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Munger, Debevoise, Morgan Lewis: Business of Law

Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP advised Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. on its agreement to buy closely held Oriental Trading Co., the U.S. direct retailer of party and craft supplies. Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is advising Orient Trading.

The Munger Tolles team includes Mary Ann Todd, Renee Delphin-Rodriguez and John Senior, corporate; Stephen Rose and Patrick Anderson, tax; and Williana Chang, executive compensation/employee benefits.

Debevoise partner Sarah A.W. Fitts is leading the team for Oriental. The team also includes partners Gary M. Friedman and Elizabeth Pagel Serebransky.

The acquisition of the firm, based in Buffett’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, will be completed this month, Berkshire said yesterday in a statement, without disclosing terms. Berkshire will pay about $500 million for Oriental Trading, according to a person familiar with the transaction who declined to be identified because the details are private.

Buffett, 82, has been making smaller acquisitions as he searches for larger takeovers to expand the firm he built over four decades by buying stocks such as Coca-Cola Co. and companies including railroad Burlington Northern Santa Fe. The billionaire’s acquisitions this year include a food distributor, newspapers and a building insulation maker. The addition of Oriental Trading will add to Berkshire’s retail operations, which span jewelers to candy stores.

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Kirkland, Mayer Brown Advise GTCR on Purchase of Premium Credit

Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Mayer Brown LLP advised private equity firm GTCR in its $1.45 billion acquisition of Premium Credit Ltd. from MBNA Europe, a Bank of America Corp. unit.

The Kirkland team was led by Chicago private equity partner Stephen Ritchie. It also included London private equity partner Gavin Gordon and partner Christopher Greeno on the corporate side. Tax partners William Welke, Ian Taplin and Mike Carew, finance partner Scott Gordon and IP partner Shannon Yavorsky also worked on the deal.

From Mayer Brown, banking and finance partner Bruce Bloomingdale led a team.

Premium Credit provides payment facilitation and financing services in the U.K. and Ireland. GTCR is partnering with new Chief Executive Officer Andrew Doman and the existing management of Premium Credit to recapitalize the company and further invest in its technology and services, according to a statement.


Jones Day Hires Allens Partners in Singapore

Jones Day hired Allens partners Darren Murphy and Matthew Skinner, who headed the Asian dispute resolution practice, as partners in the firm’s Singapore office.

Murphy, who joins the Asia energy practice, has experience advising on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and development of projects throughout Asia, including in Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Mongolia, Thailand, Cambodia and Australia.

Skinner, who joins the Global Disputes practice, has experience in court and arbitration tribunals, as well as in mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. His practice has an emphasis on international arbitration, contractual disputes and regulatory investigations. He will work closely with the energy practice, the firm said.

Jones Day has 2,400 lawyers in 35 offices worldwide.

Locke Lord Hires London M&A/Capital Markets Partner

Corporate finance lawyer James Channo joined the London office of Locke Lord LLP as a partner. He was previously at Fox Williams LLP.

Channo will work on corporate matters, including AIM and Main Market listings, cross-border mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and other transactional work. His experience extends to jurisdictions such as Spain, Latin America and Australia.

His practice focuses on energy and equity capital markets for oil and gas and mining companies and acting for corporate finance houses. He has wide-ranging experience in the hotel, leisure and retail sectors.

Locke Lord LLP has more than 650 lawyers in 13 offices in the U.S., London and Hong Kong.

Pepper Hamilton Hires Two IP Partners in Boston

Pepper Hamilton LLP hired Thomas J. Engellenner and Reza Mollaaghababa as partners in the intellectual property transactions and rights management practice group in Boston.

Both lawyers were previously partners at Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, where Engellenner was chair of the firm’s life sciences practice group, the firm said in a statement.

Engellenner’s practice includes patents, licensing, trademarks, copyrights and litigation. He has particular focus on the patenting and licensing of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

Mollaaghababa’s practice focuses on intellectual property law, including prosecution of patent and trademark applications, and preparation of patentability, infringement, validity and clearance opinions.

Pepper Hamilton LLP 500 lawyers in 12 U.S. offices.

Mintz Levin Hires Former Energy Official in Boston

Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC hired Haynes and Boone LLP partner Paul Dickerson, a former U.S. Department of Energy senior official, as of counsel in the Boston office.

Dickerson served as Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy from 2006-2008, overseeing the office’s $1.8 billion budget, the firm said.

Mintz Levin has 500 lawyers in eight offices in the U.S. and London.

Firm News

Dewey Collects $11.5 Million in Fees During September

Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP collected $11.5 million in fees from former clients in September. Collections allowed the former law firm to pay $6.1 million to secured creditors during the month.

Despite the so-called cash sweep, cash grew by $1.28 million during September, to end the month at $25.6 million.

The former law firm’s operating report filed with the bankruptcy court in New York showed that Dewey has collected $63.5 million in fees since bankruptcy began.

Dewey has two official committees, one for unsecured creditors and the other for former partners. The firm once had 1,300 lawyers before liquidation began under Chapter 11 in May. There was secured debt of about $225 million and accounts receivable of $217.4 million at the outset of bankruptcy, the firm said. The petition listed assets of $193 million and liabilities of $245.4 million as of April 30.

The case is In re Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, 12-12321, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Retired Morgan Lewis Firm Chair John Quarles Dies

John R. Quarles Jr., former firm chair of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and an environmental partner and former leader of the firm’s environmental practice, passed away Oct. 29 at the age of 77.

Quarles helped to create the Environmental Protection Agency, before joining Morgan Lewis in 1977 as a partner, the firm said in a statement. During his time at Morgan Lewis, which lasted until his 2006 retirement, he established the firm’s environmental practice.

Morgan Lewis created a remembrance page for Quarles with more information about his professional and personal accomplishments and his time at the firm.

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