Kirkland, King & Spalding, K&L Gates,S&C: Business of Law

Kirkland & Ellis LLP hired two West Coast corporate attorneys with high-profile mergers and acquisitions experience, Michael S. Ringler and Rick C. Madden.

Ringler, previously a mergers and acquisitions partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC, joins the San Francisco office. Madden, previously a corporate partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, will be based in Los Angeles. Both are partners.

Ringler has public company transactional experience in Northern California, with a focus on the technology sector. He recently represented Meraki Inc. in its $1.2 billion sale to Cisco Systems Inc.; salesforce.com in its $750 million acquisition of Buddy Media Inc.; and Taleo Corp. in its $2.1 billion sale to Oracle Corp., among others.

Madden focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions for public and private companies and private equity firms, out-of- court restructurings, and securities offerings, the firm said. Madden’s representations include Joltid Limited, a member of the investor group in Skype Global S.a r.l., in connection with Microsoft Corp.’s $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype; Centro Properties Group in its $9.4 billion sale of its U.S. shopping centers to Blackstone Group LP, among other matters, the firm said.

“They both add geographical and industry experience to our group and complement the multidisciplinary M&A practice that we have been building at the firm,” David Fox, a partner in the New York office and member of Kirkland’s global management executive committee, said in a statement. “We continue to have the fastest growing and busiest practice, and pride ourselves on providing clients with creative solutions for the most challenging transactions.”

Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a 1,600-attorney law firm with 10 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

King & Spalding Hires Paul Hastings Team in Atlanta

King & Spalding LLP recruited a team of three partners and two lawyers from Paul Hastings LLP to join its financial institutions practice in Atlanta.

Jesse H. Austin, III, a lending-side bankruptcy and restructuring lawyer, joined last week as a partner in the financial institutions practice. The week before, partners Chris D. Molen and J. Craig Lee, joined the firm along with two associates, also in the financial institutions practice in Atlanta.

The new hires “significantly increases our bench strength for serving our leveraged-lending clients,” Richard T. Marooney, co-leader of King & Spalding’s financial institutions practice said in a statement.

Austin focuses primarily on the representation of institutional senior secured lenders in syndicated credit facilities and has experience in debtor-in-possession lending.

Molen focuses on commercial and banking transactions, debt restructuring and workouts, with particular experience in the financing of merger and acquisition deals, asset-based financing, leveraged finance and health care and communications industry lending practices, the firm said.

Lee focuses on debt financing transactions, representing creditors, investors and borrowers. He has experience in secured and unsecured credit facilities, bankruptcies, reorganizations and workouts, cross-border transactions, acquisitions, recapitalizations and other leveraged financings, according to a firm statement.

“We wish our former partners the very best at their new firm,” Allan Whitescarver, a Paul Hastings spokesman said on a phone call.

King & Spalding’s financial institutions practice has more than 100 lawyers across the firm’s 17 offices in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

K&L Gates Hires Two Lateral Partners in Boston

K&L Gates LLP expanded its Boston office with the addition of two new partners, Mark L. Johnson and Paulo J. Marnoto. Johnson joins the firm’s corporate securities and finance practice from Cooley LLP, along with two associates. Marnoto joins the firm’s private equity and fund formation practice from Ropes & Gray LLP.

Johnson advises issuers, investment banks, and investors in public offerings and other financings. He advises public and private companies on ongoing corporate matters, including merger and acquisition transactions and corporate governance issues.

Marnoto has experience in the areas of fund formation and investing; venture capital, securities, buyout, and international transactions; general corporate law; and securities law compliance, the firm said. The associates from Cooley have experience in capital markets transactions and public and private company representation

Mark E. Haddad, administrative partner of K&L Gates’ Boston office said in a statement of the hires, “With their extensive transactional experience, they will play important roles in our expanding Boston corporate practice and, at the same time, they will be able to better serve their clients on the K&L Gates platform, one of the legal profession’s largest and most integrated global platforms.”

K&L Gates has lawyers at 47 offices in the U.S., Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and South America.

Sutherland Asbill Rehires Tax Partner in Washington

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP rehired Todd A. Lard as a partner in the state and local tax practice in Washington. Lard worked at the Council On State Taxation for the last five years, most recently as its vice president and general counsel. Prior to joining COST, he was counsel at Sutherland.

At COST, Lard led a legal team that oversaw legislative, administrative and judicial advocacy, the firm said in a statement.

Sutherland Asbill has about 425 lawyers at six offices in the U.S. and London.

Video

M&A Looking Up in 2013; ‘The Negatives Are Built In’

Frank Aquila, partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, talks with Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia about the prospects for mergers and acquisitions activity in 2013.

Aquila notes that while 2012 was something of a disappointment, we are off to a strong start in 2013 with several indications for a solid year for dealmakers.

Terminal Users: Click here to play video.

Balto Says Herbalife Is Not ‘Traditional’ Ponzi Scheme

David Balto, antitrust attorney and former policy director at the Federal Trade Commission, talks about the FTC’s position on Herbalife Ltd., which William Ackman of Pershing Square Capital alleges is a pyramid scheme.

Balto speaks with Deirdre Bolton on Bloomberg Television’s “Lunch Money.”

Terminal Users: click here to play video.

News

Vatican Names German Lawyer as New Head of Embattled Bank

The Vatican appointed a German lawyer and financial adviser to lead its bank, nine months after its previous head was ousted amid a money laundering probe.

