidson.

Acquisition finance will be provided by Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland if the deal is successful. Rival bidders have reportedly complained that the auction was cut short.

Advising Arkansas-headquartered Alltel was Manhattan M&A behemoth Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, with corporate partner Edward Herlihy leading. In 2005 the firm was opposite Alltel in the wireless operator’s $6bn (£3.05bn) purchase of Western Wireless.