TMT M&A AWARDS 2020 SHORTLISTS

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Digital Infrastructure Deal of the Year - EMEA

Altice Portugal FTTH (Portugal)
Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners' acquisition 49.99% stake in Altice Portugal FTTH from Altice Europe for E2.3bn.

Financial advisers: Perella Weinberg Partners (Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners); Lazard (Altice Europe).

Deutsche Glasfaser (Germany)
EQT Infrastructure and OMERS' acquisition of Deutsche Glasfaser from KKR for E2.8bn.

Financial advisers: Morgan Stanley (KKR); Credit Suisse, JP Morgan (EQT Infrastructure, OMERS).

Legal advisers: Clifford Chance (KKR), Eversheds Sutherland (Deutsche Glasfaser management), Latham & Watkins (EQT, OMERS),

Eaton Towers (Various)
American Tower Corporation's acquisition of Eaton Towers from DPI, Capital Group, Ethos and Standard Chartered Private Equity for US$1.85bn.

Financial advisers: Intrepid Advisory Partners (DPI, Capital Group, Ethos and Standard Chartered Private Equity).

Legal advisers: Linklaters, Slaugther and May, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison (ATC), Debevoise & Plimpton, Allen & Overy (Eaton Towers).

InterXion (Netherlands)
Digital Realty's acquisition of InterXion from InterXion shareholders for US$8.4bn.

Financial advisers: Bank of America, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley (Digital Realty); Guggenheim Securities (InterXion).

Legal advisors: Greenberg Traurig, Debevoise & Plimpton, Moelis & Company (InterXion), Homburger (Digital Reality), Latham & Watkins, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek (Digital Reality).

INWIT (Italy)
Vodafone and Telecom Italia Group's (TIM) E10.4bn-valued merger of their Italian towers into INWIT for E2.1bn.

Financial advisers: Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Mediobanca (Telecom Italia) and UBS (Vodacom).

Legal advisors: Pedersoli Studio Legale (INWIT), Gianni, Origoni, Grippo, Cappelli & Partners (TIM), NCTM Studio Legale (Vodafone).

Digital Infrastructure Deal of the Year - Americas

Entel tower assets (Chile, Peru)
American Tower Corporation's acquisition of Entel's tower assets in Chile and Peru for US$772m.

Financial adviser: Citi, Santander (Entel).

Legal advisers: DLA Piper (ATC), Estudio Rodrigo, Elias Medrano and Claro & Cía (Entel).

Frontier Communications' Northwest assets (Ziply Fiber) (USA)
Searchlight Capital Partners, in partnership with WaveDivision Capital, Public Sector Pension Investment Board, British Columbia Investment Management Corporation and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, acquires Frontier Communications' assets in US states for US$1.352bn.

Financial advisers: Evercore (Frontier Communications); Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank (Searchlight Capital Partners, WaveDivision Capital, among others).

Legal advisers: Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison (WaveDivision Capital & Searchlight Capital Partners), Cravath, Swaine & Moore (Frontier Communications).

Netrality Data Centers (USA)
Macquarie Infrastructure Partner & Netrality Management's acquisition of Netrality Data Centers from funds managed by Abrams Capital Management for US$1bn.

Financial adviser: Goldman Sachs (Macquarie Infrastructure Partner & Netrality Management).

Legal adviser: White & Case (MIP), Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP and Kurtz & Revness (Netrality Management), Sullivan & Cromwell (Abrams Capital Management).

Xplornet Communications (Canada)
Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners' acquisition of Xplornet Communications from Catalyst Investors, Sandler Capital Management and Werklund Family Office for US$2bn.

Financial advisers: Evercore, BMO Markets (Xplornet).

Legal advisers: Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg (Xplornet), Goodmans (Xplornet Management), Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Blake, Cassels & Graydon (Stonepeak).

Zayo Group (USA)
Digital Colony and EQT Infrastructure's take-private of Zayo Group for US$14.3bn.

Financial advisers: Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan (Zayo); Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley (EQT, Digital Colony).

Legal advisers: Skadden Arps (Zayo), Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius (EQT/Digital Colony).

Digital Infrastructure Deal of the Year - Asia

AirTrunk (Australia)
Macquarie Infrastructure & Real Assets (MIRA)-led consortium's acquisition of AirTrunk from Founder Robin Khuda, Goldman Sachs' Special Situations Group and Sixth Street Partners for A$3bn (US$2.1bn).

