Weil Tunes In for SiriusXM on Liberty Takeover Bid
UPDATE: 1/27/14, 9:45 a.m. EST. The names of the lead lawyers from Weil advising SiriusXM have been added to the second paragraph of this story.
SiriusXM Radio has retained Weil, Gotshal & Manges to advise a special committee of its board of directors on a $10 billion takeover bid announced earlier this month by cable giant John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp., which is being advised on the offer by Baker Botts.
Weil M&A cochair Frederick Green, senior securities litigation partner Gregory Danilow, private equity cohead Michael Lubowitz and associates Evert Christensen, Mariel Cruz, Dov Kogen and Frank Martire are working on the matter for SiriusXM.
In reporting on the unsolicited Liberty offer earlier this month, The Am Law Daily noted Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s long-standing role as outside counsel to New York–based SiriusXM on a variety of matters, including the $13 billion stock-for-stock merger that created the satellite radio giant in 2008. Simpson corporate partner Peter Martelli is advising the company on the bid by Malone's Liberty Media.
SiriusXM general counsel Patrick Donnelly, a former Simpson associate who signed off on an SEC filing announcing Weil's hire, did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the company’s decision to retain the latter firm as counsel to its board, nor did former Willkie Farr & Gallagher associate and current SiriusXM chief administrative officer Dara Altman.
Weil has handled work for SiriusXM in the past. Sibling publication the Daily Business Review reported last year on the firm’s role representing the company in litigation involving members of the 1960s pop band The Turtles.
The SiriusXM assignment is the latest major media-related M&A engagement for Weil, which also advised Verizon Communications last week on its acquisition of an Internet-based television start-up from Intel Corp. While terms of that deal were not disclosed, Bloomberg reported that the purchase price was less than $200 million.
Weil's Green, technology and IP transactions partner Jeffrey Osterman, employee benefits head Paul Wessel and tax partner Marc Silberberg are advising Verizon on its acquisition from Intel. (Wessel joined Weil last year in a high-profile lateral move from Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, according to our previous reports.)
In another significant media transaction announced late Friday, media magnate Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox said it would acquire a controlling stake in the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network. As The Am Law Daily reported in late 2012, Weil advised longtime private equity firm Providence Equity Partners on the sale of its 49 percent stake in YES to Murdoch's News Corp., a deal that valued YES at $3 billion.