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Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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Peter Martelli

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Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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With a practice focusing on mergers and acquisitions, Peter Martelli regularly represents private equity firms and public companies in acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures and investments. His transactional experience spans the range of M&A activity including many significant leveraged buyouts, strategic mergers and cross-border transactions. He also counsels public company clients on governance, securities and other corporate matters.


New York University School of Law, J.D., 2000; Cornell University, B.S., 1997

United States: Industry focus

Healthcare: life sciences

Within: Healthcare: life sciences

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s group has notable strength in contentious matters, including product liability, False Claims Act and securities litigation. In Chicago, James Hurst successfully defended Abbott Laboratories in a False Claims Act case brought by a former employee. Jay Lefkowitz and Devora Allon represented Upsher-Smith Laboratories in a price-fixing class action regarding a generic blood pressure medication. Leora Ben-Ami, Thomas Fleming and Christopher Jagoe have been assisting Teva Pharmaceuticals and its subsidiary Actavis Laboratories with patent infringement litigation regarding the Neupro drug. On the corporate side, Peter Martelli advised Blackstone on its $6.1bn acquisition of TeamHealth. All partners are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

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United States: M&A/corporate and commercial

M&A: large deals ($1bn+)

Within: M&A: large deals ($1bn+)

Kirkland & Ellis LLP has invested heavily in its M&A practice over the last decade and recently welcomed Eric Schiele from Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. Clients now point to the ‘extremely high availability and deep bench’ at a firm that has ‘expanded its presence’ in key locations such as Houston, where ‘very strong lawyerAndrew Calder is at the forefront of energy M&A and private equity. Calder led the team that advised Energy Future Holdings on its $18.8bn sale to a newly formed subsidiary of Sempra Energy, which included its 80% indirect interest in Oncor Electric Delivery. The firm has a consistent pipeline of significant strategic M&A deals as well as takeover and activist defense engagements. In 2017, it advised Amsterdam-based AkzoNobel on its successful takeover defense against PPG’s $29.5bn merger proposal; this work included the successful defense against Elliott Management’s attempt to remove Antony Burgmans as chairman of AkzoNobel. In another marquee matter, it advised Huntsman Corporation on its $20bn all-stock merger of equals with Clariant. The firm’s ambitious lateral recruitment strategy continues to pay dividends with Jonathan Davis, a 2016 hire from Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, advising Mead Johnson Nutrition on its $17.9bn acquisition by UK-headquartered Reckitt Benckiser Group, one of the largest UK to US transactions in history. David Fox operates at the top of the market, as do Daniel Wolf, Sarkis Jebejian, David Feirstein and Peter Martelli. Chicago-based Scott Falk is ‘a truly effective advocate’ who is ‘very effective at guiding the deal to meet the greater corporate goal’. Dean Shulman provides tax advice on M&A transactions and Washington DC’s Mario Mancuso is a formidable CFIUS specialist. Attorneys are based in New York unless stated otherwise. In March 2019, William Sorabella moved to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

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Private equity buyouts

Within: Private equity buyouts

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s inexorable rise continues. The firm has retained its core client base of big names such as Madison Dearborn and Bain Capital, while developing tighter relationships with the likes of Blackstone, KKR, Cerberus Capital Management, Thomas H Lee Partners and TPG. The firm established a Boston office in 2017 with a series of key partner relocations and several lateral hires, including private equity specialist Matthew Cohn from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. This follows a number of recent lateral recruits in New York and Houston, two key private equity locations. The ‘top-echelon and pre-eminent law firm’ is the ‘crème de la crème’ and is commended for its oil and gas expertise thanks to its ‘unmatched knowledge and transaction expertise’. The ‘commercial’ team ‘can work faster than anyone without forgoing work quality’. In 2017, the firm advised anchor client Bain Capital on a $3.2bn carve-out acquisition from Sealed Air of its Diversey Care division and the food hygiene and cleaning business of its Food Care division. It also advised Blackstone on its $4.8bn acquisition of Aon’s technology-enabled benefits and human resources platform and its $6.1bn acquisition of TeamHealth Holdings. Beyond these large cap-deals, the firm also operates a market-leading mid-market practice. Notable partners include Jon Ballis, Sanford Perl, Matthew Steinmetz, Richard Campbell and New York’s Eunu Chun. Stephen Ritchie and Walter Holzer are ‘extremely practical and business minded’, they ‘consider the upside of every obstacle’ and are ‘very problem solving and creative’. New York’s Peter Martelli has played a key role in cementing the firm’s connection to Blackstone and Andrew Calder is a star performer in Houston. New York-based Michael Weisser and Leo Greenberg are also prominent names, Jeremy Lissis a rare M&A attorney with the ability to cut across multiple practice areas and solve problems’, and Corey Fox is a ‘super star’ whose ‘personal skills set him apart’. Jeffrey Seifman is ‘straightforward, cuts through the nonsense and is able to build consensus on very complex matters’. Steven Napolitano and Brendan Head joined from DLA Piper LLP (US) in May 2018. Attorneys are based in Chicago unless stated otherwise.

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IHL Briefings

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United States: Private Equity

January 2019. By Peter Martelli, Partner

This country-specific Q&A provides an overview to private equity laws and regulations that may occur in  United States . This Q&A is part of the global guide to Private Equity. [Continue Reading]

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