Financial advisers: Goldman Sachs, Grant Samuel (AirTrunk and shareholders), Macquarie Capital (MIRA consortium).

Legal advisers: Hogan Lovells, Norton Rose Fulbright, DLA Piper (Airtrunk and shareholders), Kings & Wood Mallesons, Baker McKenzie, Linklaters (MIRA).

Converge ICT Solutions (The Philippines)
Warburg Pincus' US$250m investment in Philippines' fibre co Converge ICT Solutions.

Financial adviser: UBS (Converge ICT).

Legal advisers: Milbank, Latham & Watkins (Converge ICT).

GDS Holdings (China)
Hillhouse Capital and ST Telemedia Global Data Centres' US$505m investment in GDS Holdings in June 2020.

Legal adviser: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

Indosat Ooredoo towers (Indonesia)
Mitratel and Protelindo acquisition of 3,100 telecom towers from Indosat Ooredoo for IDR 6.4 trillion (US$452m).

Financial advisers: JP Morgan (Indosat Ooredoo ) and Credit Suisse (Mitratel), Redpeak Advisers (Protelindo).

Legal advisers: Milbank (Converge ICT), Duane Morris & Selvam (Protelindo).

XL Axiata tower assets (Indonesia)
Protelindo and Centratama's acquisition of 2,782 telecom towers from XL Axiata for c. US$285m.

Financial advisers: Redpeak Advisers (Protelindo), DBS, ING (Centratama).

Legal advisers: Duane Morris & Selvam (Protelindo).

Telecom Deal of the Year - Global

Inmarsat (UK)
Apax Partners, Warburg Pincus, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board's acquisition of Inmarsat for US$3.4bn.

Financial advisers: Credit Suisse, JP Morgan and PJT Partners (Inmarsat shareholders); UBS, Bank of America and Barclays (consortium).

Legal advisers: Clifford Chance (Inmarsat), Kirkland & Ellis (Triton Bidco), Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Triton Bidco).

Jio Platforms (India)
Reliance Industries' equity fundraising of Jio Platforms' for a total of INR 1.48 trillion (US$20bn) from Facebook, Google, Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners, General Atlantic, KKR, Mubadala Investment Co, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, TPG Capital and L Catterton, Public Investment Fund, Intel, Qualcomm Ventures.

Financial advisers: Morgan Stanley, Bank of America (Reliance Industries).

Legal advisers: AZB & Partners, Davis Polk & Wardwell (Reliance Industries). Latham & Watkins LLP, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett (Silver Lake). Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (Vista Equity Partners). Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett (KKR). Nishith Desai Associates, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Mubadala). Trilegal (Qualcomm Ventures). Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US and J. Sagar Associates (Google).

T-Mobile US/ Sprint (USA)
T-Mobile US' merger with Sprint for US$26.5bn.

Financial advisers: The Raine Group, JP Morgan (Sprint). PJT Partners, Goldman Sachs, Evercore (T-Mobile US). Morgan Stanley (Deutsche Telekom).

Legal advisers: DLA Piper (T-Mobile, Deutsche Telekom), Latham & Watkins (T-Mobile, independent directors), Morrison & Foerster (Sprint, SoftBank), Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz (T-Mobile).

VHA/ TPG (Australia)
Vodafone Hutchison Australia's merger with TPG Telecom, valued at A$16.5bn (US$11.6bn).

Financial advisers: Bank of America, Deutsche Bank (Vodafone Hutchison) and Macquarie Capital (TPG Telecom).

Legal advisers: Herbert Smith Freehills (TPG), Corss Chambers Westgarth (VHA), Norton Rose Fulbright (VHA), Allens (VHA).

Vivacom (Bulgaria)
United Group's acquisition of Vivacom from shareholders for E1.2bn (US$1.4bn).

Financial advisers: Lazard (shareholders); Citi, LionTree (United Group).

Legal advisers: CMS (shareholders), Paul Weiss (United Group).

Technology M&A Deal of the Year – Europe

Advanced Software (UK)
The acquisition of Advanced Software by BC Partners from Vista Equity Partners for £2bn (US$2.61bn).

Financial advisers: Goldman Sachs (Vista Equity Partners), Rothschild (BC Partners).

Legal advisers: Kirkland & Ellis (Vista Equity Partners), McCann Fitzgerald (Advanced).

