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March 26, 2008 4:10 PM

Wachtell to Orchestrate Motorola Breakup

Posted by Brian Baxter

Motorola will be leaning on longtime outside counsel Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz as it splits into two publicly traded companies. The mobile phone giant based in Schaumburg, Ill., announced today that it expects the transaction to take place sometime in 2009.

A spokesperson for Wachtell confirmed that corporate partners Patricia Vlahakis and Gregory Ostling and tax partner Deborah Paul are working on the matter for Motorola, the world’s third-largest cell phone manufacturer.

The two lawyers also are handling Motorola's much-publicized proxy battle with billionaire financier Carl Icahn.

As reported by MarketWatch, Icahn owns roughly 6 percent of the company’s stock, making him the second-largest Motorola shareholder. But the former junk bond king failed in his bid to join Motorola’s board last year. Since then the company’s stock price has plunged nearly 50 percent.

The statement issued by Motorola earlier today says, "the decision to separate our mobile devices and broadband and mobility solutions businesses follows a review process undertaken by our management team and board of directors." No mention of Icahn's suit is made in the statement. A Motorola spokesperson was unavailable to comment on the timing of the deal.

Icahn Partners, a hedge fund subsidiary of Icahn Enterprises, filed a civil suit March 24 in Delaware Chancery Court seeking access to records about Motorola’s cell phone business and executives.

Partners Donald Wolfe, Jr., and Matthew Fischer from Wilmington's Potter Anderson & Corroon are co-counsel with Wachtell on the Icahn suit.

Stephen Jenkins and Richard Heins at Wilmington's Ashby & Geddes are working with Icahn deputy general counsel Keith Schaitkin and assistant general counsel Yevgeny Fundler and Nancy Axilrod on the Delaware matter.

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