United States > M&A/corporate and commercial > M&A: middle-market (sub-$500m) > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings
Index of tables
M&A: middle-market (sub-$500m)
- Andrews Kurth LLP
Ballard Spahr LLP
- Blank Rome LLP
Bryan Cave LLP
Dorsey & Whitney LLP
- Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
Kelley Drye & Warren LLP
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
- Nixon Peabody LLP
- Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
- Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP
- Seward & Kissel LLP
- Seyfarth Shaw LLP
- Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP
- Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP
- Bass, Berry & Sims PLC
- Brown Rudnick LLP
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP
- Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP
Dickinson Wright PLLC
Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.
Gardere Wynne Sewell
- Hunton & Williams LLP
Kleinberg, Kaplan, Wolff & Cohen, P.C.
Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A.
- McGuireWoods LLP
Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Richards, Layton & Finger, P.A.
Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP
- James Abbott - Seward & Kissel LLP
William Asher Jr -
Choate, Hall & Stewart
- Daniel Berick - Squire Patton Boggs
- Jeryl Bowers - Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP
- Frank Chaiken - Thompson Hine LLP
- Emanuel Cherney - Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP
Richard Cicchillo Jr -
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton
- Steven Goldberg - Baker & Hostetler LLP
- Mark Grossmann - Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
- Joseph Johnson III - Goodwin Procter LLP
Stewart Landefeld -
Perkins Coie LLP
Timothy Lavender -
Kelley Drye & Warren LLP
- Kevin Lavin - Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP
Thomas Molner -
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP
- Charles Morton Jr - Venable LLP
Michael Nemeroff -
- Mitchell Nussbaum - Loeb & Loeb LLP
- Carl Roston - Akerman LLP
- David Sanders - Foley & Lardner LLP
- Suzanne Saxman - Seyfarth Shaw LLP
- John Schuster - Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP
- Wade Stribling - Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP
Akerman LLP has a strong track record of middle-market M&A work, particularly within the healthcare, technology, retail, and restaurant industries, handling complex work for both buyers and sellers, including in the private equity space. Healthcare mandates included advising Simply Healthcare Holdings on its sale to healthcare insurance giant Anthem. On the buy side, the team assisted Canada-based Resolute Forest Products with its $156m acquisition of tissue products manufacturer Atlas Paper Holdings; acted for Shanghai-based multimedia company Tiger Media (now IDI) in its acquisition of US-based data solutions provider The Best One; and advised IT services provider Advanced AV on its simultaneous acquisition of two companies and a related debt and equity refinancing. Growth in the practice saw Arturo Banegas Masiá join the New York office from Verizon Wireless, Andres Mendoza join from Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP and Felipe Berer promoted to partner. Martin Burkett and Carl Roston head the M&A and private equity group from the Miami office and senior statesman of the firm’s M&A practice Teddy Klinghoffer is highly rated. Corporate practice chair Mary Carroll advises general partners, private equity funds, entrepreneurs and private and public companies on a broad range of deals; Jonathan Awner specializes in public and private securities transactions, M&A and private equity investments; and Stephen Roddenberry has assisted buyers, sellers, investors, directors’ boards and their special committees, and other stakeholders with hundreds of M&A deals, spin-offs, and restructurings involving private and public companies. All partners listed above, unless otherwise stated, are in Miami.
Before the headline merger on January 1, 2017, the legacy Arnold & Porter group at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP had already welcomed Hans Dyke in Washington DC from Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Charles Bethill in New York from Alston & Bird LLP. The pair add considerable expertise: Dyke advises on M&A, joint ventures and equity investments, particularly within the electric power and oil and gas industries, while Bethill focuses mainly on the financial services industry. The team is noted for its handling of large and complex transactions, particularly in regulated industries, as well as assisting private equity firms with middle-market M&A transactions. There is a significant international aspect to its practice, with an emphasis on Latin America. Industry strengths include federal government services, financial institutions, life sciences, healthcare, IT and energy. Also in the group are Washington DC-based Kevin Lavin, Paul Freshour and Steven Kaplan; Joseph Tirone, who divides his time between Washington DC and Houston; and Andrew Varner, who is Washington DC and New York based. In New York, Joshua Berick and Robert Azarow are recommended. Stephanie Coutu, Teresa Johnson and Edward Deibert are notable San Francisco attorneys. On the legacy Kaye Scholer side, names to note include New York-based Emanuel Cherney, Stephen Koval and Kathleen Moriarty.
Baker & Hostetler LLP is primary M&A counsel to TransDigm Group, and recently advised the client on several significant matters, including the cross-border acquisition of Telair Cargo Group. Large deal highlights saw the team advising the franchise relationship committee of Coca-Cola Enterprises’ board of directors on the combination of Coca-Cola Enterprises, Coca-Cola Iberian Partners and Coca-Cola Erfrischungsgetränke to form Coca-Cola European Partners; the complex transaction established the world’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottler based on net revenues. It also acted for The E.W. Scripps Company in its merger with Journal Communications and on the subsequent spin-off of the combined business’ newspapers. The firm-wide business group chair is Cleveland-based John Gherlein, who has acted on several acquisitions in the aerospace industry; the transactions team leaders are Steven Goldberg in New York, who primarily handles private equity matters, joint ventures and strategic investments, and Ronald Stepanovic in Cleveland, who has particular experience in the acquisition and disposition of privately held companies by private equity funds. Atlanta-based Emily Crosby, who typically works with healthcare clients on transactional matters, joined the firm from Community Health Systems. Also in Atlanta, the firm welcomed former McKenna Long & Aldridge attorneys Clayton Coley - who focuses on representing public and private companies in regulated industries, including financial services, healthcare and technology - and David Brown - who advises clients on the acquisitions of strategic targets in the US and South America. In New York, Rajiv Khanna joined from Sidley Austin LLP; he focuses on domestic, cross-border, and multi-jurisdictional M&A transactions.
Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP is ‘a great lead counsel for M&A of any size, and the level of service is outstanding on any metric’, say sources. ‘The speed, pragmatism, deep understanding of complex issues, creative problem-solving and flexible approach to issues are phenomenal, and exactly what any general counsel would want’. The firm’s client base includes buyers, sellers, boards of directors and their committees, and directors and officers, and it advises on M&A, joint ventures, spin-offs and other significant strategic transactions. It has advised insurance brokerage and risk management firm Integro on numerous middle-market transactions, including its acquisition of HealthCare Risk Specialists, a provider of professional liability insurance services to physicians and physicians’ groups. Other healthcare-related deals included assisting ICON, a provider of drug development solutions and services, with its acquisition of MediMedia Pharma Solutions. In the energy space, in a larger scale transaction, the team acted for Foresight Energy (FE) on the disposal of a significant economic interest in FE to Murray Energy Corporation for a cash consideration of $1.37bn. It also advised Coca-Cola Enterprises on its agreement to combine with Coca-Cola Iberian Partners and Coca-Cola Erfrischungsgetränke to form Coca-Cola European Partners. Helene Banks is ‘superb - she communicates well, has total command of her team, is always available and remains calm when things begin to disintegrate’, according to clients. She also ‘keeps the client’s goals at the forefront and knows her subject matter completely’. John Schuster is ‘always available and very responsive to clients’ needs; he has deep industry knowledge, lots of experience, creativity and a willingness to help clients achieve their objectives’. James Clark, William Hartnett, Jonathan Mark, William Miller, Kimberly Petillo-Décossard, Michael Sherman and Susanna Suh are also recommended. All named advisers are New York based.
Choate, Hall & Stewart ‘provides an excellent overall service and comes highly recommended, and also has deep and relevant industry knowledge’. The practice stands out for its advice to technology and life sciences companies, and recently acted for FireFly Bioworks in the disposal of its micro RNA assay business to publicly traded UK company Abcam via the merger of an indirect subsidiary of Abcam with and into Firefly. It also assisted specialty pharmaceutical provider BioRx and Symmetric Capital (an investor in BioRx) with the sale of BioRx to Diplomat Pharmacy, and advised Crane & Co on the sale of Crane Technical Materials to public company Neenah Paper. On the buy side, the team assisted Altaris Capital Partners with the purchase of hospital administrative support services company Patient Accounts Services and its affiliates. Particularly recommended are Boston-based partners William Asher Jr, who stands out for technology and life sciences deals, Brian Goldstein, who co-chairs the firm’s business and technology group, and Frederick Callori, who is noted for his expertise in relation to gene therapy technology deals.
