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The Lawyers Behind AT&T’s Time Warner Offer

Oct. 24, 2016, 4:00 AM

The early word on AT&T’s proposed $84.5 billion offer for Time Warner Inc. is that it will likely face antitrust scrutiny, given the colossal nature of the transaction in the media and telecommunications space.

So far, two law firms have scored major roles in the deal: Sullivan & Cromwell is advising AT&T and Cravath Swaine & Moore is advising Time Warner Inc on the deal, according to a prospectus.

It lists Sullivan & Cromwell partners Joseph B. Frumkin, in New York, and Eric M. Krautheimer, in Los Angeles, as the point people for AT&T while Cravath’s recently elected chair, Faiza J. Saeed, and Eric L. Schiele are listed as points of contacted for Time Warner.

According to Legal Week, Cravath’s relationship with Time Warner stretches back nearly a century:

Former Cravath presiding partner Maurice ‘Tex’ Moore, who died 30 years ago, first took on the company as a client as a favour to his brother-in-law, future magazine magnate Henry Luce, the founder of Time and Fortune.

Former Cravath partner Robert Joffe, who died in 2010, helped create the current iteration of Time Warner by advising what was Time Inc on its $15.2bn merger in 1989 with Warner Communications. In 1996, Cravath represented Time Warner on its $7.5bn merger with Turner Broadcasting System, and four years later, Cravath took the lead for Time Warner on its ill-fated $182bn union with AOL. Cravath famously received a $35m (£29m) success fee from Time Warner for its work on the AOL merger, which the firm ultimately helped dissolve in 2009.

Neither company’s general counsel comes from any of those firms though: AT&T’s general counsel David McAtee is a former Haynes and Boone partner, and Time Warner’s general counsel Paul Cappuccio is a former Kirkland & Ellis partner.

Both were among a core group of eight people who have known about the deal for more than two months, according to Bloomberg.

Gabe Friedman is a former writer and editor for Big Law Business.

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