The Work

July 19, 2010 11:58 AM

Winston, Skadden Profit from Motorola Break-Up

Posted by Zach Lowe

Winston & Strawn and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom scored the lead roles on Motorola's move to sell most of its wireless equipment business to Nokia Siemens Networks, a major step in the company's decision to break itself up, according to lawyers who worked on the deal. 

Winston represented Motorola, a longtime firm client. The firm head office in Chicago is near Motorola's headquarters. Winston has represented Motorola on several recent deals, including its $3.9 billion acquisition of Symbol Technologies in 2006. Oscar David and Matthew Costigan, the two lead Winston partners on the deal, did not immediately return calls seeking comment. 

Skadden advised Nokia Siemens, a joint venture of the Finnish telecom giant Nokia and the German engineering powerhouse Siemens, according to lawyers who worked on the deal. The firm has advised Nokia Siemens before, including on its $650 million acquisition last year of Nortel's wireless assets. Michal Berkner, the lead Skadden partner on the deal, says the firm has been working on the matter since about April. The deal does not include a breakup fee in either direction, something that reflects the confidence both parties have in closing--confidence borne in part from the fact that Nokia won the bidding via auction, Berkner says. Skadden will handle antitrust work for Nokia going forward, and both parties are "confident" regulators will bless the deal without much trouble, Berkner says.

The deal comes as Carl Icahn, the activist shareholder, is leading a push to break up Motorola into distinct units and for the company to divest itself of some assets, according to The New York Times and Dow Jones. Nokia Siemens, meanwhile, is seeking to increase its share of the wireless market in the U.S. and Japan, Dow Jones reports.

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