Foley & Lardner LLP represents numerous clients in the real estate and healthcare sectors, as well as in energy, telecoms, technology, manufacturing, infrastructure and life sciences. Recent highlights include advising Omron Management Center of America on the $202m acquisition of Adept Technology, which involved an all-cash tender offer followed by a second-step merger, and advising Canadian Solar on its $265m purchase of Recurrent Energy from Sharp Corporation. In the private equity space, the team assisted Sverica International Management with the sale of RestorixHealth to an investment group led by Leonard Green & Partners. Other key matters included advising Magnetek on its sale to Columbus McKinnon, and acting as lead counsel to Denmark-based Bunker Holdings in its acquisition of the operations of LQM Petroleum Services, a deal which highlights the firm’s continuing work with Scandinavian businesses looking to acquire in the US market. Milwaukee-based Steven Barth - who has assisted buyers, sellers, investors and intermediaries with over 600 business combination transactions - co-chairs the transactional and securities group with David Sanders in Washington DC. Chris Laukenmann and Richard Ferris Jr, in Los Angeles and Washington DC respectively, are also highly rated. Other noteworthy names include Steven Hilfinger in Detroit, Jay Rothman, Bryan Schultz and ‘the highly recommended’ Kevin Schulz in Milwaukee, Gardner Davis in Jacksonville, and Tampa-based Curt Creely.
Focused on middle-market M&A, with deals ranging from $100m to $1bn, Goodwin Procter LLP’s corporate practice fields attorneys in Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Washington DC. Industry strengths include technology, life sciences, REITs, financial services and private equity. Recently it advised Studer Group, a professional services firm that assists healthcare providers, on its announced agreement to be sold to Huron Consulting Group for $325m, and it acted for longstanding client Courier Corporation in its $320m sale to one of its largest competitors. It also assisted GoDaddy with a variety of corporate matters, including its acquisition of the majority of Apptix’s direct public and multi-tenant cloud customers, and advised OverDrive on its $410m sale to Rakuten. In higher value deals, the team acted for TA Associates, its portfolio company Fotolia and Fotolia’s CEO and co-founder in the announced sale of Fotolia to Adobe for $800m, and advised specialty pharmaceutical company AMAG Pharmaceuticals on the $700m acquisition of Cord Blood Registry, the world’s largest stem cell collection and storage company. Financial adviser mandates included acting for Centerview Partners in relation to AbbVie’s $21bn acquisition of biopharmaceutical company Pharmacyclics and its flagship product Imbruvica. It also advised Teva Pharmaceuticals on its all-cash $3.2bn acquisition of Auspex Pharmaceuticals. Mark Bettencourt advises private and public companies from the software, internet, digital media, communications, and networking equipment and information services industries; Joseph Johnson III has substantial experience in M&A, especially in the life sciences and technology spaces; Stuart Cable acts as outside general counsel to public and private companies involved in the life sciences and technology sectors and also represents private equity and venture capital sources investing in such companies and investment banks serving those industries; John Egan co-chairs the firm’s technology companies and life sciences group; and John LeClaire co-chairs the private equity group. Silicon Valley-based Lawrence Chu is also recommended. Except where otherwise stated, attorneys are based in Boston.
There was some movement in Loeb & Loeb LLP’s practice group, with the arrival of Rima Moawad and Neil Lefkowitz in New York from Haynes and Boone, L.L.P. and Dickstein Shapiro respectively, and the departure of former corporate chair David Schaefer, who left to become COO at CounterPointe Energy Partners. Moawad brings experience in representing public companies, private equity firms and management groups in domestic and cross-border M&A, restructurings, going-private transactions and other corporate matters. In the TMT space, it advised RTL Group on its acquisition of 65% of the equity of SpotXchange for an initial investment of $144m; it advised US-based reality television production company Jupiter Entertainment on the sale of a majority interest in the company to Sky Broadcasting; and it acted for Country Thunder, a country music festival company, during negotiations with William Morris Endeavor Entertainment to establish a strategic alliance to bring the two entities together to build, market and execute country music festivals across the US and Canada. Other significant transactions included assisting the stockholders of PHS/MWA Aviation Services with the sale of all of their shares to Wencor. New York office managing partner Mitchell Nussbaum and Los Angeles-based Paul Severin co-chair the capital markets and corporate practice. Kenneth Benbassat, Steven Hurdle Jr and Allan Duboff in Los Angeles and Chicago-based Ross Emmerman are all experienced advisers.
Squire Patton Boggs is ‘excellent in all instances’, say sources. ‘It is a go-to firm for broad capabilities and expert advice regarding transactions and its solution-minded lawyers offer prompt responses and great bench depth’. In the environment sector, the team acted for CECO Environmental in its $150m acquisition of PMFG, a provider of engineered equipment for air pollution abatement. Other significant work saw the practice assist longstanding client American Greetings Corporation and its subsidiary with the $105m sale of its Strawberry Shortcake brand to Iconix Brand Group, and advise ICF International, a provider of consulting services and technology solutions, on its $295m acquisition of OCO Holdings and its subsidiaries. In the upper middle-market, a team of lawyers from five of the firm’s offices advised A. Schulman, a supplier of high-performance plastic compounds, powders and resins, on the $800m acquisition of Citadel Plastics Holdings from private equity firms HGGC and Charlesbank Capital Partners. Palo Alto and San Francisco-based Nicholas Unkovic and Daniel Berick in Cleveland are highly rated. Key changes in the team involved Jenny Liu relocating to San Francisco from the firm’s Beijing office and Thomas Gaynor joining Nixon Peabody LLP.
At Vedder Price, the ‘response times are short, the quality of work is excellent and the practice understands how to obtain clients’ objectives’. The team, which is also ‘extremely pragmatic, giving clients big-firm skills and experience at small firm prices’, frequently acts in complex regulated industries, such as financial services, healthcare, construction, gaming, aerospace and investment services. Highlights included acting for L Squared Capital Partners in its majority acquisition of Virtium Technology; advising online food-ordering company GrubHub on its acquisition of Restaurants on the Run, the West Coast’s largest restaurant food delivery service; and acting for payroll processing firm Entertainment Partners in the acquisition of Ease Entertainment Services. In Chicago, finance and transactions chair Michael Nemeroff is recommended, as is William Bettman, and Guy Snyder ‘understands the business risks in an M&A transaction better than any lawyer’, according to one client. Also in Chicago, John Obiala ‘provides clients with a competitive advantage when dealing with other companies; he is always ahead of the other attorneys’. Scott Adamson in Los Angeles is also highly rated. Denise Tormey, who joined the New York office from Dentons, regularly represents private equity funds, founders and portfolio companies on buy-side and sell-side transactions.
Venable LLP’s ‘corporate group is second-to-none’ and is ‘highly responsive, efficient and able to crunch an enormous amount of work quickly and intelligently’. Private equity-related matters included advising Perdue Farms on its acquisition of Niman Ranch from LNK Partners, which owns Niman Ranch’s parent. It also acted as Maryland counsel to OmniAmerican Bancorp in its $310m merger with and into Southside Bancshares. Acting in the upper middle-market, the team co-advised PlentyOfFish Media on its $575m sale to the Match Group. Charles Morton Jr ‘always looks out for clients’ best interests’ and splits his time between Washington DC and Baltimore. Washington DC-based Robert Bolger Jr (‘thoughtful and creative’) has an emphasis on representing clients in the advertising, entertainment services and hospitality industries.
