Lawyers Behind AT&T, Time Warner Deal Know Media Mergers

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By Andrea Vittorio

Oct. 24 — AT&T Inc.’s $85.4 billion bid to buy Time Warner Inc. is being shepherded by teams of lawyers whose track record includes several mega media mergers—and one “misstep.”

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is advising AT&T, the No. 2 mobile operator in the U.S. in terms of revenue, on the deal. Partners Joseph Frumkin, based in New York, and Eric Krautheimer, in Los Angeles, worked with AT&T on its $67 billion acquisition of DirecTV last year and its $86 billion acquisition of BellSouth in 2006.

AOL Merger

Time Warner is relying on a team from Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP led by soon-to-be presiding partner Faiza Saeed and partner Eric Schiele, both in New York. Cravath worked with the media company before on its recent investment in Hulu and its failed merger with America Online Inc. more than a decade ago.

“Time Warner has been through many combinations, many historic,” Jeff Bewkes, Time Warner Inc.'s chairman and chief executive officer, said on an Oct. 22 conference call. “The first one Time and Warner, and then we added Turner, and then we did have a misstep of course with AOL.”

After the dot-com bubble burst, AOL saw a dramatic decline in value and became less relevant over time. The business was later spun off and has since been acquired by Verizon.

“We feel very positive about this,” Bewkes said of the AT&T deal.

Saeed and Schiele also advised on DreamWorks Animation LLC's sale to Comcast Corp. (172 CARE, 9/6/16) and Yahoo! Inc.’s pending sale to Verizon Communications Inc. (202 CARE, 10/19/16).

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Vittorio in Washington at avittorio@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Yin Wilczek at ywilczek@bna.com

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