AutoScout24 (Germany)
The acquisition of AutoScout24 by Hellman & Friedman from Scout24 for E2.84bn (US$3.36bn)

Financial advisers: JP Morgan (Hellman & Friedman); Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley (Scout24).

Legal advisers: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (H&F), Latham & Watkins (H&F), Gleiss Lutz (Scout24), Allen & Overy (Scout 24).

Just Eat Takeaway.com (The Netherlands)
The merger of Just Eat and Takeaway.com for £6.2bn (US$8.08bn)

Financial advisers: Bank of America Securities, Lazard, Gleacher Shacklock (Takeaway.com); Goldman Sachs, UBS, Oakley Advisory (Just Eat).

Legal advisers: De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek (Takeaway.com), Slaughter and May (Takeaway.com), Linklaters (Just Eat).

Sophos (UK)
Thoma Bravo's acquisition of Sophos from the founder and Apax Partners for US$3.9bn.

Financial advisers: JP Morgan Cazenove, UBS, Lazard (Sophos), Goldman Sachs (Thoma Bravo).

Legal advisers: Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, Slaughter and May (Sophos), Ashurst, Kirkland & Ellis (Thomas Bravo), Clifford Chance (Apax Partners).

Veeam Software (Switzerland)
Insight Partners' acquisition of Veeam Software from Veeam for US$5bn.

Financial advisers: Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley (Insight Partners).

Legal advisers: Willkie Farr & Gallagher (Insight Partners), Ropes & Gray (Veeam).

Digital Infrastructure Investor of the Year

Colony Capital/ Digital Colony
For deals including the US$8.2bn joint take private of US infrastructure services provider Zayo Group; the acquisition of the datacentre portfolio of Brazillian datacentre operator UOL Diveo; the acquisition of Brazillian infrastructure solutions provider Highline do Brasil; and the US$181m investment into Canadian infrastructure provider Beanfield Metroconnect, expansion of Vantage Europe and the acquisition of Wildstone.

EQT
For deals including the US$8.2bn joint take private of US infrastructure services provider Zayo Group; the E2.8bn joint acquisition of German internet business Deutsche Glasfaser, and combination with inexio; plus the E1.7bn acquisition of Swedish fibre and infrastructure provider IP-Only and subsequent merger with GlobalConnect.

Macquarie (MIRA)
For deals including the US$1.9bn acquisition of Australian datacentre company AirTrunk; the US$2.9bn takeover of US telecommunications provider Cincinnati Bell; the acquisition of US datacentre operator Netrality Data Centers; the takeover of US telecommunications company Bluebird Network; plus the £563m acquisition of UK internet service provider KCOM Group.

OMERS
For deals including the E2.8bn joint acquisition of German internet business Deutsche Glasfaser and subsequent combination with inexio; the joint acquisition of French fibre infrastructure operator SFR FTTH for E1.8bn; and the E1bn acquisition of French high speed infrastructure operator Covage.

Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners
For deals including the US$8.1bn acquisition of US cable and broadband provider Astound; the joint investment into US colocation services provider Cologix; the US$2bn takeover of Canadian broadband provider Xplornet Communications; plus the US$1bn joint investment into Singapore-based datacentre business Digital Edge.

TMT Investor of the Year

Apax Partners
For deals including the joint acquisition of UK-based satellite operator Inmarsat for US$3.4bn; and the sale of security software company Sophos, also in the UK, for $3.9bn. Plus acquisitions of Coalfire Systems, MyCase and Verint Systems Inc.

Ardian
For deals including the E1.3bn acquisition of a stake in Italian towerco, INWIT; the acquisitions (via Deladus) into European health IT companies Agfa and DXC; the acquisition of German online photo platform co, Saal Digital; the sale of GANTNER in Austria; and the acquisition of online French insurance broker Finaxy.

EQT
For deals including the joint US$14.3bn take-private deal for US bandwidth company Zayo; the rollover acquisition of Swedish enterprise software company IFS for E3bn; the acquisition of Italian online real estate platform Casa.it; the joint acquisition of fibre operator Deutsche Glasfaser for E2.8bn; and the acquisition of Maltese telco, Melita.

KKR
For deals including the US$1.5bn investment into India's Jio Platforms; the E5bn joint takeover of Spanish telecoms operator Masmovil; the acquisition of The UK-based HR software firm Citation Group; the exit of German internet business Deutsche Glasfaser in a E2.8bn sale; the £500m acquisition of UK broadband provider Hyperoptic; the takeover of German media group Axel Springer for E2.9bn; the joint public tender offer for Mediwan; and the E600m acquisition of German payments firm Heidelpay.