Andrews Kurth LLP grew its practice through the promotions to partner of Jordan Hirsch in Houston and Cindy Lin and Brian Dillavou in Austin. The practice is ‘always very responsive, provides stellar advice, has the depth of resources to work multiple projects for clients and provides the highest investment return for the legal work done’. Energy mandates included advising the conflicts committee of Shell Midstream Partners GP’s board of directors during its $448m acquisition of additional interests in Zydeco Pipeline Company and Colonial Pipeline Company; and advising Crestwood Equity Partners (CEP) on its agreement with Crestwood Midstream Partners to merge with CEP’s newly formed subsidiary, simplifying Crestwood’s corporate structure into a single publicly traded partnership; and acting for Sunoco in its acquisition of Susser Holdings Corporation from Energy Transfer Partners. It also advised Highlander Partners on its sale of The Composites Group to Citadel Plastic Holdings. Houston-based David Buck and Michael O’Leary are highly rated. Other recommended Houston advisers are John Clutterbuck, Jon Daly, Melinda Brunger, Hal Haltom Jr, Henry Havre and firm managing partner Robert Jewell. Key Washington DC attorneys include Bill Cooper and Eric Markus, while Dallas-based office managing partner Mark Solomon, Peter Bogdanow, David Washburn and Victor Zanetti, as well as Austin-based Alan Bickerstaff (‘trusted adviser’, ‘always professional and experienced in a wide variety of legal areas’) also merit mention.
Ballard Spahr LLP’s 70-plus M&A and private equity attorneys are recommended for their advice to both strategic and financial acquirers, while on the sale-side, the client base includes both small, privately held companies and multinational public companies. During transactions, the team works closely with the firm’s tax, securities, executive compensation, employee benefits and IP lawyers. Philadelphia-based M&A and private equity practice leader Craig Circosta represents clients in the medical devices, chemicals, aerospace and retail sectors. The team recently advised Teleflex’s subsidiary, Teleflex Medical Europe, on its acquisition of private Israeli company Truphatek, in what was the 40th M&A transaction in which the firm has represented Teleflex since 2005. Other key buy-side deals included acting for Triumph Group in its acquisition of the Gulfstream G650 and G280 wing programs from Spirit AeroSystems Holdings and in related supply and service agreements. The team also recently assisted PSEG Solar Source with the acquisition of over 15 solar facilities and projects. In the upper middle-market, the team acted for natural and organic meat company Applegate Farms in its $775m sale to Hormel Foods Corporation. Brian Doerner is the life sciences and technology group leader; Karen McConnell in Phoenix has closed 400-plus transactions for buyers and sellers during her career; and Michele Rowland in Denver is recommended for her representation of large and middle-market companies, private equity funds, private fund investors and fund portfolio companies on their acquisitions and divestitures.
Blank Rome LLP’s practice saw significant growth through the arrival of Malcolm Ross in New York and Jason Eig, Emanuel Faust Jr and Kenneth Morrow in Washington DC from Dickstein Shapiro, which closed its doors in early 2016. Ross has particular experience in the telecoms and wine and spirits supply and distribution industries, and Morrow acts as general outside counsel to Harbour Group. The M&A team regularly handles complex LBOs, from acquisitions by financial buyers to management-led buyouts; it also handles the acquisition and financing of public and non-public companies of all sizes. Philadelphia-based Alan Zeiger stands out for his advice to public and private companies and private equity funds, as well as entrepreneurs. Gary Goldenberg’s experience includes assisting with the acquisition of an automotive products and services business on behalf of a national automotive-related company. In 2015, the team acted for NewSpring Holdings and two senior executives in the acquisition of Seattle-based X5 Solutions. Corporate, M&A and securities vice-chair Linsey Bozzelli serves as outside general counsel to a number of emerging and middle-market companies in various industries, including fashion, consumer goods, design, branding and technology support; she recently advised SunGard Public Sector on its acquisition of local government software solutions developer CRW Systems.
Transactional work is a core practice at Bryan Cave LLP, with the firm standing out for M&A deals involving US companies targeted by foreign buyers. Recent matters saw a cross-border team advise Neenah Paper on its $120m acquisition of all the equity interests of ASP FiberMark from an affiliate of American Securities. It also acted for Edgewell Personal Care (formerly Energizer Holdings) on the tax-free spin-off of its Household Products and Personal Care businesses, and assisted specialty biopharmaceutical company Mallinckrodt with the sale of its global contrast media and delivery systems business to Guerbet for $270m. In healthcare, Atlanta-based Rick Miller led a multi-office team that represented Omega Healthcare Investors during its acquisition of Aviv REIT in a stock-for-stock merger. St Louis-based team leader Steven Baumer, who has acted for Emerson Electric in numerous acquisitions and divestitures, has experience working with companies in the agriculture, aviation, manufacturing, technology, banking, life sciences, telecoms and consumer goods industries; Tara Newell in New York, who advised Piedmont Community Bank Holdings on its acquisition of control of Crescent Financial Bancshares, is also a key partner.
Advising public and private companies of all sizes, financial sponsors, private equity firms and investment banks, Dorsey & Whitney LLP’s deal experience includes M&A, divestitures, corporate restructurings, strategic partnerships, cross-border transactions, auctions and takeover defense. In late 2015, New York-based private equity chair, Eric Rytter and Kevin Maler in Minnesota advised Early Warning Services (known for fraud prevention and risk management) on its acquisition of the largest financial institution-led digital payments network in the US. Other highlights included acting for cloud television and connected home solutions provider Entone in its $73m sale to Amino Technologies. In Utah, Samuel Gardiner has assisted clients in more than 100 M&A or similar transactions over the last decade, and Layne Smith is recommended for advising operating companies and investors in the healthcare and technology industries. New York-based Scott Desmond and Robert Rosenbaum and William Jonason in Minnesota are also highly rated.
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP’s ‘excellent service includes very good response times, practical advice and great availability, and the lawyers do not waste time on low-risk or low-value problems’. Clients also praise ‘the best possible legal advice, with matters always properly staffed by the right people, while the firm makes an effort to understand clients’ businesses and is considered almost an adjunct to companies’ legal departments by senior management’. The practice has particular strength in LBOs, MBOs, going-private transactions, proxy contests, spin-offs, tender offers and restructurings, with deep sector knowledge in healthcare services, pharmaceuticals, sports, education, financial services, manufacturing, real estate, media and investment funds. In the education space, the team advised Meritas on the sale of a portfolio of six schools in North America, Switzerland and China to Nord Anglia Education. In another cross-border matter, it assisted New Hope Investment Fund with its acquisition of privately held meat processor and food manufacturer Ruprecht Company. Other key instructions saw the team acting for Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group in the sale of the company to NTT DATA. Towards the larger end of the spectrum, it acted for Ardent Health Services in its sale to Ventas for $1.75bn. Chicago and New York based global corporate head Mark Grossmann (‘exceptional legal skills and ability’) and David Landau in New York head the M&A group. In Chicago, Jeffrey Patt is ‘smart, has a commercial approach, gives practical advice, does not try to score points off the other side and is even-tempered in negotiations’, and the ‘very knowledgeable and responsive’ Matthew Brown ‘listens to clients as to what is important and works hard to get those points’. Other noteworthy advisers include Russell Black and of counsel Victor Wray in Charlotte, Los Angeles-based Stephen Antion, and Mara Glaser McCahan in Washington DC. In 2015, Chicago-based Kimberly Smith rejoined the firm as co-head of the nationwide private equity practice and Daniel Peters arrived in the Los Angeles office, both from Paul Hastings LLP.
Supported by strong finance, tax and real estate practices, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP’s ‘excellent M&A team’ frequently acts on deals in the financial and investment services, telecoms, consumer brands, IT and outsourcing, real estate, healthcare, logistics and energy industries. In a deal engineered by private equity firm General Atlantic, the team advised Chicago-based retail online brokerage firm tradeMONSTER Group on its $108m combination with OptionsHouse. Other names on the client list include FreightCar America, Cinedigm and Lifeway Foods. Timothy Lavender in Chicago has extensive experience in M&A deals, ranging from small asset acquisitions and dispositions to multimillion-dollar transactions, including providing strategic counsel and conducting primary negotiations; Lavender also has deep energy industry experience.
