The Work

September 10, 2009 1:43 PM

Clifford Chance Advises Vivendi on $2.9B Brazil Offer

Posted by Zach Lowe

Clifford Chance is advising French media conglomerate Vivendi on its surprise offer to buy Brazilian telecom company GVT Holding SA for $2.9 billion.

Vivendi, which owns Universal Music Group and the video game company Activision Blizzard, plans to finance the deal with existing credit facilities it set aside for acquisitions, according to Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal. Marcus Billam, who is leading the Clifford Chance team from the firm's Paris office, did not immediately return calls for comment.

The offer may create even more activity for M&A lawyers, since Vivendi's offer brings an unexpected competitor into the Brazilian market, and may spur one of GVT's two main competitors in the country (Spain's Telefonica and Mexico's Telmex) to make a competing bid. GVT's two largest stockholders have given their preliminary approval to the Vivendi offer.

Clifford Chance has done previous work for Vivendi, including a joint venture with Spanish construction company FCC in 2000 to develop water and waste companies in Spain and Latin America.

In the past, Vivendi has used Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner Ruth Fisher on large transactions, including its acquisition of Activision in 2007 and the sale of a majority stake in a Vivendi unit to General Electric Co. in 2003. Fisher says Gibson Dunn is not working on the GVT deal but that Vivendi remains a client. Weil, Gotshal & Manges has also done occasional M&A work for Vivendi.

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