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The guessing game is over as Vodafone’s $130bn Verizon sell off sees Slaughters acting opposite Macfarlanes and Wachtell

Intense speculation over Vodafone’s $130bn disposal of its US group, whose principal asset is its 45% interest in Verizon Wireless, to Verizon Communications this evening (2 September) came to an end after the deal announced, with Macfarlanes revealed as acting for Verizon and Slaughter and May for Vodafone. Slaughter and May corporate partner Roland Turnill led for the telecoms giant on one of the largest corporate deals in history, along with Simpson Thacher in the US.

Verizon was advised by Macfarlanes’ managing partner Charles Martin and corporate partner Graham Gibb, alongside Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz partners Daniel Neff and Steven Rosenblum. Hogan Lovells also had a secondary role for Vodafone.

Slaughter and May is one of Vodafone’s go-to corporate panel firms and Turnill has acted on deals including its 2011 $5bn acquisition of Essar’s minority shareholding in Vodafone Essar. The instruction comes after Linklaters, also on its panel of lead advisers, in June advised Vodafone on its €7.7bn takeover of Kabel Deutschland.

This latest transaction was unanimously approved by the boards of both companies and is subject to regulatory approval, as well as the approval of both companies’ shareholders, a Vodafone statement said today. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014.

Vodafone’s announcement this evening on the London Stock Exchange came after an earlier statement responding to media speculation, which confirmed that talks were taking place but that there was ‘no certainty a deal would be reached’.

Lowell McAdam, Verizon chairman and CEO, said of the deal: ‘Today’s announcement is a major milestone for Verizon, and we look forward to having full ownership of the industry leader in network performance, profitability and cash flow.’

Vittorio Colao, Vodafone group CEO, added: ‘This transaction allows both Vodafone and Verizon to execute on their long-term strategic objectives. Our two companies have had a long and successful partnership and have grown Verizon Wireless into a market leader with great momentum. We wish Lowell and the Verizon team continuing success over the years ahead.’