Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, which took the lead earlier this month for SunEdison Inc. on the proposed bankruptcy sale of two key units, scored roles on two more notable transactions last week for computer chip giant Intel Corp. and publishing company Wenner Media LLC.
Kenton King, head of Skadden’s Silicon Valley office, took the lead to Santa Clara, California-based Intel on its proposed $15.3 billion acquisition of Israeli self-driving technology company Mobileye NV. The deal, announced on March 13, sees Intel look to maximize its investment in the fast-growing autonomous automotive sector by picking up Jerusalem-based Mobileye, a manufacturer of cameras and sensors for driverless vehicles that raised $400 million from several investors in 2013.
Morrison & Foerster, another Am Law 100 firm busy with technology-related transactions in recent weeks, is advising Mobileye on the deal through capital markets chair James Tanenbaum, M&A partners Enrico Granata and Anna Pinedo, of counsel Edward Welch and antitrust partners David Meyer and Tom McQuail. (Tanenbaum and Pinedo joined MoFo in a high-profile lateral move from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan in 2003.) MoFo, no stranger to the driverless technology sector, has previously handled corporate and securities work for Mobileye.
Liz Cohen-Yerushalmi serves as general counsel for Mobileye, whose sale to Intel is expected to close by year’s end. U.S. Senate filings show that Mobileye paid $160,000 to Greenberg Traurig—a firm with an office in Tel Aviv—last year to lobby for the company on federal legislation related to transportation and passenger safety.
Intel, whose general counsel is Steven Rodgers, estimates that the vehicle data and services market could be worth $70 billion by 2030. The company has previously turned to Skadden to advise on certain key matters. Former Latham & Watkins partner Reed Hundt and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr international trade chair Charlene Barshefsky—a former U.S. Trade Representative—serve as independent members of Intel’s board of directors. (Wilmer received $160,000 from Intel in 2016 to lobby on trade issues, according to Senate filings.)
Howard Ellin, a veteran M&A partner at Skadden and older brother of “Entourage” creator Doug Ellin, also led a team from the firm representing New York-based Wenner Media last week on its reported $100 million sale of celebrity gossip magazine Us Weekly to rival publishing house American Media Inc., owner of titles like the National Inquirer, Ok!, Soap Opera Digest and Star.
The deal, announced on March 15, sees AMI acquire a publication that was first created by The New York Times in 1977 and subsequently sold to Wenner Media, owner of magazines like Rolling Stone and Men’s Journal. Tronc Inc., the publishing giant formerly known as Tribune Publishing Co., also sought to buy Us Weekly until walking away from a potential deal earlier this month.
Skadden’s Ellin is leading a team from the firm advising Wenner Media on the Us Weekly sale that includes executive compensation and benefits partner Erica Schohn, labor and employment partner David Schwartz, banking partner Sarah Ward, antitrust partner Kenneth Schwartz and counsel Rita Sinkfield, tax of counsel David Schneider, real estate of counsel Benjamin Needell and IP and technology counsel M. Oren Epstein. Skadden also advised Wenner Media last year on its sale of a 49 percent stake in Rolling Stone to Singapore’s BandLab Technologies Ltd.
Mid-Atlantic regional firm Cole Schotz is representing Boca Raton, Florida-based AMI on its purchase of Us Weekly through corporate partners Alan Rubin, Christopher Kula and Roger Iorio, IP partner Arianna Frankl and corporate restructuring co-chair Michael Sirota. AMI’s general counsel is Eric Klee.
In other M&A news…
Vodafone Group plc / Idea Cellular Ltd.
In a deal valued at $23 billion, U.K. telecommunications giant Vodafone Group plc announced Monday the $12.6 billion merger of its Indian unit with Mumbai-based mobile network operator Idea Cellular, a transaction poised to create the largest cell phone network on the subcontinent. The landmark deal has yielded roles for more than a dozen outside firms, according to sibling publication Legal Week and Indian legal publication Legally India.
