Macfarlanes and Slaughters lead as Verizon buys Vodafone stake

Macfarlanes, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Slaughter and May and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz are all taking lead roles in the much-anticipated deal between Vodafone and Verizon Communications.

Following several weeks of speculation Verizon announced this evening (2 September) it would be buying Vodafone’s 45 per cent stake in Verizon Wireless, America’s largest mobile network, for $130bn (£84bn).

It is understood that Macfarlanes senior partner Charles Martin and partner Graham Gibb have advised Verizon Communications alongside Wachtell partners Daniel Neff and Steven Rosenblum in New York. Jones Day provided Dutch advice to Verizon.

Slaughter and May partners Craig Cleaver and Roland Turnhill are believed to have advised Vodafone on the sale along with Simpson Thacher corporate partner William Curbow on the US side.

Slaughters’ Dutch best friend De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek also acted for Vodafone on Dutch issues, fielding a team led by partner Paul Sleurink.

The $130bn price tag consists of a combination of cash, stock and other items. Verizon has agreed to pay Vodafone $58.9bn in cash and has entered into a $61bn funding agreement with JP Morgan Chase Bank, Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, Bank of America and Barclays.

Verizon will also be issuing stock to Vodafone shareholders and will issue $5bn in notes to Vodafone as well as selling its 23.1 per cent minority stake in Italian subsidiary Vodfaone Omnitel to Vodafone for $3.5bn on top of several other considerations.

Verizon Communications has been trying to wrest control of Vodafone’s stake in Verizon Wireless for several years but progress lapsed last year when the companies failed to agree on a price. Vodafone confirmed on Thursday 27 August that talks had been re-opened.

Slaughter and May won a spot on Vodafone’s revamped panel in 2011 (13 September 2011) but Linklaters retained its role as the company’s main corporate counsel.

Vodafone is expected to pay no capital gains tax on the sale as the holding company for the US company is in the Netherlands, according to BBC economics editor Robert Peston.