New York-based Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP regularly advises both buyers and sellers, including entrepreneurial start-ups and large multinationals, and is particularly focused on the middle market. In addition, the firm’s litigation department regularly assists with M&A deals, such as during complex contests for corporate control of companies. The practice recently grew its team through the recruitment of David Berg from Arnold & Porter LLP; Berg’s industry experience includes aviation, biotechnology, media, telecoms, and forest and paper products. Highlights included advising AmTrust Financial Services on its $152m acquisition of Warranty Solutions, and acting for Stone Point Capital in its $300m acquisition of professional employer organization Oasis Outsourcing. It also assisted Alex Brands with its acquisition of Juratoys and its subsidiary toy brands, Janod and Kaloo, and advised Capmark Financial Group on its $565m acquisition of Bluestem Brands. On the sale side, the team acted for Perella Weinberg Partners in the negotiations of an agreement for the sale of its portfolio company Infinity Franchise Holdings. Steven Goldman, James Grayer, Thomas Molner, James Moriarty and Scott Rosenblum are recommended; Howard Spilko has particular knowledge of the strategic use of representations and warranties insurance during acquisitions; and Ernest Wechsler is ‘very responsive and always willing to work with clients on any time schedule thrown at him; he is also very skilled at negotiating with difficult parties and helping bridge gaps when negotiations break down’.
Providing M&A representation from four locations in California, as well as from New York and Washington DC, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP often draws upon the skills of its antitrust, environmental, real estate, IP, tax, labor and executive compensation lawyers when handling complex transactions. Recent matters included advising internet-based postage services provider Stamps.com on its all-cash $215m acquisition of high-volume shipping technologies provider Endicia, and assisting European media group Bertelsmann Learning on the $540m acquisition of Relias Learning, a provider of online courses. In the pharmaceutical sector, the team acted for generic prescription manufacturer and distributor InvaGen Pharmaceuticals on its sale to India-based global pharmaceutical company Cipla. In another sell-side mandate, the team advised Budget Rent A Car of Southern California on its sale to Avis Budget Group for $260m, in addition to the cost of the acquired fleet. Gordon Bava, Richard Maire Jr and Ben Orlanski in Los Angeles all draw praise from the market. Recent growth in the Washington DC office in 2015 included Douglas Boggs and Alan Noskow joining from Squire Patton Boggs and Brian Ashin arriving from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. However, in a notable outgoing, former M&A chair David Grinberg joined Sidley Austin LLP’s Century City office.
Nixon Peabody LLP’s ‘team offers a commendable level of service, with the lawyers demonstrating a high level of business acumen when addressing transactional issues and remaining focused on meeting the client’s investment objectives’. Clients are also impressed by ‘the practice’s fast response times and its lawyers’ ability to plan ahead, anticipate and resolve issues, and their ability to meet tight timelines’. The team regularly represents Constellation Brands in its global acquisition and financing transactions, including its $1bn acquisition of Home Brew Mart. Other highlights included advising Japanese electronics company TDK Corporation on its pending $250m acquisition of Minnesota-based Hutchinson Technology, and assisting Paychex on a variety of M&A transactions, including the acquisition of Advance Payroll Funding. The firm is also primary outside M&A counsel to Tegna (formerly Gannett) and has advised the client on numerous television, newspaper and digital media acquisitions, divestitures, and joint venture transactions; it also recently acted for Junction Solutions in the sale of its business assets to RSM US. Boston-based M&A and corporate transactions head David Martland is ‘able to preempt problems and communicate them to the client in a coherent manner’; John Partigan in Washington DC is public company transactions leader; and New York-based Daniel McAvoy is also a key contact. San Francisco and Los Angeles based Thomas Gaynor joined from Squire Patton Boggs, and the firm’s January 2015 merger with Chicago-based Ungaretti & Harris also added depth to the corporate and M&A practice.
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s team stands out for its advice to the technology industry, advising a wide array of private, public and emerging company clients. It has been especially active in deals relating to the recent consolidation of the renewable energy and infrastructure sectors, and is particularly notable for cross-border work. Highlights included acting for Thales in its $400m acquisition of data protection provider Vormetric, and advising Pinterest on its acquisition of Icebergs, a Barcelona-based online collaboration service. On the disposals side, the team advised Sharp Electronics, through its subsidiary Recurrent Energy, on its $265m sale to Canadian Solar. In the upper middle-market, it advised Symphony Technology Group on its $780m sale of software engineering and integration services provider Symphony Teleca. On the larger end of things, in the infrastructure space, the team acted for IFM Investors Pty on behalf of IFM Global Infrastructure Fund in its $5.72bn acquisition of 100% of the membership interests of ITR Concession Company, while renewable energy related deals included advising SunEdison and its yieldco, TerraForm Power, on the acquisition of First Wind Holdings for approximately $2.4bn. New York-based King Milling, Burton Haimes and Peter Rooney are recommended. Other key advisers include Harry Clark and Olga Sirodoeva in Washington DC; San Francisco-based John Cook and Richard Vernon Smith; and Sam Haviland in Seattle. Ed Batts joined the Silicon Valley office from DLA Piper LLP (US) as co-head of the global M&A and private equity practice and Hiroshi Sarumida was hired in New York from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP’s team stands out for its advice on deals in the technology, communications and life sciences sectors. Recent technology-related work includes advising PLX Technology on its $309m sale to Avago Technologies, assisting Tilera Corporation with its sale to EZchip Semiconductor for $130m, and acting for Cervalis Holdings in its $400m sale to CyrusOne. On the buy side, the team acted for Inphi Corporation in its $126m acquisition of Cortina Systems, and advised Ernst & Young on its acquisition of The Parthenon Group. Washington DC-based corporate and securities practice leader Robert Robbins and Donald Kilpatrick in New York are recommended, as are Craig Chason in North Virginia and Silicon Valley-based Jorge del Calvo.
‘Solving legal problems rather than creating them’, Seward & Kissel LLP’s ‘effective and efficient group excels at providing legal services and advice to middle-market companies, and performs excellent work at reasonable prices’. The practice is known for transactions within the investment management and shipping sectors; it also regularly handles complex middle-market deals in the media industry and assists with high-profile sell-side M&A matters. Furthermore, expanding on the firm’s strength in the financial services sector, it recently completed transactions involving the sale of broker-dealers. In shipping, the team acted for global oil tanker shipping client Frontline on its agreement to merge with Bermuda-based Frontline 2012 to create one of the world’s leading tanker companies. Investment management transactions included advising Whitebox Advisors on the sale of a 19.9% minority stake to Dyal Capital Partners. James Abbott is ‘extremely well versed in the ins-and-outs of M&A legal issues and the problems and legal solutions during deal making’; Craig Sklar is ‘an outstanding transaction attorney’; and Nick Katsanos is ‘very client-service oriented, meets deadlines and provides good advice’. Meir Grossman is also highly regarded.
A substantial portion of Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s M&A practice, ‘which works with clients to help them build their businesses in an efficient and high-quality manner’, focuses on middle-market transactions. Its ‘counsel during M&A procedures is consistently accurate and timely, and the team’s knowledge and expertise proves invaluable’. A cross-departmental team successfully advised Alleghany Capital on the acquisition of 84% of IPS-Integrated Project Services; it also assisted a sports equipment manufacturer with its acquisition of the global brand, sales and innovation rights to Louisville Slugger. On the sell side, highlights included acting for integrated media company the Dispatch Printing Company on its agreement to sell all of its print publications to New Media Investment Group. In large deals, the team advised cable operator Suddenlink Communications on selling a controlling stake in its company to Altice for $9.1bn. National M&A chair Suzanne Saxman in Chicago and New York-based vice-national M&A chair Andrew Lucano and Stanley Bloch (‘tremendous expertise and gives solid advice’) are recommended. Elsewhere, Washington DC office managing partner Robert Bodansky ‘gives clients the time, attention and respect they deserve, truly demonstrating that excellent service is a core value that he subscribes to’. Chicago corporate chair Steven Meier and Theodore Cornell III, together with Los Angeles-based Michael Clark, Ofer Lion and Douglas Mancino, are also highly rated attorneys. Growth in the practice saw Paul Pryzant in the Houston office joining from Burleson LLP; and New York-based Howard Jiang, Gabriel Monzon-Cortarelli and Eric Simonson arriving from Locke Lord LLP, Greenberg Traurig, LLP and Blank Rome LLP respectively.
