Four firms guide biggest telecom deal in two years

April 22, 2010 Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, and Jones Walker have taken key roles on the $10.6 billion all-stock deal under which Qwest Communications agreed to be acquired by CenturyTel Inc.

Including the assumption of $11.8 billion in Qwest debt, the deal reflects an enterprise value of $22.4 billion.

At the conclusion of the deal CenturyTel will hold 50.5 per cent of stock in the merged company, and Qwest will hold 49.5 per cent. The two companies anticipate annual cost savings of $575 million through synergies.

Qwest called upon teams from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr to advise on the deal. Skadden is handling the M&A matters with a team led by partner Charles Mulaney, Jr. and including corporate partner Susan Hassan, tax partner Louis Freeman and executive compensation and benefits partner Joseph Yaffe.

Wilmer is providing antitrust and regulatory advice with two teams of lawyers. James Lowe led the antitrust team, assisted by William Kolasky and counsel Jeffrey Ayer and Reudiger Schuett. The federal regulatory team is led by Lynn Charytan and Samir Jain, assisted by Jonathan Nuechterlein and counsel Heather Zachary.

CenturyTel is advised by Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and New Orleans firm Jones Walker. The Wachtel team is led by Eric Robinson alongside David Shapiro. The team also includes Jodi Schwartz for tax advice, Michael Segal for employee benefits, Ilene Gotts for antitrust counsel, and Eric Rosof for financing issues.

Kenneth Najder led the Jones Walker team.

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