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When Yahoo Inc., based in Silicon Valley, agreed recently to acquire San Diego’s Musicmatch for $160 million in a cutting-edge digital music deal, it sounded like the quintessential California deal — except that two of the three law firms involved are based in New York. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom guided Yahoo, headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, through the all-cash transaction. Weil, Gotshal & Manges, for its part, provided intellectual property guidance to Yahoo as part of the deal. Skadden, which has handled Yahoo’s acquisitions work for nearly five years, doesn’t usually share its deals, says Marc Packer, a Skadden partner based in Palo Alto, California. “Skadden has the capability of doing all the IP work,” says Packer. “Sometimes it comes up that another firm has already been involved,” which happened to be the case with the Musicmatch deal. “And some clients like to split up their work among various firms to keep people hungry.” Both Skadden and Weil, Gotshal have ties to Yahoo’s legal department. Weil, Gotshal counsel Yar Chaikovsky was Yahoo’s chief patent counsel from 1999 to 2001. As part of the Musicmatch acquisition, Chaikovsky and associate Adrian Percer conducted IP due diligence for Yahoo. In particular, the lawyers, located in the firm’s office in Redwood Shores, California, analyzed pending federal litigation filed against Yahoo by Gracenote, a music recognition technology company. Yahoo’s general counsel, Michael Callahan, worked at Skadden, Arps from 1995 to 1999. Lawyers at Los Angeles’ Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker represented Music�match in the deal with Yahoo. The company’s assets include Musicmatch Jukebox software, which allows consumers to play, burn, download and organize their digital music collections. Adrienne Sanders is a former reporter at The Recorder.

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