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP is ‘an incredibly useful partner to clients, who derive great value as the team is always responsive and hugely knowledgeable and professional’, moreover, ‘the depth of knowledge is significant and the advice is always simple, clear and useful’. The practice enjoyed impressive growth through the recruitment of several partners, including Century City-based Jeffrey Kateman and Adam Ettinger from Latham & Watkins LLP and Strategic Counsel Corporation respectively; Craig Mordock, Michael McKinnon and Joshua Dean in Orange County from Jones Day, Greenberg Traurig, LLP and Bingham McCutchen respectively; New York-based Joseph Daniels, Andy Felner and Adam Freiman from Loeb & Loeb LLP, FDX Capital/FDX Offshore and King & Spalding LLP respectively; and Hwan Kim in Washington DC from Squire Patton Boggs. Recent highlights for the practice include Los Angeles-based Lawrence Braun advising the shareholder of Press Forge Company on the sale of the company’s stock to Precision Castparts Corp.; David Sands in Los Angeles acting for Banijay Group in its acquisition of a controlling interest in US production company Stephen David Entertainment; and M&A chair Will Chuchawat, also in Los Angeles, assisting an affiliate of Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical with its investment in The Center for Orthopedic and Research Excellence. Other matters included Century City-based Linda Michaelson advising BoosterMedia on its acquisition of the Hallpass Media web game network from SGN Games. Corporate practice heads Jeryl Bowers in Century City, Del Mar-based John Hentrich and Shon Glusky in New York are recommended. Also deserving of mention are David Sunkin and Zachary Turke in Los Angeles and Lucantonio Salvi in Washington DC.
‘Consistently performing well and the best law firm in the South’, according to a source, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP’s ‘great lawyers make things happen at a fair price and understand business - they are in a league of their own’. The team has particular strength in regulated sectors such as insurance, energy and natural resources, communications, healthcare and life sciences, and also works with clients in the chemicals, construction, e-commerce, financial services, manufacturing, and timber and forest product industries as well as private equity investors. Recent matters include advising TE Connectivity on its all-cash acquisition of designer and manufacturer of catheter systems AdvancedCath, which intersected the healthcare, technology and private equity sectors; it also continued its ongoing representation of BC Technical, a provider of medical imaging services, in the expansion of its national operations through the acquisitions of MedX, Polaris Medical Imaging, Virtual Medical Sales, Atlas Medical Technologies of Florida, and Ohio Valley Medical Systems. Other key instructions included advising registered investment adviser BlackRock Kelso Capital Advisors on its sale of substantially all of its business to BlackRock Advisors, and serving as lead outside counsel to Olam Americas in the $176m acquisition of the US’ third-largest peanut sheller McCleskey Mills. In Atlanta, practice head Wade Stribling is ‘a top adviser’, Robert Pile is ‘very helpful and goes to extraordinary lengths to help clients close the deal on reasonable terms’, and Thomas Herman, Marc RaAwls, Matthew Block and David Zimmerman are also recommended. Bert Adams, James Dwyer and Robert Copps are key New York attorneys, while Cynthia Krus, William Dudzinsky Jr and Michael Steinig are highly rated Washington DC attorneys.
Standing out for its knowledge of the regulatory aspects of transactions, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP’s recent matters included advising iSqFt, a software-as-a-service company that serves the construction industry, on its sale to Genstar Capital in what was a complex reverse triangular merger requiring detailed tax analysis. Large deal highlights included advising laser printer manufacturer Lexmark on the acquisition of Kofax for around $1bn. In Cincinnati, Susan Zaunbrecher chairs the corporate department and the business, acquisitions and securities practice; and M&A head John Barnes regularly acts for manufacturing businesses, healthcare clients, and banks and bank holding companies.
Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP is experienced in both private and public company transactions. Highlights included the corporate and securities team advising Conestoga Bancorp on its $105m merger with Beneficial Bancorp. In Princeton, John Stoddard III, who has over 30 years’ experience advising businesses and their officers, directors and owners on their legal and business matters, co-chairs the firm’s M&A and private equity group. Chicago-based David Rubenstein acts for family-owned businesses on sales to public companies, private companies and equity funds; his representative experience includes leading the advice on a public company disposal program, which involved sales of several farm equipment manufacturers, a plastic processor and an oil well services company.
Foley Hoag LLP distinguishes itself through its experience in complex acquisitions and sales of technology and life science companies. Recent sell-side mandates included assisting Quantia during its sale to Physicians Interactive, a provider of digital engagement solutions for healthcare professionals and consumers; it also acted for SunSetter Products in its sale to window hardware supplier Springs Window Fashions. Key buy-side work included advising Alere on its acquisition of substantially all of the assets of US Diagnostics for $60m. Boston-based Alexander Aber and Joseph Basile co-head the M&A team. Peter Rosenblum is also highly rated.
Holland & Knight LLP’s M&A team advises clients in the government contracts, technology, telecoms, healthcare, energy, financial services, maritime and professional services sectors. The team advised US Investigations Services on the sale of its Global Security and Solutions division to services contractor PAE. Other sell-side highlights included assisting Global Net Services with its sale to Information Innovators. William Mutryn in Northern Virginia co-leads the corporate M&A practice. In early 2016, the firm hired a corporate group based in Stamford from Dickstein Shapiro, which included its former corporate and finance practice leader Martin Clarke, Christopher Cerrito, John Flaherty, Thomas Freed, Evan Seideman, Lindsay Sheehy, Gloria Skigen and Victoria Zerjav, as well as New York lawyer Merrill Ulmer.
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton is recommended for its advice on cross-border, leveraged deals, and particularly stands out for IP-related transactions. The team acted for the units of a multinational telecoms corporation on the transfer of speech recognition technology and assets, including certain patents and other IP; and it advised Aaron’s on its $55m purchase of Dent-a-Med, the issuer of The HELP Card. Other highlights included advising insurance services company Fortegra Financial Corporation on its $218m sale to Tiptree Financial, and acting for Bioptigen, known for optical coherence tomography, on its sale to Leica Microsystems. In larger deals, the team acted for Campus Crest Communities in its entry into a $1.9bn merger agreement with Harrison Street Real Estate; it also advised American Tower and its affiliates on the acquisition and leaseback of approximately 6,480 cell towers in Brazil from TIM Celular for approximately $1.2bn. Richard Cicchillo Jr in Atlanta is an expert in transactions in the construction, industrial equipment, aerospace and defense, and telecoms sectors. Raleigh-based Thomas Steed III is also highly rated and, in Silicon Valley, Carole Bellis and David Eaton are noteworthy names. Elsewhere, San Diego-based Kandace Watson and Washington DC-based Gary Bronstein and Joel Rappoport are well respected attorneys.
Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. focuses on emerging and regulated industries, such as communications, digital media, energy, clean technology, healthcare, life sciences and technology. Merger highlights for 2015 included advising Naurex, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, on its merger with global pharmaceutical company Allergan. Boston-based M&A chair Dean Zioze’s representative experience includes advising Philips Healthcare and Philips Lighting on middle-market M&A and other strategic transactions. Michael Fantozzi has extensive M&A experience as both purchaser’s and seller’s counsel, and Gregory Fine is also recommended. In New York, Charlotte Edelman has a strong middle-market transactional practice.
On the buy side, Munger, Tolles & Olson focuses on advising private equity firms, financial sponsors and strategic investors during the negotiations of their acquisitions, ranging from small minority stake purchases to multibillion-dollar company buyouts, and, on the sell side, it typically assists companies, boards, special committees and shareholders plan for and achieve their exit goals. Recent mandates included acting for Lazard as the financial adviser to Ryland Group regarding its merger with Standard Pacific Corporation, which created the fourth-largest homebuilder in the US. In a mega deal, it advised Berkshire Hathaway on its $37.2bn acquisition of Precision Castparts Corporation, reportedly Berkshire’s largest-ever deal. Los Angeles-based Mary Ann Todd and Robert Denham are recommended.
