Davis Polk wins job for French government on failed BAE-EADS talks

US firm Davis Polk & Wardwell’s newly-launched UK law team has won an appointment for the French government on negotiations with aerospace groups BAE Systems and EADS over their €36bn (£29bn) merger, which was called off yesterday (10 October).

Simon Witty
Simon Witty

London partner Simon Witty advised the Paris authorities on UK aspects of the talks, with the overall charge of the team in the hands of fellow corporate partner Christophe Perchet, who is based in the French capital. Perchet advised on French law.

The mandate comes after Davis Polk hired Witty from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to launch an English-law practice for the US firm earlier this year (6 January 2012). It later recruited a second Freshfields partner with the hire of tax specialist Jonathan Cooklin (13 April 2012).

The talks collapsed following concerns about the impact of the deal, which would have created a European giant in the aerospace sector if the tie-up between UK defence group BAE and Netherlands-based civil aerospace company EADS had been completed.

Reports suggested the deal was vetoed by German chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday (9 October), with the country’s government advised by Gleiss Lutz corporate partner Ralf Thaeter in Berlin. German firm Schilling Zutt & Anschütz advised Daimler, a major EADS shareholder, fielding Mannheim corporate partner Jochem Reichert.

Background to this deal:

Davis Polk is a longstanding adviser to the French government on matters relating to EADS, including on the company’s corporate governance restructuring and share capital restructuring.

Clifford Chance, Freshfields and French firm Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier emerged last month as the main corporate advisers on the merger (13 September 2012).

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