Ernst von Freyberg, 54, a member of the religious order of the Knights of Malta, is founder of a Frankfurt-based financial advisory company currently called DC Advisory Partners. Von Freyberg was among 40 candidates and appointed by a commission of cardinals with the consent of the pope, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said at a press briefing in Rome.

Von Freyberg brings “vast experience of financial matters and the financial-regulatory process,” the Vatican said in a statement on its website today.

Filling the post was seen as one of the most important acts pending completion before Benedict XVI’s resignation on Feb. 28, which will make him the first pontiff to quit in nearly 600 years.

The Vatican bank, which is formally called the Institute for the Works of Religion, or IOR, had been under the interim leadership of its vice chairman since the board of directors ousted former head Ettore Gotti Tedeschi in May last year for “failing to carry out various duties of primary importance,” according to a May 24 statement by Lombardi.

He and Director General Paolo Cipriani were placed under investigation for allegedly omitting data in wire transfers from an Italian account. Prosecutors seized 23 million euros ($30.7 million) from a Rome bank account registered to the IOR amid suspicion of violations of money-laundering rules.

The Italian prosecutors’ probe triggered calls to bring the city-state in line with European Union financial rules and become more transparent.

Von Freyberg’s appointment also raised questions because of his ties with Hamburg-based Blohm & Voss group, a German shipbuilder that includes warships among its product line. Von Freyberg has served as chairman of the company since 2012, according to the Vatican website.

Von Freyberg’s connection to the ship-making company is not an issue, Lombardi said Feb. 15, praising his “human and Christian sensibility” as well as his “competence.”

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Firm News

Linklaters, Sidley Austin, Gibson Win Singapore Law Licenses

Linklaters LLP, Sidley Austin LLP Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and Jones Day won licenses to practice local corporate law in Singapore as the Southeast Asian city further opens its legal market.

The firms have six months from April 1 to start their operations as Qualifying Foreign Law Practices and the licenses are valid for five years, Singapore’s law ministry said in an e- mailed statement today. Twenty-three law firms had applied.

International law firms have expanded in Asia citing a shift in global business activity to the region. Singapore has opened its legal market to boost its reputation as a financial center and as cross-border deals rise. The city awarded the first six licenses allowing foreign firms to practice Singapore corporate law and hire locally-qualified lawyers in 2008.

The second round of licenses “marks Singapore’s continued push to broaden and deepen its legal services market,” the law ministry said in the statement.

The four firms, ranked among the world’s top 20 law firms, have extensive global networks and expertise in key practice areas that will support Singapore’s economy and the development of its legal services, the ministry said.

“We’ve seen a substantial increase in the frequency and complexity of transactions negotiated from Singapore,” said Sushma Jobanputra, partner-in-charge of Jones Day’s Singapore office, which has 27 lawyers. “We have fairly aggressive plans for Singapore.”

Mergers and acquisitions in Southeast Asia rose 45 percent to $140.9 billion in 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The value of such deals globally fell 7.8 percent to $2.23 trillion, the data show.

London-based Linklaters, the No. 2 legal adviser on mergers and acquisitions in 2012 according to data compiled by Bloomberg, last year ended an 11-year-old joint venture with Singapore firm Allen & Gledhill LLP.

The license will “open up further opportunities for Singapore lawyers in international practice and help internationalize the Singapore legal profession,” Kevin Wong, managing partner of Linklaters’ Singapore office, said in an e- mailed statement today.

Chicago-based Sidley Austin opened office in Singapore in 1982, its first in Asia. Gibson Dunn, based in Los Angeles, has over 1,000 lawyers in 17 offices.

Washington-based Jones Day, which opened its Singapore office in 2001, was one of 20 firms which applied in the first round in 2008 on the day Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. filed for bankruptcy.

All four winners had revenues of at least $1.17 billion in the latest fiscal year, placing them among the world’s 20 biggest law firms, according to trade magazine American Lawyer.

Singapore’s legal services market has expanded 27 percent to S$1.9 billion ($1.5 billion) in 2012 from S$1.5 billion in 2008, according to the law ministry.

White & Case LLP, Latham & Watkins LLP, Clifford Chance LLP, Herbert Smith LLP, Allen & Overy LLP and Norton Rose LLP had committed to doubling their revenue, staffing and profits in the city in five years when they won licenses in 2008.

The second batch of licenses comes as some international firms including DLA Piper LLP, Allen & Overy and Eversheds LLP move jobs to cheaper locations or cut positions to trim costs.

Singapore started opening its legal market in 1981 by allowing foreign banks to bring in lawyers from New York, London and Hong Kong to advise on some offshore transactions. In 2000, the Asian city formalized collaborations between foreign law firms and local ones by allowing joint ventures and alliances.

Since then, the number of foreign lawyers registered in Singapore has more than doubled to 1,304 as of September from 630 in 2007, according to figures from the Attorney-General’s Chambers, which also regulates foreign lawyers.

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Anderson Kill & Olick Opens Office in Burlington, Vermont

Anderson Kill & Olick PC, which primarily represents policyholders in insurance coverage disputes, opened a new office in Burlington, Vermont.

Marshall Gilinsky, a shareholder in the firm’s insurance recovery group, will head the new office, which will focus on insurance recovery on behalf of captive insurance firms in disputes with their reinsurance providers, the firm said.

Gilinsky works on behalf of captive insurance companies as well as on property insurance, commercial general liability insurance, professional errors and omissions, insurance and directors’ and officers’ insurance matters.

Anderson Kill has lawyers at seven U.S. offices.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Amon in Brooklyn, New York, at eamon2@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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