Perkins Coie LLP’s M&A group is active in several industries, including life sciences, telecoms, software, media, REITs, energy and manufacturing. In late 2015, the team acted for Nimes Capital in its acquisition of Togo’s Holdings, the franchisor of Togo’s sandwich shops. Other highlights included assisting Planar Systems (known for display and digital signage technology) on its sale to Leyard American Corporation. San Francisco-based Michael Glaser heads the national practice; and Randy Bridgeman in Chicago, Andrew Moore and Stewart Landefeld in Seattle and Palo Alto-based Fiona Brophy are other key names to note.
From its US offices in Boston, New York and Washington DC, Sullivan & Worcester LLP advises large public companies with aggressive acquisition programs, a nationally known buyout firm, foreign enterprises expanding into the US, and technology companies and family-owned businesses seeking liquidity. It also has a strong REIT practice, representing some of the nation’s largest public and private REITs in their various transactions. In 2015, the team acted for Diversified Business Communications during a series of acquisitions in the health IT and services arena. It also acted as US counsel to ClickSoftware Technologies, a provider of workforce management software, in its agreement to be sold to private funds in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $438m. Other deal highlights included advising Greentube on its acquisition of AbZorba Games; assisting Locus Energy, a solar monitoring and data analytics provider, with its sale to Genscape; and acting for Hospitality Properties Trust (HPT) in a sale-leaseback transaction with TravelCenters of America (TA), whereby HPT acquired 19 travel centers and certain assets owned by TA at 11 travel centers that HPT leases to TA. Boston-based corporate and M&A head Lewis Segall’s clients include major financial institutions, private equity groups, family-owned businesses, family offices and other investors, as well as emerging and established companies engaged in the renewable energy, advertising, healthcare, communications, manufacturing and software sectors; and Carol Wolff acts for emerging and established businesses, including family-owned companies in industries ranging from technology, communications and financial services to manufacturing and distribution.
Thompson Hine LLP stands out in the market for its proprietary SmartPathSM legal project management system, which monitors project work and costs against work plans and budgets. Recent matters include Cincinnati-based David Willbrand acting for real estate technology firm Dotloop in its sale to Zillow Group. In the upper middle-market, corporate transactions and securities chair Frank Chaiken, also in Cincinnati, and Corby Baumann in New York advised Sigma-Tau on the $900m sale of its Oncaspar product portfolio to Baxter International. Elsewhere, Columbus-based Jim Balthaser advised the founders of a specialty manufacturing business on the $315m-plus sale of the business to a private equity fund; Tony Kuhel advised STERIS during three complex acquisitions of privately held companies in the bioscience, surgical equipment repair and sterilization industries; and David Neuhardt in Dayton continued to advise Teradata Corporation on its program of strategic technology acquisitions. Cleveland-based Thomas Aldrich’s industry expertise includes chemicals, electronics, industrial equipment, financial services, medical technology and commercial real estate. New York-based Garrett Evers is another contact.
Particularly strong in energy-related deals, Thompson & Knight LLP’s recent transactional work includes advising EnCap Investments on the $301m sale of all its equity in Paloma Partners III to Gulfport Energy Corporation. Houston-based Michael Pierce’s practice includes advising private equity funds, financial institutions, private and public companies, and other capital providers during investment and M&A transactions, particularly in the natural resources area; and Joe Dannenmaier in Dallas serves clients in the energy, heavy industry, transportation, technology, private equity, venture capital and finance fields.
Arent Fox LLP is particularly strong in heavily regulated sectors, such as sports, hotels, wine and spirits, and healthcare, where the firm brings expert regulatory knowledge along with its transactional advice. It has also seen a significant increase in corporate activity in the restaurant and retail industries. Recent matters included acting for District Photo in its multimillion-dollar acquisition of the Snapfish online photo business from Hewlett-Packard, and, in the government contracting space, it advised the buyer on the acquisition of four business units involved in turbine engines, aerospace, aviation, and air parts and supply. Washington DC-based corporate and securities head Steven Cohen acts for clients in industries as diverse as technology, media, sports, real estate, hospitality and healthcare. Other key practitioners include Amy Donnelly, Deborah Froling, Richard Gale, Jay Halpern, Carter Strong and Jeffrey Jordan.
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP’s business transactions practice has 200-plus lawyers regularly advising companies on deals across the US and globally, and frequently acts alongside the firm’s tax, employment and real estate colleagues on transactions. Over the last 30 years, Seattle-based Bruce Bjerke has handled hundreds of transactions for clients such as Starbucks, Microsoft, Amazon, Red Lion Hotels and Edison Energy, and also counsels boards of directors on corporate governance and strategic planning. Matthew LeMaster heads the firm’s M&A practice and stands out for his expertise in real estate, hospitality and timberlands; in the hotels sector, LeMaster has acted for Red Lion Hotels on multiple acquisitions and sales of hotel properties; in the technology and software sector, his representative experience includes advising the buyer during the acquisition of a company specializing in mouth guard sensors; in manufacturing, distribution and retail matters, he has assisted a building products company during multiple asset acquisitions; and in the services and financial industries, he has advised on asset and stock acquisitions.
Duane Morris LLP is ‘given high marks for the quality of its work and the practice is very responsive to clients’ needs, while its partners and associates show a remarkably good sense of business knowledge’. The team represents early-stage and mature companies in negotiated acquisitions and sales as well as in relation to hostile takeover attempts and defending against them. Highlights included advising Argosy Private Equity on its acquisition of Panhandle Oilfield Service Companies through a newly formed subsidiary, POSC Holding (POSC), and subsequently acting for POSC in its acquisition of Eagle Automation. It also assisted Vonage with the acquisitions of VoIP targets, including gUnify. Former corporate practice head George Nemphos and corporate partner Jay Cohen in Baltimore retired from the practice; Brian Kerwin now chairs the corporate group.
With experience in nearly every major industry sector, Haynes and Boone, L.L.P.’s clients range from private equity firms and closely held corporations to large financial institutions and Fortune 500 public companies. Recent matters included two of its offices advising Houston-based Trademark Construction on its sale to HITT Contracting; it also acted for American Electric Power in the $550m sale of its commercial barge subsidiary to American Commercial Lines. Dallas-based Tom Harris has over 25 years’ experience in acquisitions, divestitures and other corporate matters. Also in Dallas, Janice Sharry, Eric Williams, Scott Wallace and name partner Michael Boone are recommended. Houston-based Ricardo Garcia-Moreno, George Gonzalez, William Nelson and Steven Buxbaum and Fort Worth-based Brian Barnard are experienced attorneys.
Holland & Hart LLP’s M&A group works closely on deals with the firm’s tax, environmental, IP, antitrust, litigation, labor, employee benefits, finance, bankruptcy, real estate, and securities teams. Recent works includes advising family-owned Taos Ski Valley on the successful sale of the New Mexico skiing area to billionaire hedge fund manager and conservationist Louis Bacon. Denver-based Chris Groll advises clients in a variety of industries, including aggregates and cement, beverage distribution, software, telecoms and internet, as well as consumer products, professional services and manufacturing.
Irell & Manella LLP has deal experience on behalf companies from the technology, communications and entertainment sectors, as well as healthcare, biosciences, retail, manufacturing and energy clients. The firm’s private equity deal highlights included advising funds managed by Genstar Capital on acquiring iSqFt and BidClerk, providers of data, analytics and software to the commercial construction industry. The team also acted for media company Network Communications in its sale to CoStar Group in a stock transaction valued at $170m. Los Angeles-based practice heads Joshua Grode and Gregory Klein are recommended.
