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As a partner with Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison’s Silicon Valley office, Curtis Mo traveled to China with plans of launching an office there. As Brobeck fell apart, Mo went to work for Weil, Gotshal & Manges, which launched a Shanghai office in July. Then last month, Weil, Gotshal scored a pair of deals reflecting China’s growing importance in the global marketplace. Weil guided phone software company China MobileSoft Ltd. as it was acquired by PalmSource Inc. for $22 million in stock. At the same time, the firm navigated Chinese client Lenovo Group Ltd. through a $1.25 billion acquisition of IBM’s PC business. The deals were announced by the parent companies on the same day. For Mo, who worked on the MobileSoft business from the firm’s Redwood Shores office, the double deals demonstrated the importance of having a home base abroad. While considering strategic alternatives for MobileSoft, Mo tapped into the resources of Weil, Gotshal associate Anthony Wang, who was working on the Lenovo deal from the Shanghai office. “While people can get things done by e-mail or phone, there is just no substitute for working in person with someone in their own language,” said Mo. The deals were opposites in many ways. The Lenovo deal, which represented the largest overseas acquisition by a Chinese company, gave the firm a chance to make its mark on the world stage by means of a Western brand. By contrast, PalmSource’s purchase of China MobileSoft facilitated the Sunnyvale-based company’s expansion of R&D, sales and marketing resources in China — as well as broadening PalmSource’s product portfolio to such offerings as a Linux-based version of Palm OS. As with other China deals, the transaction was truly international, including counsel from Chinese firms as well as lawyers in Bermuda. Old ties helped the deal work smoothly. Representing PalmSource was Deborah Marshall, a partner with Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin, and previously managing partner of Cooley Godward’s Palo Alto office. Mo knew her from his days as the head of Brobeck’s corporate practice in Silicon Valley. “We’ve always had a good relationship,” said Mo. “It makes a big difference when you are working with lots of issues –cultural barriers, language barriers, time difference.” Also representing China MobileSoft from Weil, Gotshal were partners Richard Millard and Karen Ballack, as well as associate Andrew Nelson. Representing PalmSource from Howard, Rice were partners Richard Canady, Joseph Hershenson, Teresa Johnson, Carole Barrett, Karen Frank, Thomas Reicher, Jennifer Blackman and Gary Kaplan, and associates Edward Deibert, Celia Van Gorder, Maurine Murtagh, Julia Vax, Erin Furman, Jith Meganathan, Stephen Fronk and William Needle. Steven Xiang in Shanghai led the Lenovo deal for Weil, Gotshal. Also representing Lenovo was Clifford Chance. On IBM’s side were attorneys from Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Herbert Smith. — Marie-Anne Hogarth EBAY ADDING ON Cooley Godward M&A lawyers didn’t have a chance to catch their breath last year, hammering out some 70 deals. One client in particular kept them hopping: eBay Inc. Cooley handled five deals for the company in 2004, most recently overseeing eBay’s $415 million purchase of Rent.com. The Santa Monica-based online company hooks up renters with apartment owners and managers, listing millions of available apartments around the country on its Web site. “It’s the latest in a number of successful Internet companies that have weathered the storm of the bubble bursting,” said David Hernand, a partner in Latham & Watkins’ Los Angeles office who represented Rent.com in the transaction. Companies like Rent.com have done well because “they grew up in the most difficult days and had to focus on business models that were profitable.” Rent.com was launched in 2001. According to eBay’s press release on the deal, privately held Rent.com expects 2004 revenues of more than $40 million. Under the terms of the deal, eBay will pay approximately $385 million in stock and $30 million in cash. The online auctioneer has been on a spending spree, snatching up companies in the classifieds market. In November, it acquired Marktplaats.nl, the leading classifieds Web site in the Netherlands, for about $290 million. Earlier in the year, eBay spent $50 million for Baazee.com, India’s biggest online marketplace, and another $152 million for Germany-based mobile.de, which sells cars through online classified advertisements. EBay also acquired a 25 percent stake in Craigslist.com, which features classified listings for jobs, housing, goods and services and community forums. Cooley partner Keith Flaum, who was at the helm on these past deals, also led the team handling the Rent.com acquisition. His team included tax and employee benefits partner Robert “Buff” Miller, real estate special counsel Susan Mullen and associates Jane Ross, Kathryn Walker Hall, Brian Quinn, Charles Schwab, Satya Narayan, Jason Sito, Mark Bradford, Julie Lanz and Sanjay Beri. EBay’s in-house group working on the deal included General Counsel Michael Jacobson, Associate General Counsel Brian Levey, counsel Nathan Linn and real estate lawyer Gregory Zemanick. In addition to Hernand, the Latham team counseling Rent.com included tax partner Laurence Stein, employee benefits partner David Taub and associates Rodrigo Vazquez, Daniel Freed, Thomas Halpern and David Calder. — Brenda Sandburg

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