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US elite take roles as Verizon emerges as Yahoo! buyer in $4.8bn deal

A handful of US elite firms including Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz have taken roles in the much speculated sale of Yahoo! to Verizon.

The deal, announced today (25 July) comes after uncertainty over the internet company’s future as Yahoo! struggled to compete with giants like Google and Facebook.

Wachtell, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Covington & Burling and Winston & Strawn acted for Verizon. Covington’s team on the deal was led by Miranda Cole, Tom Barnett and Jim O’Connell.

Skadden, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Weil, Gotshal & Manges are legal advisers to Yahoo!. Weil’s team included Silicon Valley tech partner Karen Ballack and litigation partner Christopher Cox.

Meanwhile Cravath, Swaine & Moore acted for the strategic review committee of Yahoo! as its independent legal adviser. The company appointed the US firm as legal advisers back in February this year to explore options for its sale, with head of M&A Faiza Saeed and corporate partner Eric Schiele both advising.

Skadden has also been a longtime adviser to Yahoo!, although in 2015 Yahoo! had to abandon plans to spin off its remaining stake to Alibaba after the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), intervened. Skadden had advised that the deal would be tax-free, but was unable to obtain an IRS ruling on the matter.

Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo! follows its purchase of AOL internet, which it bought last year for $4.4bn. Yahoo! will give Verizon access to its advertising technology and search functions alongside mail and messenger services.