Cleary, DLA Piper and Sidley lead on T-Mobile’s $4.4bn buy of US Cellular’s wireless operations

Clifford Chance, Cravath and Washington DC boutique Wilkinson Barker Knauer also act in deal that will bring T-Mobile four million new customers

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, DLA Piper and Sidley Austin are leading on T-Mobile’s $4.4bn acquisition of regional carrier US Cellular’s wireless operations. 

Cleary and DLA Piper are advising T-Mobile on the deal, which will bring it more than four million new customers as well as US Cellular’s retail stores and 30% of its spectrum assets. 

Meantime Sidley is acting as lead legal advisor to US Cellular on the matter. Cravath Swaine & Moore has been called in to advise the company’s independent directors, while Clifford Chance and Washington DC boutique Wilkinson Barker Knauer, which bills itself as the US’s largest standalone communications and technology law firm, are advising US Cellular on regulatory matters. 

T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert said the deal would would “create a better experience for all of our customers with more coverage and more capacity”.

The Bellevue, Washington-based company will fund the deal through a combination of cash and up to $2bn of assumed debt.  

US Cellular will retain ownership of its roughly 4,400 telecom towers, its equity method investments and the remainder of its spectrum assets. The company said T-Mobile would become a long-term tenant on at least at least 2,600 of its towers as part of the deal. 

Cleary’s team is led by Bay Area M&A partner Chris Moore and associate Tim Saviola. Moore also advised T-Mobile on its $1.35bn deal to acquire budget wireless provider Mint Mobile, which was approved by the Federal Communications Commission in April. 

DLA Piper’s team, which is advising T-Mobile on the regulatory aspects of the deal, is being led by Washington DC partner duo Nancy Victory and Michael Senkowski, co-chair of the firm’s global telecom practice. A team led by Victory is also advising T-Mobile on the regulatory aspects of the Mint acquisition. 

Meantime the Sidley team acting for US Cellular was led by M&A partner John Kelsh, Scott Williams and Christopher Hale, all of whom are based in Chicago. 

The Cravath effort is led by partner G.J. Ligelis Jr. on M&A matters; partners Joseph Zavaglia and Douglas Dolan on financing matters; partner Ron Creamer on tax matters; partner Amanda Hines Gold on executive compensation and benefits matters; partner Sasha Rosenthal-Larrea on intellectual property matters; partner Matthew Morreale on environmental and real estate matters; and partner Michael Arnold on corporate governance matters. 

Meantime Sharis Pozen, Clifford Chance’s regional managing partner for the Americas, led the team advising US Cellular alongside counsel Michael Van Arsdall. Both are from the firm’s antitrust practice. 

The deal is expected to close in the middle of next year, pending regulatory approvals. 

Citigroup Global Markets is serving as lead financial advisor to US Cellular on the deal, while Centerview Partners is serving as financial advisor aloingside TD Securities (USA) and Wells Fargo. PJT Partners is serving as financial advisor to the independent directors of US Cellular. T-Mobile did not disclose its financial advisors. 

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