Warburg Pincus
For deals including the US$8.7bn take private of Chinese classifieds business 58.com; investment into Sinapore-based MVNO Circles.Life; the US$250m investment in Philippines-based broadband provider Converge ICT Solutions; investment into Austrian HR software firm Infoniqa; the acquisition of UK broadband provider Community Fibre; the US$3.4bn joint takeover of UK satellite group Inmarsat; the exit of Spanish airline financial analytics firm Accelya; the exit of German fibre optic firm inexio; plus the exit of Canadian energy data and analytics firm RS Energy Group.

TMT M&A Growth Story

Adevinta (Norway)
Following the spin out from Schibsted in 2019, online classifieds group Adventina has rapidly repositioned itself for growth, in part mostly due to a transformational US$9.2bn deal to acquire eBay's classifieds business, fending off rival bids in a highly competitive process. The acquisition sees Adventina form the world's largest online classified advertising business, with eBay coming on board as the company's largest shareholder.

Other notable moves includes the acquisition of Grupo ZAP for R$2.9bn (US$550m), (via JV OLX Brazil); plus the disposal of non-core online classifieds businesses Avito in Morocco, Tayara in Tunisia and Fincaraíz in Colombia to Frontier Digital Ventures (FDV).

Eurofiber (The Netherlands)
Under Antin Infrastructure's ownership, fibre operator Eurofiber has set about executing on an accelerated growth and expansion strategy throughout Netherlands, Belgium and France. Between 2014-2019, the company added more than 19,000 kilometres of fibre network and eight datacenters, having invested close to E400m.

Through 2019 and 2020, Eurofiber made several add-on acquisitions including: the fiberoptic activities of Levelfour, a Dutch access, transport and service provider; Dutch fibre optic company Brightfiber; Datacenter Nedzone in the Netherlands; ATE and Eurafibre in France; and a 50% stake in Eura DC, also in France.

Looking ahead to the next phase of growth, Eurofiber also welcomed pension investor PGGM as a new shareholder as Antin at the same time renews its commitment as majority shareholder, together partnering to support the next phase of Eurofiber's growth. In a key appointment, Eurofiber also hired Hans Lehman as MD of strategy and corporate development from Zayo Group.

FirstLight Fiber (USA)
Fibre operator FirstLight Fiber has made no less than eight acquisitions through 2019 and 2020 to rapidly expand and position itself as a leading fibre operator across the United States, following the investment into the company by Antin Infrastructure in 2018.

Key acquisitions by FirstLight Fiber include: assets belonging to Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research (KINBER); TruePath Technologies; BestWeb; certain fibre assets of DFT Communications; Primelink; Colospace; Todd Cable Construction; and Maine Fiber Company.

FirstLight also announced the addition of three seasoned executives to its leadership team: Doug Derstine as chief operating officer, Maura Mahoney as chief marketing officer, and Todd Warmingham as chief construction officer.

Iliad (France)
French telecom operator Iliad has been on a major transformation journey as part of its 2024 Odyssey plan, a strategy to reshape the business after a difficult 2018, which the company said was hindered by poor sales performances, a lack of forward thinking, and delays in adapting and executing on business strategy.

As part of that journey, the company announced key developments in 2019/20 including: a E3.5bn deal agreed to acquire Polish operator Play Communications, and subsequent E800m transaction with Cellnex to take part ownership of Play's towers infrastructure; a E1.4bn capital increase for a 19.7% share buyback programme backed by a E2bn financing package; the sale of Iliad's mobile towers in France, Italy and Switzerland to Spanish infrastructure group Cellnex for E2.7bn in order to strengthen Iliad's balance sheet; and the acquisition of a 30% stake in Instadrone in France.

Iliad also struck several notable fibre deals: a partnership with InfraVia in France (worth E600m) to rollout FTTH outside very densely populated areas; a deal with Open Fiber in Italy to offer fixed-line data services; and the signing of a new E300m financing agreement with the EIB to accelerate the rollout of fibre across France.

On its two recent market entries in Italy and Ireland in 2017, Iliad continues to demonstrate growth - since Iliad and NJJ bought Eir in 2017, adjusted EBITDA went from E520m to E600m. Meanwhile, Iliad Italia has acquired 5.8m customers since its launch in 2017, with consolidated revenues standing at E1.382bn.