Lowenstein Sandler LLP’s team is well known for technology, life sciences and biotechnology M&A transactions. In 2015, the team advised Estée Lauder Companies on its investment in South Korean company Have & Be Co, known for skincare brands Dr. Jart+ and Do The Right Thing, and acted for Moelis Capital Partners in its investment in Flexible Architecture and Simplified Technology, a provider of software to the insurance industry. Other recent matters include assisting Lakeland Bancorp with its proposed acquisition of Pascack Bancorp. New York-based M&A chair and transactions and advisory group co-chair Marita Makinen is recommended for technology and consumer industries-related matters. Corporate chair Peter Ehrenberg divides his time between the New York and Roseland, New Jersey offices.
Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP ‘leaves clients feeling very pleased and with a high regard for the firm’s services’, as it provides ‘the depth of talent to deal with both complicated transactional work as well as the routine’. The team acts as outside general counsel to Glencoe, a middle-market private equity firm in the Midwest, and it recently advised the client on its co-investment in the sale of a portfolio company to a SPAC. The practice also acted as US counsel to longstanding client BSM Technologies in its merger with Webtech Wireless; and advised Canada-based Sandstorm Gold on its acquisition of Gold Royalties, pursuant to a plan of arrangement and a corresponding exchange of shares. Chicago-based corporate and securities chair David Stone is ‘a top-notch lawyer, who is knowledgeable, responsive, has good business judgment and does not feel the need to have two or three lawyers at every meeting or on every call’; Michael Gray is ‘incredibly professional, personable and available 24/7 whenever an urgent matter warrants such attention, and the manner with which problems are resolved is both insightful and efficient’. John Koenigsknecht, Cristina DeMento and Joshua Klein are also recommended.
With a primary focus on the middle-market, ‘value for money firm’ Pryor Cashman LLP stands out both for complex transactions and its financing credentials. Highlights included acting for insurance brokerage firm DeWitt Stern in its sale to an affiliate of Risk Strategies Company, advising transportation and logistics services provider Service By Air on its sale to Radiant Global Logistics, and acting for Quaker Pet Group in its merger with Worldwise. New York-based corporate co-chairs Eric Hellige and John Crowe are recommended. Hellige is a veteran of complex M&A who has closed acquisitions and sales for clients from the energy, technology, information services, mining, pharmaceutical, consulting and financial services sectors; Crowe is particularly attuned to the needs of middle-market companies seeking acquisition opportunities. Ali Panjwani, Edward Normandin, Richard Frazer and Lawrence Spector are also key contacts.
Robinson & Cole LLP’s clients range from technology startups to multinational corporations, and a significant part of the firm’s transactional work is cross-border. Stamford-based Eric Kogan chairs the business transactions group and has significant experience working with emerging, middle-market and multinational clients in the digital media, consumer products, food and beverage, and technology sectors. Stephen Cooper’s experience includes advising an e-commerce business on the sale of a majority interest to a private equity investor. Other key partners include Matthew Guanci Jr, Edward Samorajczyk, international practice chair William Sellay in Hartford, Michael Wirvin in Boston, and Stephen Hanson in New York. Former business transactions chair Eric Dale joined Nielsen as chief legal officer.
Schiff Hardin LLP has acted as lead counsel in hundreds of successfully completed investments, mergers, acquisitions, MBOs, spin-offs, going-private transactions and dispositions, with deals ranging in size from several million to several billion dollars. Highlights included advising two private equity firms on their acquisition of a group specializing in the production, packaging, assembly, and distribution of food products. It also acted for a residential and commercial roofing materials and building products distributor during its acquisition of a roofing products distributor. Corporate and transactional leader Stephen Dragich, deputy M&A practice head Alexander Young and Matthew Galo are highly rated and are based in Chicago. Gina Betts is a respected Dallas attorney.
Bass, Berry & Sims PLC has particularly strong government contractor and healthcare M&A practices. The team assisted Engility Holdings with its acquisition of TASC, advised Gen Cap America on its acquisition of Aero Systems Engineering, and acted for Emergent BioSolutions in the government contract aspects of its acquisition of assets relating to a contract with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. In the healthcare space, it advised Little Hills Healthcare on its sale to CenterPointe Behavioral Health System, and acted for Healthways in its disposition of Navvis Healthcare. Todd Overman in Washington DC is chair of the firm’s government contracts practice and has more than a decade of experience advising companies on doing business with the federal government. Nashville-based Riney Green has 25 years-plus experience in guiding middle-market companies and private equity sponsors through M&A, dispositions and other strategic growth initiatives, and provides M&A and corporate governance counsel to a publicly traded long-term care company. Allen Overby, also in Nashville, focuses mainly on public company M&A transactions in the $50m-$1bn range, with an emphasis on cross-border M&A and strategic transactions.
Brown Rudnick LLP has a particular focus on emerging technology companies, regularly advising businesses involved in software, life sciences, medical devices, semiconductors and digital media. In 2015, it acted for Mumbai-based pharmaceutical company Lupin in its agreement to acquire privately held GAVIS Pharmaceuticals and Novel Laboratories. Other cross-border matters included assisting nanoMR with its sale to British firm DNA Electronics. Boston-based corporate and capital markets managing director Samuel Williams advises public and privately held corporations in a variety of industries, including IT, semiconductors, communications and other hi-tech sectors.
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP is experienced in advising private and public companies on LBOs as well as asset and equity acquisitions and dispositions, and stands out in particular for deals involving troubled companies or corporate restructurings. Denver-based Elizabeth Paulsen has handled several high-profile online gaming industry deals; and Gino Maurelli specializes in middle-market M&A and private equity deals, and has significant experience in consumer products, technology, healthcare, cable and telecoms, financial services and manufacturing.
Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP ‘performs extremely well in the middle market’. The M&A group is particularly active on behalf of clients operating in the energy, commodities, telecoms, manufacturing, transportation and technology industries. In recent matters, the team advised a group of class A shareholders of DeMoulas Super Markets on the sale of their shares and the shares of other class A shareholders. Buy-side highlights saw the practice act for India-based venture capital-backed start-up Zomato Media Private in the acquisition of substantially all of Urbanspoon’s assets from Wanderspot. In New York, Lawrence Goodman and Jeffrey Ostrager, who is ‘very smart, thorough and works day and night’, are recommended.
Dickinson Wright PLLC’s ‘strong industry sector expertise’ includes financial services, media, sports, real estate and consumer product manufacturers. The ‘very strong team’ acted as lead counsel to Diversified Restaurant Holdings in the $54m acquisition of 18 Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants; it also advised consumer sporting goods retailer Summit Sports on its sale to private equity group Digital Fuel Capital. Richard Bolton, Mark High and Michael Raymond in Michigan are recommended.
Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. has over 40 years of experience performing healthcare transactions, and, in February 2015, it added a group of 15 healthcare transactional lawyers in New York and New Jersey, further strengthening its capabilities in this area. It advised Palmetto Health on a transaction to acquire the assets of Tuomey Healthcare System, which will result in the largest healthcare system in South Carolina. In Washington DC, Steven Epstein, Douglas Hastings, Katherine Lofft and Mark Lutes are recommended; and Jeffrey Becker and John Gleason are key New York advisers. Chicago-based Amy Dow and Kevin Ryan, as well as Paul Gomez in Los Angeles, are also names to note.
Gardere Wynne Sewell has significant experience representing family-owned and other closely held companies, and stands out for pre-transaction planning, particularly with respect to estate and other tax matters. Key work included advising Niteo Products on its carved-out asset purchase of the Valvoline car-care products division of Ashland, and assisting the North American division of an international public transport operator with its purchase of Brooklyn-based bus company Trans Express and its affiliates. In the financial service space, it advised the largest non-bank provider of automated teller machines in the world, Cardtronics USA, on its $160m acquisition and merger with Welch ATM. In sell-side matters, the team acted for family-owned equipment rental business Texas Gulf Refrigeration in the sale of substantially all of the company’s assets to Sunbelt Rentals. Corporate co-chairs Daniel Cohen in Houston and Dallas-based Michael Newman are highly rated.
