When Facebook Inc. sought to acquire messaging startup WhatsApp Inc. for as much as $19 billion in cash and stock, the social networking site turned to Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP for the deal. WhatsApp relied on Fenwick & West LLP, the firm that acted as Facebook’s outside counsel in its 2012 initial public offering.
The deal, which includes $12 billion in stock, $4 billion in cash and $3 billion in restricted shares, is the biggest Internet acquisition in more than a decade. The purchase also carries a $2 billion breakup fee.
From Weil representing Facebook are partners Keith Flaum and Jane Ross (corporate); Karen Ballack and Barry Fishley (technology and intellectual property transactions); Paul Wessel and counsel Steven Margolis (employee benefits); Ellen Odoner (securities disclosures); and Randi Singer (intellectual property and media litigation).
From Fenwick representing WhatsApp are partners Sayre Stevick, Andrew Luh and Shawn Lampron (corporate); Ron Schrotenboer (tax); and Stephen Gillespie (intellectual property).
Ernst & Young to Face New York Lehman Fees Claim, Court Says
Ernst & Young LLP must face a bid by New York’s attorney general to force the firm to give up fees it was paid by Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., a state appeals court said, reversing a lower court ruling.
An appeals court in Manhattan yesterday said disgorgement of the fees could be required if the attorney general proves the firm engaged in fraud with Lehman even though the state doesn’t claim restitution is due to any individuals or the public. The five-judge panel overturned a January 2013 ruling by Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey K. Oing dismissing the case.
Disgorgement focuses on the gain to wrongdoers, not losses to victims, so the state is within its rights to pursue it, the court ruled.
Melissa Grace, a spokeswoman for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, said the office is pleased the court “recognized the Attorney General is authorized to recover illegal gains from fraudulent conduct, separate and apart from any payment of damages to injured parties.”
Ernst & Young said in a statement that it will seek further review by the Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court.
“Lehman’s bankruptcy occurred in the midst of a global financial crisis and was caused by events wholly unrelated to Lehman’s accounting,” the firm said.
The case is People of the state of New York v. Ernst & Young, 451586/2010, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).
Kirby McInerney Leads Brent Crude Case After Inexperience Claims
Kirby McInerney LLP was selected to act as lead counsel in litigation over alleged manipulation of Brent crude oil prices, despite earlier claims by a rival firm that its lawyers are too inexperienced.
New York-based Kirby McInerney will now control more than a dozen suits alleging some of the world’s biggest oil companies, including BP Plc, Statoil ASA and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, conspired with Morgan Stanley and energy traders including Vitol Group to manipulate spot prices for Brent crude for more than a decade.
Law Firm Moves
Lateral Hires at Paul Hastings, Jenner & Block, O’Melveny
Gary Giampetruzzi, the former Assistant General Counsel at Pfizer Inc., has joined Paul Hastings LLP as a partner in New York. Giampetruzzi is part of the litigation practice where he’ll focus on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act matters and global compliance; he will also work with the firm’s life sciences practice.
Jenner & Block LLP has added Martin C. Glass as a partner in the firm’s corporate practice in its New York office. Glass will focus on securities transactions, mergers and acquisitions and general corporate matters. Glass was previously a partner at Goodwin Procter LLP.
Daniel Oates, a mergers and acquisitions and private equity lawyer, is joining O’Melveny & Myers LLP as a partner in its London office and as a member of the firm’s mergers & acquisitions practice. Oates was previously a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP.
Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP has added Ira S. Greene as a partner in the firm’s restructuring & insolvency department in New York. Greene has more than 35 years of experience in business restructuring, bankruptcy law and commercial finance and joins from Hogan Lovells LLP, where he was a partner in the business restructuring & insolvency group.
Intellectual Property Hires at Nixon Peabody and Day Pitney
Jeffrey J. Lokey and Shawn G. Hansen have joined the Palo Alto, California, office of Nixon Peabody LLP. Lokey’s work focuses on patent and trade secret litigation, as well as general commercial litigation, and he also provides counseling in securities disputes. Hansen, a registered patent attorney, will have offices in both Palo Alto and Los Angeles and specializes in complex patent litigation and related matters on a national and global basis.
Hansen was previously a partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. Lokey was most recently a partner at Greenberg Traurig LLP, but had also been a partner at Manatt.
David I. Greenbaum has joined Day Pitney LLP as a partner in its intellectual property group. Greenbaum, who is based in the firm’s New York office, focuses on trademark and design matters across a wide range of industries. He was previously a partner at Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP.