Simpson set for bumper M&A year as it scoops Vodafone from S&C

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett has captured a role advising Vodafone on its expected $30bn (£15.86bn) offer for US operator AT&T Wireless – over usual adviser Sullivan & Cromwell.

If the deal goes ahead, it will be the third major role played by the New York firm in the current US M&A boom.

Those deals are worth a combined total estimated at $158bn (£83.5bn) and include advising JPMorgan Chase’s $58bn merger with Bank One. In that deal, it edged out Davis Polk & Wardwell and Cravath Swaine & Moore.

Last year Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom led Thomson Financial’s US tables for the whole of 2003, working on deals worth just $122bn (£64.49bn), and Simpson Thacher worked on deals worth just $66.5bn (£35.15bn) in 2003.

Simpson Thacher captured the Vodafone instruction because regular adviser Sullivan & Cromwell is advising rival bidder Cingular. Sullivan is Vodafone’s regular US corporate firm and worked on the UK mobile company’s 1996 merger with Airtouch.

Simpson Thacher has teamed up with Vodafone’s regular UK adviser Linklaters for the monster deal. Simpson head of corporate Pete Ruedder is leading the team.

Vodafone’s offer comes in the same week as Comcast’s  $66bn (£34.89bn) hostile bid for Walt Disney, marking a dramatic upturn in the US M&A market.

THE US M&A bonanza

The $30bn (£15.86bn) sale of AT&T Wireless

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is advising Vodafone because regular adviser Sullivan & Cromwell is advising Cingular, which is also set to bid.

Comcast’s $66bn (£34.89bn) hostile bid for Walt Disney
Dewey Ballantine is advising Walt Disney on the $66bn (£34.89bn) hostile bid from Comcast, advised by Davis Polk. Simpson Thacher has scooped a role as well, representing Comcast’s financial adviser JP Morgan.

Oracle’s ongoing $9.3bn (£4.92bn) hostile bid for PeopleSoft
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher is assisting PeopleSoft with an innovative way of fighting off Oracle’s hostile bid. PeopleSoft has begun adding a provision into contracts to pay customers rebates if the company is taken over. Some PeopleSoft shareholders and Oracle, advised by Davis Polk, have filed a motion to stop the offering of such rebates.

JP Morgan Chase’s $58bn (£30.66bn) merger with Bank One
Simpson Thacher scooped the work ahead of JP Morgan’s other key corporate advisers Davis Polk and Cravath Swaine & Moore.