Wachtell guides US Treasury on Fannie/Freddie

Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz has scored the lead role on the US government’s seizure of beleaguered mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Wachtell corporate partner Ed Herlihy and restructuring partner Harold Novikoff are leading the firm advising the US Treasury on its takeover of the two ailing financial institutions.

Both companies will be effectively nationalised by being put under conservatorship, in which regulator the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will take control.

The scale and dramatic nature of the government’s intervention has inevitably paved the way for a roster of the US’s top firms to be involved. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton partner Ken Bachman led his firm’s team for Morgan Stanley, financial adviser to the US Treasury.

Cravath Swaine & Moore partner Robert Joffe is advising the independent directors of Fannie Mae while Sullivan & Cromwell chairman Rodgin Cohen is advising the company.

A team of several partners at Davis Polk & Wardwell, led by the head of the firm’s financial institutions practice Randall Guynn and capital markets partner Jeffrey Small, is advising Freddie Mac.

As part of its bailout, the US government will acquire $1bn of preferred shares in each company and will assist Fannie and Freddie with their extensive losses in the mortgage market with a total $200bn contribution. Together, the two mortgage giants provide financing for three-quarters of new US residential mortgages.