Yahoo! ditches B&M in favour of Simmons

Simmons & Simmons has usurped Baker & McKenzie (B&M) as Yahoo! Europe’s lead adviser following an exhaustive review of external legal suppliers by general counsel Richard Hastings.

Hastings, 02’s former UK head of legal, joined the internet company last December and began a rationalisation process almost immediately.

Yahoo! is believed to have used around 100 firms across Europe due to acquisitions such as Overture and Kelkoo bringing their advisers into the picture, as well as its aggressive pan-European expansion programme.

Hastings whittled the list down to 10, believed to have included former chief adviser B&M along with Bird & Bird and Osborne Clarke, and then eventually down to two. It is understood that it was Bird & Bird which lost out at the final hurdle. Osborne Clarke has been retained by Yahoo!
Hastings is known to favour longstanding relationships with his legal suppliers and had previously instructed Simmons partner Tom Wheadon when at telecoms company Interoute.

In addition to Wheadon, Simmons’ pitch team involved a number of departments hoping for instructions from Yahoo!. It comprised technology, media and telecoms head David Barrett, IT partner Jonathon Little, corporate partner Chris Wilkinson, commercial litigation partner Miles Alexander, IP partner Adrian Smith, real estate partner Nick Jones and competition partner Martin Smith.

Bird & Bird and B&M did not return calls for comment.