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Cleary, Shearman Advise on Johnson Deal: Business of Law

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(Corrects Sutherland item to include first reference to Robert O. Ball III in Moves section. To be sent this column daily, click SALT LAWBIZ <GO>.)

April 17 (Bloomberg) -- Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP advised Johnson Controls Inc. in its planned acquisition of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board’s Air Distribution Technologies business for $1.6 billion, adding ventilation products. Shearman & Sterling LLP advised the investment board.

The Cleary Gottlieb team includes partners Victor Lewkow, Bill Groll and Brian Byrne.

The Shearman & Sterling team included partner Scott Petepiece, mergers and acquisitions; Patricia Hammes, project development and finance; Larry Crouch and Jessica Delbaum, antitrust; Alan Goudiss, litigation; Doreen Lilienfeld, executive compensation and employee benefits; and Samuel Waxman, intellectual property transactions.  

Agnico Joins Yamana Gold in $3.55 Billion Offer for Osisko

Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. and Yamana Gold Inc. agreed to jointly acquire Osisko Mining Corp. for C$3.9 billion ($3.55 billion), the latest twist in a battle for control of a Quebec mine that now involves three of Canada’s largest gold producers.

Yamana’s legal advisers are Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.

Agnico Eagle is getting legal advice from Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP.

Bennett Jones LLP and Stikeman Elliott LLP are Osisko’s legal advisers.

For more, click here.

Moves

King & Spalding Recruits Tom Duley in Life-Sciences Practice

Thomas Duley, a Bay Area corporate transactional lawyer, joined King & Spalding LLP as a partner in the Silicon Valley office to anchor the technology transactions practice dedicated to the life-sciences industry, the firm said. He was previously at DLA Piper LLP.

“Working collaboratively with partners in the firm’s early-stage corporate, intellectual property and transactional practices, he will help us expand our life sciences transaction practice in the Bay Area and throughout the U.S.,” Timothy T. Scott, managing partner of King & Spalding’s Palo Alto, California, office, said in a statement.

Sutherland Adds Technology Clients With Hiring of Three Partners

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP announced that Alan Albright, Robert O. Ball III and Michael A. Steinig joined the firm as partners.

Albright joined the intellectual property practice group in the Austin, Texas, office from Bracewell & Giuliani LLP.

Ball joined the corporate practice group in the Atlanta office. He was most recently chief financial officer and chief operating officer at Reach Analytics LLC.

Steinig joined the technology, outsourcing and procurement team in Washington from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.

Blank Rome Adds Corporate Litigation Partner Simon Miller

Blank Rome LLP said Simon J.K. Miller joined the firm as a partner in the corporate litigation group. He was previously at Thompson Hine LLP, where he was a partner in the business litigation practice group.

K&L Gates Adds Palo Alto IP Litigation Partner L. Scott Oliver

The Palo Alto, California, office of K&L Gates LLP added L. Scott Oliver as a partner in the intellectual property litigation practice from Morrison & Foerster LLP.

Lowenstein Sandler Adds Ropes & Gray Private-Equity Partner

Lowenstein Sandler LLP added Christopher Henry, who will work on private equity and mergers and acquisitions matters, as a partner in New York office from Ropes & Gray LLP, where he had been a partner since 2006.  

“We’ve seen tremendous demand for M&A counsel, especially from private-equity firms,” Gary M. Wingens, Lowenstein Sandler’s chairman and managing partner, said in a statement.

Bankruptcy

GM Move to Freeze Suits May Cut Customer Payouts by Billions

General Motors Co.’s move to freeze ignition-defect lawsuits in California and Texas has solid legal precedent behind it and could help slash customer demands for compensation by billions of dollars.

GM asked federal judges in both states last week to delay litigation over the defect in several of its models until a U.S. bankruptcy judge in New York rules whether some accident victims’ claims can be brought without violating a sale order in its 2009 reorganization.

The aggressive legal strategy runs the risk of further damaging GM’s image with lawmakers and the public. Offsetting that impact is GM’s customer-focused hiring of lawyer Kenneth Feinberg to advise on how to compensate people who had accidents in recalled Cobalts, Saturns and other GM models. Feinberg ran funds for victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and the BP Plc oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“They’re running on parallel tracks but the trains are going to different stations,” said Chip Bowles, a bankruptcy lawyer at Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP, who called the freeze maneuver “clever.”

A win in bankruptcy court would allow GM to declare it’s not responsible for defect liabilities, Bowles said. Then the automaker can invoke a Feinberg-recommended fund to say: “As a matter of law we don’t have to pay anybody a nickel, but we recognize our responsibility to people who were harmed by our product, so we are going to help them.”

For more, click here.

News

Cyprus Legal, Accounting Firms See Risk in Russia Sanctions

Cyprus’s legal and accounting firms are concerned the Ukraine-Russia crisis may dent their growth prospects at a time when the industry is recovering from the country’s banking crisis.

Sanctions imposed against Russia by the U.S. and the European Union in response to the annexation of Crimea “have had a limited impact on Cyprus so far, but as long as uncertainty continues, many business decisions will continue to be put off,” Elias Neocleous, vice chairman of the legal firm Andreas Neocleous & Co., said in an interview in Limassol, home to Cyprus’s largest Russian expatriate community. The firm’s 77 lawyers and six tax consultants represent many Russian and Ukrainian clients, he said.

For more, click here.

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net Charles Carter, Stephen Farr

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