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Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

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Steven Torello

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Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Work Department

Corporate & Financial Services


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United States: Industry focus

Energy: transactions: oil and gas

Within: Energy: transactions: oil and gas

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is 'unique' due to 'the depth of knowledge it has about various aspects of the energy industry, as well as the technical acumen and commercial instincts that its lawyers offer'. Jointly headed by Bruce Herzog and Michael De Voe Piazza, the latter of whom is among ‘the foremost private investment attorneys in the energy space', the Houston-based team has experience of upstream and midstream asset acquisitions and disposals, the negotiation of drilling partnerships and other joint venture agreements, and energy finance and capital markets transactions. Piazza advised Samson Resources II on the sale of its East Texas and North Louisiana assets to an affiliate of Rockcliff Energy II for a cash purchase price of $525m. Another recommended lawyer is Cody Carper, who is ‘extremely responsive, informed, and commercial in negotiations’. Archie Fallon joined the team from King & Spalding LLP, Steven Torello joined from DLA Piper LLP (US), and Washington DC-based Norman Bay joined from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

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United States: M&A/corporate and commercial

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

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

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP has a steady stream of big-ticket M&A engagements and continues to expand its senior team. In addition to several partner promotions, the firm hired Matthew Rizzo and Jessica Sheridan from Sidley Austin LLP. The Houston office was also reinforced with Archie Fallon and Steven Torello joining from King & Spalding LLP and DLA Piper LLP (US) respectively. This has further enhanced the firm's already strong energy credentials. It also has 'great depth and expertise in insurance M&A', 'a can do attitude' and 'is willing to work day and night to make a timeline'. The firm illustrated its financial services M&A expertise when it advised Assurant, the global risk management solutions provider, on its $2.5bn acquisition of The Warranty Group, the global provider of protection plans and related programs. It also advised Aetna on the $21.45bn sale of its US group life and disability business to The Hartford. Moreover, it advised AmTrust Financial Services’s special committee on a $2.95bn take private transaction involving the business's management group and private equity investors. Other key partners include co-chairs of the M&A group David Boston and Steven Seidman and financial services M&A expert Gregory Astrachan, who has 'excellent technical expertise, extensive market knowledge, a can do attitude and is a pleasure to work with'. Houston-based energy M&A specialists Michael De Voe Piazza and Cody Carper are also recommended. All partners are New York-based unless stated otherwise.

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Private equity buyouts

Within: Private equity buyouts

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP continued to expand its team with the hires of Matthew Rizzo and Jessica Sheridan from Sidley Austin LLP, where Rizzo was a practice area team leader; the two have an especially strong record in healthcare and healthcare services deals. In addition, energy sector specialists Steven Torello and Archie Fallon have joined the Houston office from DLA Piper LLP (US) and King & Spalding LLP. The reinforced team has an especially fine record in the middle to upper-middle market. Department members are 'client-oriented', 'extremely talented, hard working, creative and commercial'.  Clients include Warburg Pincus, Insight Venture Partners, Court Square, Centerbridge Partners and Genstar Capital. The firm has advised Genstar Capital and its portfolio company Apex Fund Services on a series of deals, including Apex's multi-jurisdictional acquisition of Deutsche Bank Alternative Fund Services, among other financial services deals. It also advised Insight Venture Partners on a number of transactions, including its $1.16bn acquisition in Episerver. Other key partners include chairman Steven Gartner, and co-chairs of the private equity practice Jeffrey Poss and Neil Townsend; Poss is 'a fantastic partner', 'extremely commercial, very practical, very closely engaged on projects and able to efficiently leverage his team'. Co-head of the energy practice and Houston managing partner Bruce Herzog is another key contact. The named partners are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

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