Elite US firms lead in CBS-Viacom merger

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Five of the most prominent American law firms have advised on the merger of CBS and Viacom, creating a media giant with US$28bn in annual turnover.

Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; Cravath, Swaine & Moore; Latham & Watkins; and Shearman & Sterling have all advised to mint the new ViacomCBS Inc.

Cleary advised National Amusements with a team headlined by M&A partners Christopher Austin and Paul Tiger, with litigation partner Meredith Kotler, executive compensation partner Arthur Kohn and counsel Mary Alcock, tax partner Meyer Fedida and counsel J.J. Gifford, and trust and estates counsel Heide Ilgenfritz. National Amusements owns controlling stakes of both CBS and Viacom.

Paul Weiss advised the CBS board’s special committee of directors. Its team was headed by partners Robert Schumer, Ariel Deckelbaum, and Michael Vogel.

Cravath advised the Viacom board committee on the deal, with a team headed by presiding partner Faiza Saeed. The white-shoe firm’s team also included corporate partners Damien Zoubek and Keith Hallam, who led on M&A aspects of the transaction.

Shearman & Sterling advised Viacom on the merger. Its team was headed by M&A partners Creighton Condon and Daniel Litowitz. Tax partners Nathan Tasso and Michael Shulman; project development and finance partner Denise Grant; capital markets partners Stephen Giove, Lona Nallengara and Lisa Jacobs; and antitrust partner James Webber also provided expert advice.

Latham advised LionTree Advisors and Morgan Stanley, which in turn advised the Viacom board’s special committee. Latham’s team was led by partners Adel Aslani-Far and David Kurzwell.