Princeton Digital Group (Singapore)
Established in 2017 and backed by Warburg Pincus, internet infrastructure operator Princeton Digital Group (PDG) has built a portfolio of 18 datacentre assets, with nine in operation and nine in development, expanding in key markets across Asia including China, Singapore, Indonesia and India.

Key highlights in 2019 and 2020 include: the carve-out and acquisition of five datacentres from XL Axiata in Indonesia; the acquisition of DCSG in Singapore (formerly IO Data Centers Singapore); and the construction of 40MW datacentre campus in Shanghai and two other greenfield projects. The company has also established offices in Singapore, Shanghai, Jakarta, and Mumbai; and assembled a world-class team with long-term track records across all critical functions in a short amount of time.

PDG also secured a US$360m equity investment in 2020 led by Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board, and joined by Warburg Pincus (US$60m).

TMT Due Diligence Adviser of the Year

Altman Solon
The year to August 2020 was a pivotal year for Solon Management Consulting and Altman Vilandrie & Company, which merged to form the world's largest independent TMT-focused strategy consulting firm: Altman Solon.

Prior to the merger, both firms had been growing significantly while maintaining their focus only on TMT strategy and transactions – Solon in Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Altman Vilandrie in the Americas. Together, the network of experts now extends from Warsaw in the East to San Francisco in the West via Munich, Milan, Paris, London, Boston and New York. All of the firm's 300 team members are TMT experts covering strategy, technology, and transactions, supported by AI and machine learning teams, which are able to deliver rapid insights to the most exacting strategic and investor clients in the world.

In the twelve months to August 2020, the company delivered 200 diligence assignments, which have ranged from investment into global edge datacentre portfolios, fast growing SaaS businesses, through to investment into French rural fibre, via restructuring of US operators.

Key sectors include: B2B online Media, B2C media (e.g. listings), Online streaming platforms, Enterprise software (ERP, HCM and verticalized e.g. Media, Healthcare). Cybersecurity, Data management/analytics, Public Cloud, IT/Operations software (development, monitoring, support), Satellite, Mobile financial services, Broadcast technology, Hosting and managed services, ecommerce, Fibre (long-haul, metro, FTTH and FTTB), Cable, Datacentres, Telecom and broadcast towers, and Telecom B2B resellers.

Financial sponsor clients include: Large buy-out PE houses, Infrastructure funds, Family offices, Providers of growth equity, Corporate acquirers, Debt providers, and Pension funds.

Analysys Mason
Analysys Mason continues to expand its footprint as an integrated consulting and research company, including recent acquisitions in the Nordics, the USA and Germany. In the past year (as of Aug 2020), the firm has worked on 100+ transaction support projects in the TMT industry, including involvement in landmark deals across the globe.

A key transaction for Analysys Mason was to provide commercial and technical support to INWIT during its acquisition – and negotiations with the two anchor tenants – of Vodafone Towers in Italy, a landmark tower transaction that was fully completed in March 2020. The deal is the largest single market tower transaction in Europe to date, creating a 22 100-tower powerhouse with two major anchor tenants, involving various stakeholders including INWIT, Vodafone, TIM and INWIT's minority shareholders. The transaction fundamentally reshaped Italy's mobile market, and highlights potential challenges for towercos in managing new RAN-share deals and monetising 5G deployment. Creating a single towerco is instrumental to TIM's and Vodafone's 5G deployment, and could become a reference point for future deals.

Analysys Mason's team were instrumental in helping INWIT to maximise transaction value. Their remit included providing: Support with long-term plan development; Commercial and technical due diligence of Vodafone Towers; Assessment of the synergies and of the impact of the RAN-share (passive/active) on the towerco; MSA negotiation; Independent review of the business plan for the combined entity. Areas of expertise included: Market-specific knowledge; Commercial and technical towers expertise; Specialist modelling using geographical analyses; Understanding of active networks, RAN sharing, spectrum and 5G (including antenna equipment); Expertise in towerco–MNO contracts and MSA negotiation.

