Legal Business Blogs

Ropes, Shearman and Slaughters win key roles on Liberty Global’s proposed acquisition of Cable & Wireless

Ropes & Gray, Shearman & Sterling and Slaughter and May have landed key roles on the proposed £5.5bn acquisition of Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) by Virgin Media owner Liberty Global.

Both Ropes and Shearman acted as legal advisors to Liberty, with London partners Robert Haak and Jane Rodgers co-leading for Ropes, which worked on financing aspects.

Haak said: ‘Our work with Liberty is always a great team effort – collaborating closely with their in-house finance lawyers, Ruchi Kaushal, Nina Alitalo and Ian Johnston, and always working within a very tight time limit. We have again demonstrated our ability to operate seamlessly across both bank and bond products on complex acquisition finance transactions.’

The Shearman team advising Liberty focused on corporate aspects and included Manhattan M&A partners George Casey and Robert Katz and London based M&A partners Jeremy Kutner and Laurence Levy. New York-based partners Laurence Bambino, Doreen Lilienfeld and Alan Goudiss advised on tax, corporate governance and litigation matters respectively while Washington partner Ethan Harris also provided tax advice.

Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co worked alongside Shearman, advising Liberty on UK pensions aspects of the transaction, with a team led by Jason Coates and Paul Feathers.

Liberty’s financiers were advised by Allen & Overy and Latham & Watkins. Goldman Sachs, which was among Liberty’s financial advisers, instructed Skadden, Arps Meagher & Flom with a London team led by Michal Berkner that included partners Michael Hatchard and Scott Hopkins, with support from New York partner Paul Schnell.

Corporate partner Andrew Jolly led for Slaughters, to advise longstanding client CWC. The team also included financing partner Ed Fife, competition partner Jordan Ellison, pensions and employment partner Roland Doughty and tax partner Sara Luder. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison provided support to Slaughters on financing aspects of the transaction, with a team led by managing partner and global head of securities Mark Bergman.

Slaughters previously advised CWC when it sold its 55% interest in Monaco Telecom to a private investment vehicle in 2014. The firm also advised the telco as it built a strategic alliance with Columbus Networks in 2013.

The acquisition by Liberty, which also owns brands such as Ziggo, Unitymedia, Telenet, UPC, and VTR, is still subject to approval.

Liberty has been highly acquisitive in recent years, turning to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer last July when it purchased BskyB’s 6.4% stake in the UK broadcaster ITV.