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Ringing the changes – Nokia appoints first global legal panel

Shearman & Sterling, Reed Smith, Dentons and Eversheds are among the firms appointed to Nokia’s newly-created global legal panel.

With a 450-strong legal team and an external spend of over £50m, the quartet have secured spots on one of Europe’s most coveted legal panels. There could be more work in the pipeline too, with Nokia’s team still analysing the legal spend of recently-acquired French telecoms company Alcatel-Lucent.

Chief legal officer, Maria Varsellona (pictured), has been working towards creating a single panel and consolidating the company’s use of external advisers since a reorganisation of the business after Nokia bought out Siemens’ 50% stake in the pair’s joint venture company Nokia Siemens Networks for €1.7bn in July 2014. The panel review was launched in early 2015.

Shearman has long advised Nokia on its M&A, handling its deal with Siemens in 2014 and the more recent €2.8bn sale of its digital mapping arm to a consortium of automotive companies, including Audi, BMW and Daimler.

However, Nokia turned to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom for its €15.6bn acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent, with Nokia having taken full control of the company in January this year. That deal was led by Scott Simpson, Skadden’s co-head of global transactions.

Varsellona told Legal Business: ‘We continue to review our preferred external counsel as Nokia’s transformation continues. To date, we’ve appointed firms for Finland-specific work, particular practice areas and general work globally. As our review continues, we expect to consider specialist firms, the firms used by the former Alcatel-Lucent organisation and our existing panels of firms in large single jurisdictions, such as China, India and the US.’;