Legal Business

Taylor Wessing to enter alliance with West Coast leader Wilson Sonsini

Taylor Wessing to enter alliance with West Coast leader Wilson Sonsini

Taylor Wessing is entering into an alliance with Silicon Valley firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati.

The UK top 20 firm confirmed to Legal Business today (18 February) that its global partnership has approved proposals for the two firms to co-operate on transactional work in tech and life sciences. It will see its lawyers work together with the Palo Alto-bred firm on matters including transactions with a US and European element.

Taylor Wessing will maintain relationships with other US firms outside the tech and life sciences transactional space. The firm currently has a representative base in Silicon Valley staffed by two partners, one counsel and one associate, as well as a base in New York, but does not practice US law.

Wilson Sonsini launched a small London outpost in August 2018, led by US tech lawyer Daniel Glazer. The firm’s website also lists one counsel and one associate in the City base, which is not practising English law.

Following two years of sluggish growth in the UK, Taylor Wessing posted a strong set of financial results in 2017/18, hiking UK revenue 12% to £144.6m and profits per equity partner 20% to £579,000. Globally the firm, which last year moved from a looser alliance of international firms into a formal verein structure, broke the £300m barrier after hiking turnover 12% to £301.5m.

Meanwhile, Wilson Sonsini posted revenue of $797m for 2017, up 6% on the previous year and making the firm the 53rd largest by revenue in Legal Business Global 100 tables. PEP at the Palo Alto-bred firm was $2.2m, up 12% on the previous year.

For more on Taylor Wessing, see ‘LB100 case study: Taylor Wessing’ (£)

Legal Business

US firms Simpson Thacher and Wilson Sonsini connect for Microsoft’s $26.2bn LinkedIn purchase

US firms Simpson Thacher and Wilson Sonsini connect for Microsoft’s $26.2bn LinkedIn purchase

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati have advised on Microsoft’s acquisition of professional social network LinkedIn for $26.2bn.

The deal, confirmed today (13 June), represents one of the largest in Microsoft’s history. Following its announcement this afternoon, LinkedIn’s share price was boosted by around 50%. Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $196 per share. The tech firm said LinkedIn’s chief executive Jeff Weiner would remain in his position, reporting to Satya Nadella, chief executive of Microsoft.

Leading advisers for Microsoft were Simpson Thacher’s co-head of M&A Alan Kline and partner Anthony Vernace.

Other partners on the deal included employment partner Gregory Grogan, IP partner Lori Lesser, tax partner Jonathan and Goldstein derivatives partner Joyce Xu, who are all based in New York. Finance partner Bill Brentani also advised out of Palo Alto.

Kline has represented Microsoft on three marquee deals, its $7.2bn purchase of Nokia’s phone business in 2013, its $8.5bn acquisition of video calling service Skype in 2011 and its investment in Barnes & Noble’s Nook business back in 2012.

Wilson Sonsini’s team acting for LinkedIn included M&A head Martin Korman alongside partners Brad Finkelstein, Katharine Martin and Doug Schnell.

The Wilson Sonsini’s team also included partners Selwyn Goldbery and TJ Graham on technology, partners John Aguirre and Scott McCall on employee benefits, and partners Elizabeth Pterson and Boris Feldman on litigation who provided litigation advice. Further Wilson Sonsini partners also provided advice on regulatory, tax, data protection, real estate, finance and governance aspects of the transaction.

Wilson Sonsini acted for the networking site in 2014 when it entered an agreement to buy marketing firm Bizo for $175m, and also in July of that year when LinkedIn purchased Newsle, a social media alerts service for an undisclosed sum.

Microsoft was previously advised by Linklaters on its $2.5bn deal for the online video game Minecraft in 2014.