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The rush to cut the wires connecting us to the Internet sure has David Michaels of Palo Alto, Calif.-based Fenwick & West tied to the office lately. Heavyweight client Flextronics International Ltd., a Singapore-based electronics parts maker, is bulking up its manufacturing capacity — globally and technically. Flextronics, like other contract manufacturers, is at the cusp of what’s being hailed as The Next Big Thing — wireless Internet access. It’s one of a handful of companies hired to manufacture the cutting-edge gadgets and networks needed for an unwired world. “Certainly a big factor in their growth is the next generation of communications infrastructure,” Michaels says. Lately, Flextronics, whose executive team is in San Jose, Calif., and a similar operation nearby, Sanmina Corp., have been gobbling up other companies, using cash raised in exotic financings. That’s created a lot of work for the likes of Michaels and Fenwick’s mergers and acquisitions team, as well as Sanmina’s lawyers at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, also based in Palo Alto. And the rush to unplug is likely to extend beyond a few mammoth parts makers. Many younger companies — making everything from antennas to transmitting stations — are scoring venture capital and are poised to be the next wave of initial public offerings. Sitting on Steven Bochner’s desk at Wilson Sonsini one day last week were documents for some nine late-stage financings for companies plugging into the wireless industry. “These are the IPOs of the next few quarters,” Bochner says. Bochner has certainly seen this kind of thing before in the e-commerce and business-to-business sectors. As they enjoyed their moments in the sun, both spawned complementary businesses — and the same is happening with wireless. “I’m bullish because I think of the whole build-out of the wireless Internet as the infrastructure, the content, the handsets, the voice portals, and all the various devices necessary so people can take a hand-held unit and have instant access to all the information on the Internet,” Bochner gushes. And if contract manufacturers like Flextronics are any indication of what’s coming, tech lawyers will be busy indeed. In the past three months, Flextronics bought five other companies — located in the United States, China and Europe. It also recently went to the public markets to raise money by selling more stock and issuing debt. And the company has inked a key deal to supply up to $32 billion in equipment to Motorola Inc. That’s added up to a busy summer for Michaels, who on Aug. 31 wrapped four acquisitions for Flextronics and then launched a new one three days later. The company, in fact, has become one of Fenwick’s biggest clients. And a lot of this activity was happening as Wall Street was returning from its annual late-August hiatus when few, if any, deals traditionally get done. Meanwhile, Sanmina Corp. has kept its lawyers at Wilson Sonsini busy this summer with acquisitions and financings. Most recently, Sanmina staged a $750 million convertible debt offering that was shopped to investors over the course of a single trading day. Such deals, called intra-day deals, aren’t done often because stock prices are a moving target during the trading day. Company executives risk seeing their stock prices get hammered just as they’re pricing the debt. But Sanmina’s maturity and the anticipated growth in demand for its manufacturing capacity prompted bankers to go ahead with the deal. For John Fore, who leads Wilson’s debt financing group, the deal was just one of several that the firm staged for infrastructure or manufacturing companies over the summer. And Fore is seeing an uptick in activity on the IPO front as well because companies in sectors like semiconductors are starting to position themselves for the market. After an end-of-summer dry spell in the IPO market, Silicon Valley lawyers with a hand in the wireless industry won’t have long to wait for the next deal spurt. “There’s a lineup of IPOs in the pipe,” Fore says.

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