Analysys Mason's other deal highlights were advisory work on: Supporting the carve-out of MEO fibre assets to create Altice Portugal FTTH (now Fastfiber), the first nationwide fibre wholesaler in Europe, with an enterprise value of E4.6bn; Assisting Vauban Infrastructure Partners and Axione to create Vauban Infra Fibre, the largest independent platform for fibre-based assets in France, with a E6bn investment plan; Conducting commercial due diligence on Phoenix Tower International (with operations in the USA and Latin America), for a secondary investment fund, resulting in successful investment; Providing valuation support to TPG in its US$600m investment in Jio Platforms in India, following its partnership with Facebook; Supporting SK Holdings' efforts to expand its datacentre footprint beyond South Korea, resulting in investment of US$300m in ChinData Group.

EY-Parthenon
EY-Parthenon has grown at a fast rate and has established itself in the top three Commercial Diligence suppliers in the world, with a focus on specific industry sectors, combined with access to specific expertise within the broader EY network.
Key transactions include: KCOM's acquisition by Macquarie (buy-side); advising Cellnex, who in a JV with Bouygues Telecom will invest E1bn over the next 7 years (buy-side); Consignor's acquisition by Francisco Partners (sell-side); Unifaun, which was acquired by Marlin Equity Partners (buy-side); the sale of 7 Telefónica datacentres to Asterion Partners (sell-side); Ardian's acquisition of a stake in Saal Digital (buy-side); Swiss Mobiliar's acquisition of a minority stake of Ringier AG (buy-side); TSG's acquisition by Advent (sell-side); and Advent International's 30% stake purchase in Aareon AG (buy-side).

The TMT practice has global coverage, with TMT specialists in most countries and a particular depth in the US); Europe (Germany, UK, France, Benelux, Nordics, Spain and Italy) and in Asia (Tokyo, Beijing, Singapore). With technologies underpinning TMT businesses changing fast and getting more complex, the team have expanded its offering by adding technology and product due diligence, which can be tightly combined with its Commercial DD offering. The acquisition of Bulger Partners, a Boston-based specialist technology due diligence consultancy has allowed EY-Parthenon to expand this offering rapidly, across EMEA as well as US. This approach has resonated very well with Private Equity investors.

In EMEA, EY-Parthenon has conducted more than 100 Commercial due diligence projects, covering Technology (50% of projects), Telecoms (25%) and Media (25%). Despite the impact of Covid-19 in Q2, all TMT sectors have grown with particularly high level of activity in Digital Infrastructure and Technology. Within Technology, EY-Parthenon has seen very strong growth in the Software market where the firm worked on more than 30 transactions.

TMT M&A Law Firm of the Year

Allen & Overy
Allen & Overy (A&O) advised Liberty Global on its £31bn deal with Telefonica to merge Virgin Media and O2 in the UK, which drew upon a team of over 50 lawyers including many commercial and IP/IT lawyers and a wide range of specialists, headed by London corporate M&A partners Jeremy Parr and Alex Tilley and global co-head of Antitrust and TMT Antonio Bavasso. The deal was one of the first mega mergers to be delivered during the early weeks of the exceptional Covid-19 lockdown working conditions. A&O relied heavily on the capabilities of its innovative legal resourcing and technology services to sign up this massively complex deal including a combined diligence team in London and the Belfast legal services centre.


Another key deal for Allen & Overy was to advise TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel site, on its strategic joint venture with Ctrip, a subsidiary of Nasdaq-listed Trip.com, and the largest online travel agency in the PRC, to form TripAdvisor China in November 2019. The deal was led by the firm's technology practice in APAC, drawing on corporate, technology, banking, litigation and antitrust resources in the region, while highlighting expertise in cross-border transactions, and thorough understanding of the tech industry in the region.


The Allen & Overy team advised on 35 key TMT transactions in the 12 months ending August 2020.


Clifford Chance
One of the key transactions that Clifford Chance worked on during the reporting period was advising Telefonica on its £31bn joint venture with Liberty Global in the UK. As well as the significance and complexity of the deal, execution was conducted amidst Brexit and the worldwide lockdown. Urgency was key as six months' work had to be condensed into five weeks, as the aim was to sign on 7 May 2020. The joint venture will create a nationwide communications provider with over 46 million video, broadband and mobile subscribers, and £11bn of revenue, establishing the leading operator in the UK telecommunications market with approximately one third of the sector's total revenue.