Hunton & Williams LLP’s M&A group has significant deal experience in the energy, manufacturing, technology, financial services and consumer products industries. M&A practice head Gary Thompson in Richmond has over 30 years of experience advising public companies on M&A, and has acted for Raytheon Company in multiple acquisitions. Corporate head Justin Moore III in New York represents clients in the consumer products, financial services, energy, software, healthcare, chemicals and manufacturing sectors; and Miami-based Latin America practice head Fernando Alonso has particular experience in the energy, infrastructure and telecoms industries. Banking-related deals included advising Promerica Financial Corp. on the acquisition from Citibank of the stock of Banco Citibank de Guatemala and three affiliate entities. In healthcare matters, the team acted for DoctorDirectory.com and its shareholders on its $65m sale to Everyday Health. Other matters saw the team advising multinational gardening products company Scotts Miracle-Gro on its purchase of the business assets of General Hydroponics and some of its affiliates for $126m.
Kleinberg, Kaplan, Wolff & Cohen, P.C. ‘has strong corporate law knowledge and provides a very personal service at reasonable prices’. The team’s expertise includes advising domestic and overseas clients on proxy contests and tender offers, public and private mergers and distressed M&A, and particularly stands out for its advice to activist investors. High-profile international matters include advising e-cigarette company Logic Technology Development on its sale to a major foreign buyer. Other work included acting for D3 Family of Funds on the sale of its interests in Pediatric Services Holding Corporation. M&A and investor activism group chair Christopher Davis is recommended.
From its five offices in Florida, Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A. advises national and local companies from the healthcare, software development, plastics manufacturing, water utilities, printing, retail, and real estate development sectors, and has experience in the securities law and corporate governance aspects of M&A deals. In the automotive sector, the practice advised E-Z Rent-A-Car on its sale and subsequent merger into Advantage Rent A Car, creating the fourth-largest rental car company in the US. Orlando-based Peter Reinert heads the corporate and securities group.
A significant part of McGuireWoods LLP’s practice consists of representing strategic buyers, and a large percentage of its clients are serial acquirers. The team acted for Dominion Midstream Partners in its $290m acquisition of an approximately 50% interest in Iroquois Gas Transmission System, while on the sell side it acted for The Warren Alpert Foundation in its sale of Warren Equities for approximately $400m. It also advised Milestone Equipment Holdings on its merger with a motor carrier equipment owner and lessor. Scott Westwood in Pittsburgh chairs the M&A and cross-border transactions department.
Delaware law firm Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP is ‘very professional, responsive and knowledgeable, and provides valuable and practical advice’. The team advises clients on complex corporate transactions and corporate governance issues in Delaware, acting for boards of directors or board committees, particularly in transactions that may involve director or stockholder conflicts of interest. Recent matters included advising downstream energy company Delek US on its acquisition of a 48% stake in Alon USA Energy; it also acted for Zep in its sale to private equity firm New Mountain Capital. In larger deals, it served as Delaware counsel in relation to Bayer’s acquisition of the consumer care business of Merck & Co. Commercial law specialists David Harris and Louis Hering are recommended. ‘In addition to being very knowledgeable and experienced’, Hering ‘is particularly courteous and attentive, always making himself available and handling all matters with sensitivity and effectiveness’. Corporate counseling experts Eric Klinger-Wilensky and Andrew Johnston are also key advisers.
‘Taking care of clients in a cost-efficient manner and ensuring that all details are addressed and completed’, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP ‘really knows its clients’ business, provides excellent response times and prioritizes its tasks well, with the excellent legal representation provided in a calm manner’. The group stands out for its advice to start-ups, but also has a diverse mixture of mature technology, healthcare, business services, and manufacturing and distribution clients. In healthcare matters, it advised On Assignment on the sale of the stock of its physician staffing subsidiary VISTA Staffing Solutions to Envision Healthcare and its subsidiary EmCare Holdings. Other sell-side highlights included acting for US distributor of carbon fittings and flanges Dodson Global in the sale of all of its stock to Texas Pipe and Supply Company, and assisting Colo Facilities Atlanta with its sale to an affiliate of bandwidth infrastructure services provider Zayo. The team heads are Atlanta-based Rhys Wilson, who ‘keeps himself informed, supports clients in ways that are helpful and helps get them in a win-win position with their acquisition targets or buyers of their businesses’; ‘best of the best’ Phillip Cooper, who is ‘smart, thorough, responsive and totally dependable’; and Michael Hollingsworth II. Gus Dixon is a key Columbia-based adviser.
Richards, Layton & Finger, P.A.’s practice continues to excel as Delaware counsel in M&A transactions, while also standing out for corporate governance issues. Key deals included assisting Ciena Corporation with its acquisition of Cyan for approximately $400m, and acting for Procera Networks in its sale to private funds in an all-cash transaction valued at $240m. Upper middle-market matters included advising organic and natural food maker Annie’s on its $821m sale to General Mills; and, in large deals, it was Delaware counsel to Allergan in its sale to Actavis, and acted for Rockwood Holdings in its sale to Albemarle Corporation in a cash and stock deal. Donald Bussard is the senior member of the corporate department’s transactional group and William Haubert is ‘incredibly knowledgeable about Delaware law and M&A matters; he is also quite practical, thoughtful and an excellent communicator’. Michael Allen, Stephen Bigler, Mark Gentile and John Mark Zeberkiewicz are also key advisers.
Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP’s industry expertise includes insurance brokers, environment and energy, technology, and retail and consumer goods. The firm’s M&A lawyers also work with private equity and family-owned businesses as well as nonprofit organizations and international corporations, and its attorneys have continued to handle a substantial number of cross-border transactions, representing corporate clients, private equity funds and significant shareholders in cash and stock-for-stock mergers, auctions and divestitures, stock and asset purchases, spin-offs, and restructurings. The team recently acted for insurance brokerage B&B Coverage in the sale of assets to Acrisure for $21.5m, and assisted CECEP Solar Energy Hong Kong Corporation with its sale of Italian photovoltaic projects to Solar Power. It also advised Smartpool on the acquisition of the outstanding common stock of solar water heaters manufacturer Aquatherm Industries. Megan Harmon in Pittsburgh and Sarah Hewitt, who is based in the New York and Philadelphia offices, are the recommended M&A chairs.
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP counsels clients in a wide variety of industries, including energy, manufacturing, insurance, real estate, financial services, gaming, and media and entertainment. Its M&A lawyers in New York, Los Angeles and Washington DC work closely with colleagues in financial restructuring, tax, employee benefits and executive compensation, environmental, IP, antitrust and takeover litigation. Recent matters included acting for Broadridge Financial Solutions (and its subsidiary MG Trust Company), a provider of investor communications and technology services, on the acquisition of the trade processing business of Wilmington Trust, National Association, Wilmington Trust Retirement and Institutional Services Company, and Wilmington Trust Fiduciary Services Company. In the insurance sector, it acted for New York-based Reservoir Capital Group and Prosperity Life Insurance Group (Prosperity) in the merger of a Prosperity subsidiary with a holding company formed by SBLI USA Mutual Life Insurance. New York-based department head Todd Lenson, Christopher Doyle, Bradley Kulman, Jordan Rosenbaum and Matthew Schwartz are recommended. Ray LaSoya in Los Angeles is also highly rated.
Troutman Sanders is known for its strong expertise in the energy, finance, technology and biotechnology sectors. In energy matters, it assisted Pacific Ethanol with the acquisition of Aventine Renewable Energy Holdings in a share-for-share $175m merger. It also acted as lead counsel to ARRIS Group in the $155m acquisition of ActiveVideo Networks by A-C Atlas Acquisition, a joint venture between ARRIS Group and Charter Communications. Large deal highlights included acting for snack food maker Snyder’s-Lance on its acquisition of Diamond Foods, the transaction valued at $1.9bn. David Meyers, who is ‘great to have on your side of the table’, in Richmond and Atlanta-based Andrea Farley are department heads. Other key advisers include Mason Bayler Jr in Richmond, Larry Cerutti in Orange County, Charlotte-based Paul Steffens and Kevin Christmas, and John McDonald and Michael Weinsier in New York.