Cleary Gottlieb has a long history of advising telecommunications clients in precedent-setting transactions and industry-shifting matters.

Cleary has played a major role in the development of the industry from the 1980s and 90s, alongside the birth of the Internet to the current and far more diversified global landscape. With greater competition and greater regulatory scrutiny than ever before, and in broader markets, our international structure and cross-border experience provides telecommunications clients with actionable approaches to a variety of business and legal challenges:

  • Continually changing consumer habits, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The convergence or bundling of disparate communications, entertainment, and utility services in single, customizable packages
  • Competition from nontraditional telcos providing over-the-top services and content
  • Rollout of the 5G spectrum
  • Continuing industry consolidation
  • Cybersecurity and data privacy threats
  • Artificial intelligence

We have deep experience handling multinational and regional telecommunications transactions involving multiple jurisdictions with differing regulatory requirements, and lawyers from all of our corporate practice areas, as well as from the intellectual property, restructuring, and litigation groups, regularly advise industry clients.

We also advise issuers, governments, private sector companies, and underwriters on telecommunications system transactions, implementing appropriate regulatory structures, sales of equity to strategic partners, and global offerings.

Cleary’s antitrust lawyers represent telecommunications clients in global antitrust, regulatory and M&A matters.

Notable Experiences

  • American Tower in its $10.1 billion acquisition of CoreSite.

  • Verizon Communications in a bond sale with final aggregate value of $31 billion to finance its 5G Spectrum expansion, and in its $25 billion credit facility.

  • América Móvil in its $6.9 billion sale of its TracFone Wireless subsidiary to Verizon Communications Inc.

  • Telefónica in its £31.4 billion joint venture with Liberty Global, creating a new fixed-mobile provider in the UK.

  • T-Mobile US and Deutsche Telekom in T-Mobile US’s merger with Sprint Corporation for a total combined enterprise value of $146 billion, and in the federal court trial brought by a coalition of state attorneys.

  • Goldman, Sachs & Co., as financial advisor to DIRECTV, in its $48.5 billion merger with AT&T Inc.

  • The underwriters in a R$7.7 billion (approximately $3.4 billion) SEC-registered global offering of common and preferred shares (including in the form of ADSs) by Oi S.A.

  • American Tower in its $5 billion acquisition of various wireless communications towers from Verizon Communications.

  • MegaFon in the formation of a leading independent federal player in the Russian tower infrastructure market with Kismet Capital Group.

  • Google in the sale of Motorola Mobility’s mobile devices business to Lenovo Group Limited.

  • Infrastrutture Wireless Italiane (INWIT) and the selling shareholder Telecom Italia in INWIT’s €784 million IPO. 

  • PJSC MegaFon, a leading Russian telecommunications operator, in its $282 million acquisition of 49.9% interest in Glanbury Investments.

  • Rothschild Inc. as financial advisor to the Board of Directors of Level 3 Communications, Inc. in connection with its $5.68 billion acquisition of TW Telecom Inc.

  • SES Astra – a satellite platform operator – in securing a win in a long and complex legal dispute relating to the transition to digital television in Spain.

  • TIM in the Italian Competition Authority inquiry which acknowledged TIM’s compliance with an order to provide network access to competitors under non-discriminatory terms.

  • Deutsche Telekom in its appeal before the EU General Court regarding an EU Commission decision to fine Deutsche Telekom and its subsidiary Slovak Telekom for abusive conduct in the Slovak broadband markets in breach of Article 102.

  • Astound Broadband, a portfolio company of TPG Capital, and the sixth largest U.S. cable operator in its announced sale to Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners for $8.1 billion.

  • Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), the largest mobile phone operator in Russia and the CIS in its $1.3 billion acquisition of 51% of Comstar-UTS, a fixed line telephone and broadband operator in Russia.

  • TIM in the realization of several projects of access network separation, including the creation of Open Access and the outsourcing of provisioning and maintenance services, and in the related requests to the Italian regulator AgCom of revisions to the SMP remedies framework.

  • MegaFon in its $1.7 billion IPO listed in London and Moscow, the establishment of its $1.5 billion London-listed MTN program, and its $375 million London-listed Eurobond.

  • Andean Telecom Partners (ATP), in its inaugural $375 million debt offering and $60 million revolving credit facility.

  • Deutsche Telekom in several bond offerings in the aggregate amount of several billion U.S. dollars.

  • The underwriters in the second and third stages of BT‘s privatization in 1991 and 1993, for BT‘s shelf registrations from 2000 till 2019 and for BT‘s first U.S. dollar-denominated debt issuance in reliance on Rule 144A and Regulation S since deregistering its debt securities with the SEC earlier in 2019.

  • American Tower in several bond offerings in the aggregate amount of several billion U.S. dollars.

  • Telecom Argentina in its $96 million export credit facility with Finnish Export Credit.

  • Telmex in its $500 million Reg S/Rule 144A senior notes offering.

  • Verizon in its $1 billion green bond offering with minority-and women-owned firms as lead underwriters.

  • América Móvil in €2.1 billion exchangeable bonds.

  • An ad hoc group of bondholders in connection with the $20 billion restructuring of Brazilian telecommunications services provider Oi S.A.

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