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Deutsche TelekomFreshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was called in by Liberty Media to work alongside its long-standing adviser Denton Wilde Sapte on its proposed acquisition of six German cable television companies for an estimated £3.5bn.Deutsche Telekom, advised by Hengeler Mueller Weitzel Wirtz, is selling off the cable companies, in order to pay off some of the debt – estimated at £37bn – that the company has incurred from its acquisition of 3G mobile phone licences.The deal, one of the largest this year, evolved from an earlier deal between the two companies in which Liberty agreed to buy a 55% stake in the companies for about £1.8bn after teaming up with financier Gary Klesch, advised by Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. Freshfields and Dentons have since been advising on a range of finance, governance and regulatory issues including antitrust in Europe and the US.Liberty brought in Freshfields – as opposed to Dentons’ allied firm Heuking Kuhn Luer Wojtek – for its highly-rated German corporate capability. Frankfurt-based partner Burkhard Bastuck is leading the Freshfields team. Dentons, Liberty’s principal corporate adviser in the UK, is advising the company on EU competition law led by partner Suyong Kim. Baker & Botts is advising Liberty on US law. It is understood that Dentons’ UK relationship with Liberty Media will not be threatened by Freshfields’ involvement. Freshfields advises Telewest, in which Liberty is a 50% shareholder, barring a wider Liberty role for Freshfields on conflict grounds. The acquisitions will give Liberty entry into the profitable German broadband market – the second most active after the US. Broadband refers to the delivery of high frequency data through cables. In June Liberty, a subsidiary of AT&T, created a joint venture with IDT, which sells telephone calling cards and long distance services offering telephone service over broadband cable networks.Liberty has stakes in about 100 cable channels, including the Discovery Channel, QVC and USA Networks.

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