Legal Advisers: Slaughter and May, S&R Associates, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas and DMD Advocates for Vodafone; Vaish Associates, Bharucha & Partners and AZB & Partners for Idea Cellular
Saudi Arabian Oil Co. / Petroliam Nasional Berhad
Saudi Aramco, a longtime White & Case client that has tapped the firm to advise on a massive upcoming initial public offering, announced late last month its purchase of a $7 billion stake in a major refining and petrochemical project by Malaysian state-owned oil giant Petronas. The transaction is the largest investment by a Saudi company outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As part of the deal, the two state-owned oil giants also unveiled a $20 billion joint venture agreement to develop the energy project in Johor, a southern state in Malaysia.
Legal Advisers: White & Case for Saudi Aramco; Shearman & Sterling for Petronas
Vista Equity Partners LLC / DH Corp.
Vista Equity, a San Francisco-based private equity firm with close ties to Kirkland & Ellis, is using the firm for its proposed $3.6 billion buy of Canadian financial technology services provider DH Corp. The deal, the latest in the hot “fintech” sector, was announced on March 13 and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2017. Vista Equity is expected to combine Toronto-based DH Corp. with Misys, a portfolio company it acquired in 2012, to create a global business with 9,000 customers across 130 countries.
Legal Advisers: Kirkland and Goodmans for Vista Equity; Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Stikeman Elliott for DH Corp.
John Wood Group plc / Amec Foster Wheeler plc
On March 13, British oilfield services company John Wood announced it would acquire smaller U.K. rival Amec Foster Wheeler in a $2.73 billion all-stock deal, yielding roles for a pair of Magic Circle firms, as noted by Legal Week. Like others in the embattled energy industry, years of declining oil prices have oil services companies looking for ways to offset weak demand. The merger between John Wood and Amec Foster Wheeler is expected to close in the second half of 2017.
Legal Advisers: Slaughter and May for John Wood; Linklaters for Amec Foster Wheeler
American Securities LLC / Air Methods Corp.
Englewood, Colorado-based Air Methods, the largest air medical transport provider in the U.S., announced on March 14 its $2.5 billion sale, including debt, to New York-based private equity firm American Securities. Air Methods had been under pressure to sell itself from activist investor Voce Capital Management LLC. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of this year.
Legal Advisers: Weil, Gotshal & Manges for American Securities; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Holland & Hart for Air Methods; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher for Centerview Partners as financial adviser to Air Methods
KKR & Co. LP / Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec / USI Insurance Services
New York-based buyout behemoth KKR and Canadian pension giant CDPQ announced on St. Patrick’s Day their roughly $2 billion purchase of Valhalla, New York-based insurance broker USI Insurance Services from Toronto-based private equity firm Onex Corp. KKR and Quebec City-based CDPQ will each own about equal stakes in USI. The deal, worth some $4.3 billion when including USI debt, is the latest in a string of mergers in the insurance industry. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of this year.
Legal Advisers: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett for KKR; Paul Weiss for CDPQ; Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer for Onex
3M Co. / Scott Health & Safety Ltd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota-based 3M, a diversified manufacturer that owns products like Post-It and Scotch Tape, agreed on March 16 to pay $2 billion to buy Monroe, North Carolina-based Scott Safety, the safety gear unit of Cork, Ireland-based Johnson Controls International plc. The deal by 3M, which earlier this month concluded a longtime dispute with Covington & Burling, is expected to close in the second half of 2017. Scott Safety makes respiratory and protective equipment for firefighters, police, military and industrial workers and 3M plans to integrate the business with its own personal safety division.
Legal Advisers: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton for 3M; Simpson Thacher and Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider for Johnson Controls
Euronet Worldwide Inc. / MoneyGram International Inc.
Leawood, Kansas-based Euronet Worldwide made a $1 billion cash bid on March 14 to buy Dallas-based MoneyGram. The proposal could start a bidding war for the money transfer service target, which back in January received an $880 million takeover offer from Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd.’s Ant Financial Services Group, the digital payment arm of the Chinese e-commerce giant. A deal with Euronet would allow MoneyGram to sidestep a review by the Committee on Foreign Investments in the U.S., which in the past has been critical of U.S. investments by Chinese companies in this country. In response, Ant Financial is reportedly considering increasing its bid for MoneyGram.
Legal Advisers: Gibson Dunn for Euronet; Simpson Thacher for Ant Financial; Vinson & Ellis for MoneyGram