Greenberg, Paul Weiss, Wachtell, Crowell: Business of Law

SBA Communications Corp. agreed to buy 3,252 towers from TowerCo for $1.45 billion, its second acquisition of wireless-network antennas this year as mobile device carriers try to woo subscribers with faster connections.

Greenberg Traurig LLP provided legal counsel for SBA while Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP acted as legal adviser to TowerCo.

The Greenberg team was led by Kara MacCullough, a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, mergers and acquisitions and corporate partner. Corporate partners Jennifer Westerlund and Kelly Terribile assisted along with tax partner Harry Friedman; labor and employment partner Todd Wozniak and employee benefits partner Mindy Leathe.

Paul Weiss corporate partner Bruce Gutenplan and real estate partner Mitchell Berg worked on the deal.

SBA will pay $1.2 billion in cash and 4.6 million shares for towers in 47 U.S. states and Puerto Rico, the companies said yesterday in a statement. The transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter and the assets will produce as much as $95 million in tower cash flow in 2013 for SBA.

The deal is Boca Raton, Florida-based SBA’s largest in at least 13 years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.


Greenhill Hires Wachtell’s Gavin Solotar as General Counsel

Gavin Solotar, a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, was hired as general counsel at Greenhill & Co., the advisory firm founded by Robert Greenhill.

Solotar, 48, who will be a managing director in New York, was a partner focused on mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and securities law at Wachtell Lipton, New York-based Greenhill said yesterday in a statement. Solotar, who was at Wachtell Lipton for 20 years, also will help develop client relationships and advise on deals, according to the statement.

The investment bank is adding managing directors amid what Chief Executive Officer Scott Bok, 53, has called a surge in recruiting opportunities.

Solotar, who will begin work after Labor Day, “has a broad range of relationships, both in the corporate world and the legal community, as well as deep experience in structuring and negotiating complex transactions,” Bok said in the statement.

Solotar advised America Movil SAB, the wireless carrier controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, on an agreement to boost its stake in Telekom Austria AG, as well as Lazard Ltd.’s reorganization and 2005 initial public offering, Jeffrey Taufield, a Greenhill spokesman, said in an e-mail.

Crowell Hires Sommer to Chair Public Policy Group in Washington

Judah C. “Jud” Sommer, who most recently served as senior vice president of government affairs for UnitedHealth Group, joins Crowell & Moring LLP as senior counsel, where he will be chairman of the firm’s public policy group.

Sommer has more than four decades of senior public policy experience on Capitol Hill and in the private sector. At Crowell & Moring, he will counsel clients on public policy matters with a particular focus on financial services, health care, environment, energy and general business issues.

Before working at UnitedHealth Group, Sommer was managing director of Goldman Sachs & Co., where he created, oversaw, and led the corporate government affairs functions for the organization, the firm said. He was also formerly a partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan.

“Jud’s substantial experience enables him to provide clients a unique understanding of how to navigate the full range of policy challenges in the rulemaking and legislative processes on both sides of the aisle,” said Ellen M. Dwyer, managing partner of Crowell & Moring.

Crowell & Moring has about 500 lawyers with offices in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, London, Brussels and Anchorage, Alaska.

Winston & Strawn Hires Transactional Team in Shanghai

Winston & Strawn LLP said Brinton M. Scott joined its Shanghai office as a partner along with two associates. They were previously at Clyde & Co., the firm said.

Scott will focus on corporate, intellectual property and employment law matters, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and foreign direct investments.

Scott, who is fluent in Mandarin, has worked in China for almost 16 years. He has experience advising corporations on acquisitions, buyouts, greenfields and foreign direct investment.

“We are delighted to have this experienced transactional team led by such a prominent practitioner as Brinton join us,” David Hall-Jones, managing partner of the firm’s Asian offices, said in a statement.

“Brinton, Jerry and Sabrina bring outstanding capabilities that perfectly complement Winston’s preeminent corporate practices and its maturing Asian footprint.”

Winston & Strawn has almosdt 1,000 lawyers at 15 offices in North America, Asia and Europe.

King & Spalding Hires New York Partners in Disputes Practice

King & Spalding LLP expanded its global disputes practice by adding partners Henry G. “Harry” Burnett and James E. Berger in its New York office.

Burnett joins from Crowell & Moring LLP, where he was head of the international dispute resolution group and Latin America practice, King & Spalding said. His practice covers international arbitration, as well as business litigation in federal and state courts.

Berger joins from Paul Hastings LLP, where he served as counsel in the litigation department, focusing on complex cross-border litigation, including enforcement proceedings and court actions in international arbitration.

Edward G. Kehoe, co-head of King & Spalding’s international arbitration practice, said in a statement that the two hires “follow six other top global disputes partners that the firm has added over approximately the past two years.”

King & Spalding has about 800 lawyers in 17 offices in the U.S., Europe, Middle East and Asia.

Firm News

Seyfarth Shaw Establishes New Fraud & Abuse, False Claims Team

Seyfarth Shaw LLP started a fraud and abuse, false claims and internal investigations team to provide clients with advice on fraud and abuse, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and False Claims Act investigations, and litigation.

The team, led by Frank Burke and Don Featherstun, comprises 35 attorneys who will represent clients such as health-care and government contractors that face audits, investigations and litigation, the firm said in a statement. They have regulatory analysis, false claims, white collar crime, corporate internal investigations and trials experience.

“By leveraging our decades of experience successfully defending clients in these types of complex civil and criminal proceedings, our team is uniquely positioned to serve clients,” Featherstun said in a statement.

Seyfarth Shaw has more than 800 attorneys in 10 offices throughout the U.S., as well as in London.


Vivendi to Appeal $956 Million Verdict to Liberty Media

Vivendi SA said it will appeal a $956 million verdict in a lawsuit over its 2001 purchase from Liberty Media Corp. of its stake in USA Networks Inc.

A jury in Manhattan federal court agreed June 25 with Liberty Media’s claim, filed in 2003, that Paris-based Vivendi misled it about a liquidity crisis at the company, artificially inflating the value of its shares, which it used to make the purchase. The verdict is the largest in the U.S. this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“The damage award is very gratifying,” said R. Stan Mortenson, a Baker Botts LLP lawyer representing Liberty Media. “More importantly, Vivendi was told that it had done wrong.”

In December 2001, Vivendi agreed to buy the entertainment business of Barry Diller’s USA Networks for $10.3 billion. As part of the transaction, Englewood, Colorado-based Liberty Media received 37.6 million Vivendi shares for its stake in USA Networks and a European television production company.

The jury of 12 delivered its verdict, in a trial that began May 29, after two partial days of deliberations, according to Mortenson. The verdict was denominated in euros, Mortenson said. Jurors found Vivendi liable for fraud and breach of contract, Liberty Media said in a statement.

Vivendi, the owner of the world’s largest music and video-game companies as well as telecommunications assets, said in a statement June 25 that it will appeal the verdict.

“Although Liberty expects the defendants to ask the court to set aside the verdict during this process, Liberty is confident that the court will deny that request and that the jury’s decision will stand,” the U.S. company said.

“Vivendi believes that there are many grounds for appeal and continues to believe strongly that it did nothing wrong and will continue to vigorously defend itself in any subsequent appellant proceedings,” the French company said.

Liberty Media intends to seek prejudgment interest, which could almost double the award, according to Mortenson. Liberty Media owns stakes in businesses ranging from cable programmer Starz Media LLC to the Atlanta Braves baseball team.

The case is Liberty Media Corp. v. Vivendi Universal SA, 03-cv-02175, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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