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Merger Mash D.C. firms have been buzzing with corporate work recently in the face of a flurry of mergers and other deal activity on Wall Street. Some highlights: President George W. Bush last week signed off on Paris-based Alcatel’s proposed $11.8 billion merger with Murray Hill, N.J.-based Lucent Technologies Inc., accepting the recommendations of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and removing the last regulatory hurdle to the deal. Ivan Schlager, a D.C.-based partner with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, the firm representing Alcatel in the merger, shepherded the company through the CFIUS process. A national security review was required because of the classified research work Lucent’s Bell Labs division does for the U.S. government, says Schlager, who worked with Chicago-based partner Warren Lavey and D.C.-based associate John Beahn on the deal. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz represented Lucent in the merger, and WilmerHale’s Jamie Gorelick, Steven Preston, Reginald Brown, and Lynn Charytan advised Lucent on the CFIUS process. The companies, which agreed to the terms of the merger in April, expect to close the deal by Nov. 30. * * * * * *

D.C. managing partners often spend a lot of time preaching about cross-marketing legal services without ever seeing the fruits of their labor materialize. But that wasn’t the case in Covington & Burling’s latest deal. The firm, which advised Portland, Ore.-based Oregon Steel Mills in its agreement to be bought by Russia-based Evraz Group for $2.3 billion, paired lawyers from its New York mergers and acquisitions practice with its D.C. regulatory counterparts. Covington’s New York corporate partner J.D. Weinberg led the steel-mill team with D.C. partner Michael Francese in employment benefits, and regulatory partners David Marchick, Peter Flanagan, and Linda Morgan assisted on the deal. Covington D.C. tax partner George Chester Jr. and environmental partner Corinne Goldstein also worked the deal. “There are lots of deals that are generated in the corporate department in D.C.,” says Weinberg. “When deals are generated in New York, typically we reach out to regulatory lawyers in Washington.” Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton New York partners William Groll and Neil Whoriskey worked this acquisition, the largest ever by a Russian company in the United States, for Evraz Group. Cleary Gottlieb’s D.C. office also assisted on the regulatory side of the deal with partners Mark Leddy, David Gelfand, Paul Marquardt, and counsel W. Richard Bidstrup. Washington associate Jeremy Calsyn was the point person on the antitrust analysis for Cleary Gottlieb.

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Dow Lohnes’ D.C. office represented a private equity consortium, led by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital, in its winning $26.7 billion bid for radio giant Clear Channel Communications Inc., which owns more than 1,000 radio stations across the country. The private equity group will acquire Clear Channel for $18.7 billion plus the assumption of approximately $8 billion of the company’s debt, making it one of the largest leveraged buyouts in history. The Dow Lohnes team included partners Leonard Baxt, John Feore, John Byrnes, John Logan, Michael Basile, and Raymond Bender and associate Robert Folliard. The deal remains subject to regulatory and shareholder consents. Baxt says the firm’s principal role was advising the consortium on securing approval for the deal from the Federal Communications Commission; approval could take another 8-12 months. Boston-based Ropes & Gray, longtime counsel to Thomas H. Lee Partners, also advised the consortium. Meanwhile, Texas-based Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld advised Clear Channel in the deal. Akin Gump’s multioffice team included two D.C.-based partners, Tom Davidson and Paul Hewitt.

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Glenn Gerstell, the managing partner of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy’s D.C. office, led a five-lawyer team from the firm’s New York and D.C. offices in closing a $210 million financing deal for satellite-services provider ProtoStar Ltd. ProtoStar will use the funds to launch and operate a satellite network that will lease capacity to Asian direct-to-home satellite-television providers. Gerstell, who is the head of the firm’s global communications practice, says 85 percent to 90 percent of his telecom work is for companies in emerging markets such as Mexico, Brazil, India, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, and China. Gerstell’s group recently closed a $500 refinancing for Global Village Telecom, a telecommunications company in southern Brazil, and has represented the Export-Import Bank of the United States and Export Development Canada in a $750 million financing for Reliance Communications of India.


Mass Exit The D.C. office of Vinson & Elkins snagged Willkie Farr & Gallagher’s entire 19-person international trade law group, led by partner William Barringer. The group includes four other partners, one counsel, eight associates and five trade analysts. Houston-based Vinson & Elkins had been in the market for an international trade group to service its growing Asian practice for a while. The firm, which already had outposts in Beijing and Tokyo, opened its doors in Shanghai last year and in Hong Kong this September. Moreover, one of the heads of V&E’s Beijing office, Xiao Yong, is a former official in China’s Ministry of Foreign Economic Trade and Cooperation, Barringer notes. The group, which made the move to V&E earlier this month, focuses on defending foreign corporations in trade-remedy disputes and was on the lookout for a firm with a platform in Asia — as about 50 percent of its work involves that region — and China in particular, Barringer says. It looks like the relationship has already borne fruit: The firm is representing China in the first-ever countervailing-duty case — on coated paper products — filed against it in the United States.
Keeping Score is Legal Times ‘ weekly column devoted to the legal business scene. Got a tip for Alexia or Anna? Contact them at [email protected] or [email protected].

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