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Corporate: Alibaba and Kabel Deutschland deals land roles for Freshfields, Linklaters and Hengeler Mueller

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters have landed two major corporate mandates advising Alibaba on what Reuters describes as ‘the most anticipated IPO since Facebook’ and Vodafone on its €7.7bn (£6.6bn) acquisition of Germany’s largest cable TV operator respectively.

Amidst much market speculation over roles and particularly the levels of fees that will be commanded, Freshfields is understood to be advising the China e-commerce giant on an IPO reportedly valued at as much as $100bn (64bn), with Hong Kong equity capital markets partner and Greater China head Teresa Ko understood to be leading the team.The Magic Circle firm recently advised Alibaba, which under the helm of former CEO Jack Ma (pictured) transformed into one of the world’s largest e-commerce businesses with 24,000 employees, on its $8bn debt refinancing and buyback of half of Yahoo!’s 40% stake in the company in May last year.

Linklaters, meanwhile, is advising long-term client Vodafone, one of the world’s largest mobile communications companies with a market capitalisation of £85.3bn, on its first foray into consumer broadband and television with the acquisition of Kabel Deutschland, offering Kabel shareholders €87 per share in cash, as announced yesterday (24 June).

Düsseldorf partner Klaus Hoenig and Frankfurt partner Stephan Oppenhoff are leading the team at Linklaters, which last year advised the phone company on its $1.7bn purchase of London-based Cable & Wireless Worldwide (CWW), which provides businesses with voice, date and intellectual property communications.

The deal also represents a significant win for German law firm Hengeler Mueller, which is advising Kabel Deutschland, fielding a multi-jurisdictional team led by corporate partners Maximilian Schiessl and Achim Herfs together with regulatory partner Wolfgang Spoerr and antitrust partner Christoph Stadler.

Hengeler Mueller also advised the cable TV company last July on its €618m agreement to acquire Tele Columbus, which was vetoed this year by Germany’s antitrust regulator.