Other key highlights include advising: Cellnex on multiple transactions, including its £2bn acquisition of Arqiva's towers business in the UK and E210m acquisition of Cignal Infrastructure in Ireland; Masmovil Ibercom on the E5bn takeover bid by KKR, Cinven and Providence, one of the largest Private Equity transactions in Spanish history; Maoyan Entertainment on its US$250m IPO and listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange; and PIF, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, on its US$550m investment into Babylon, the world's leading AI and digital healthcare provider.


The Clifford Chance team advised on 74 TMT M&A deals in the 12 months ending August 2020. The team comprises 120 partners worldwide and over 200 industry specialists who work with and within the global tech group which comprises over 400 lawyers covering all sectors.


CMS
In the telecoms sector, CMS advised Macquarie Capital on one of the biggest acquisitions of ultrafast optical fibre in Spain to date. The E250m acquisition of a fibre network covering 940,000 building units from MasMovil created Spain's first independent wholesale-only provider, and included the signing of a bitstream services agreement for an estimated E320m. The deal completed in November 2019.


In media, CMS advised the BBC on its partnership with ITV to launch BritBox, a streaming service for UK audiences offering unrivalled access to the biggest collection of British content. Britbox launched in November 2019.


In technology, CMS advised Behavox, the world's only end-to-end data operating platform enabling companies to aggregate, analyse and act on their entire organisation's data, on its US$100m Series B investment from SoftBank Vision Fund 2.1 and other major venture capital funds.


The CMS team advised on a total of 66 TMT transactions in the 12 months ending August 2020. The global team comprises of over 300 specialist TMT lawyers who work with household names, soon-to-be household names, and their investors, evidencing the firm's ideal position to deliver commercially backed, precise advice across multiple disciplines in over 40 jurisdictions.


HSF
Among HSF's deal highlights, was advising Bharti Global Limited, a member of the consortium with the UK Government, on the consortium's successful bid to acquire the OneWeb business in connection with its court-supervised bankruptcy process. The consortium committed to provide US$1bn to acquire OneWeb as a going concern and fund the full restart of its business operations. This was a landmark transaction, highly complex and executed at an incredible pace.


The HSF team also advised TPG Telecom on its A$16.5bn (US$12bn) merger with Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA), one of the largest telecommunications industry deals in Australian history. The merged entity began trading in June 2020, and is now Australia's leading challenger full-service telecommunications provider. The cross-border and cross-practice HSF team advised on all aspects of this complex merger, including the listing of the merged entity, TPG's successful defence of the merger in the Federal Court against the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's opposition, other regulatory engagement, including FIRB approval, and the separate joint venture between TPG and VHA to acquire, hold and licence 3.6 GHz spectrum.

HSF also worked as co-counsel to Telefonica on the joint venture which will combine O2 with Liberty Global’s Virgin Media, which counts some six million broadband and TV cable customers together with three million mobile users. The deal valued O2 at US$12.7bn and Virgin Media at US$18.7bn, creating a company with a value of more than US$30bn.

HSF worked across 46 TMT M&A transactions in the 12 months ending August 2020.

Linklaters

Linklaters has advised across a range of key digital infrastructure deals over the past 12 months, including for Arqiva Group Limited on the complex carve out sale of its telecoms division (towers business) to Cellnex Telecom S.A. for £2bn. The transaction involved a complex pre-closing carve out and reorganisation of the telecoms division from Arqiva’s remaining broadcast and distribution business, as well as a long term Master Site Share Agreement (MSSA) and Portfolio Management Agreement (PMA). 

Other key deals included: Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners on the E2.3bn acquisition of 49.9% of Altice fibre infrastructure in Portugal and on the sale of Omtel; National Westminster Bank Plc and the other original lenders on the financing of KKR’s £353m acquisition of Hyperoptic, the UK’s largest residential gigabit broadband provider; Vantage Data Centers on the establishment of their European platform and the subsequent acquisition of Etix Everywhere and Next Generation Data.

• PSP and Macquarie Asia Infrastructure Fund on the US$1.8bn acquisition of data centre specialist AirTrunk; and Brazilian Data Centre: a US sponsor in connection with the acquisition of three data centre facilities in Brazil; Digital Colony Partners, on the acquisition of Highline do Brasil II Infraestrutura de Telecomunicaçoes, an independent towers/infrastructure solutions provider for the telecommunications industry in Brazil, from Patria Investments.

In the last 12 months ending August 2020, Linklaters has advised on deals valued over £28.7bn across 10 jurisdictions in digital infrastructure alone, and a total of 100 deals across the broader TMT sector in the same period.