WilmerHale, Simpson Thacher, Skadden: Business of Law
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP hired two U.S. government general counsels, Dan Berkovitz from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Mark Cahn from the Securities and Exchange Commission, to the firm’s securities department in Washington.
Berkovitz joins WilmerHale’s futures and derivatives practice. Cahn, who was previously a partner at WilmerHale, is rejoining the securities litigation and enforcement practice.
At CFTC, Berkovitz played a key role implementing the Dodd-Frank Act and advised the commission in broadening the agency’s enforcement program, the firm said. He has also worked at the Department of Energy and as a senior staff lawyer for the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, focusing on energy markets probes.
“Dan was at the CFTC during a period of sweeping reforms and brings great insight into the new regulations and the workings of the agency during this period of rapid change,” Bill McLucas, chairman of WilmerHale’s securities department, said in a statement. “In addition, his congressional investigations and energy background will benefit many of our clients.”
Cahn was the SEC’s general counsel from 2011 to 2013, where he advised the commission and its operating divisions on proposed actions. Before that, he was deputy general counsel for litigation and adjudication at the agency from 2009 to 2011.
“We are glad to welcome Mark back to the firm as our colleague. He served at the SEC during a time of significant rule-making and enforcement activity, and understands the complexities of the changing regulatory landscape and the challenges facing public companies and shareholders,” Harry Weiss, chairman of WilmerHale’s securities litigation and enforcement practice, said in a statement.
WilmerHale has about 1,000 lawyers at 14 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.
King & Spalding Hires Hayes for Financial Services Practice
King & Spalding LLP established a London financial services regulatory practice with the hiring of former Mayer Brown LLP partner Angela Hayes.
Hayes has experience advising clients on regulatory investigations and proceedings, including the startup of new financial-services businesses and new product development, and conduct of business and governance systems and controls to ensure regulatory compliance, the firm said.
“Financial services regulatory law is a highly complex area of the law -- made even more so with the enactment of the Financial Services Act 2012 and creation of the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority -- and we are fortunate to have Angela join us,” Richard T. Marooney, co-leader of King & Spalding’s financial institutions practice, said in a statement.
Hayes is the seventh partner to join King & Spalding’s London office since 2012. She brings the total number of firm partners in London to 16.
King & Spalding has 800 lawyers in 17 offices in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Bingham Hires Investment Management Partner Tun in London
Bingham McCutchen LLP added Thiha Tun, formerly of Herbert Smith Freehills, to the global funds practice in London. Tun, who has advised private equity, real estate, infrastructure and hedge funds, also joins Bingham’s investment-management practice group.
Tun will work closely with John Holton, who relocated his international funds practice in 2011 to London from Boston, the firm said in a statement. He will also work with the firm’s U.S. and Asian investment management teams.
“Thiha’s arrival strengthens our global funds practice and enhances our ability to provide clients with a full range of investment management capabilities across continents,” Roger Joseph, the firm’s investment management practice group leader, said in a statement.
In May, Bingham hired seven investment management practice group lawyers from White & Case LLP, including partners Christopher Wells and Tomoko Fuminaga.
Bingham has about 1,000 lawyers in 14 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.
Linklaters Adds to Pan-Asia R&I practice with A&O Hire
Linklaters LLP announced the hiring of Allen & Overy LLP restructuring and insolvency lawyer David Kidd, who will lead the firm’s pan-Asian restructuring and insolvency practice. He will join the finance group in October and be based in Hong Kong.
Kidd will work closely with Melvin Sng, who led on transactions in Asia involving the insolvencies of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and MF Global Holdings Ltd. His appointment is the result of client demand for additional restructuring expertise in the region, the firm said.
“David Kidd is an outstanding R&I lawyer,” Tony Bugg, head of Linklaters’s global restructuring and insolvency practice, said in a statement. “He has developed a reputation as a highly-valued adviser who has the intellectual, business and personal skills to lead, build consensus and develop a winning strategy for his clients.
Linklaters has lawyers at 28 offices worldwide.
Simpson, Covington Advise Microsoft on $7.2 Billion Nokia Deal
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and Covington Burling LLP advised Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), which agreed to buy Nokia Oyj (NOK1V)’s handset unit and license its patents for 5.44 billion euros ($7.2 billion), seeking to revive two smartphone businesses that have struggled for a half-decade to gain share against Apple Inc. and Google Inc. (GOOG) Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP is representing Nokia Corp.
The lead partner from Simpson Thacher on the Microsoft team is Alan Klein, mergers and acquisitions. Additional partners include Bill Brentani, capital markets; Greg Grogan, executive compensation and employee benefits; Lori Lesser, IP; and Gary Mandel, tax.
Covington advised on IP, commercial and regulatory matters on the transaction with a team led by Ingrid Rechtin, Evan Cox, and Brad Chernin. Additional partners included Miranda Cole, EU competition law; Louise Nash mobile operator; Peter Swanson, litigation; Lisa Peets, EU intellectual property and technology; and Bruce Deming, corporate.
Covington special counsel Matthew Edwards advised on mobile operator matters and Ben Wiseman, a litigation senior of counsel, and special counsel Marie Lavalley advised on trademark and copyright matters.
The Skadden team includes corporate partners Kenton King, Michael Mies and Danny Tricot; intellectual property partner David Hansen; tax partners Paul Oosterhuis and Eric Sensenbrenner; executive compensation and benefits partner Joseph Yaffe; and antitrust partners Frederic Depoortere, Steven Sunshine and Alec Chang.
The devices and services unit, which accounted for half of Nokia’s 2012 revenue, along with 32,000 employees, will transfer to Microsoft, the companies said. Nokia Chief Executive Officer Stephen Elop, 49, will return to Microsoft after a three-year stint running the Finnish manufacturer. The move stoked speculation he may be a successor to CEO Steve Ballmer, who said last month he’d retire within 12 months.
The Microsoft purchase is the second major deal to be announced during the U.S. Labor Day holiday. Verizon Communications Inc. agreed to pay $130 billion for Vodafone Group Plc (VOD)’s stake in their U.S. wireless venture in the biggest transaction in more than a decade. Simpson Thacher also advised on that deal, representing Vodafone.
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Kirkland, Greenberg Advise on Jarden Deal for Yankee Candle
Jarden Corp. (JAH) agreed to buy Yankee Candle for $1.75 billion, making its biggest acquisition to add the 43-year-old scented candle maker to its collection of more than 120 consumer brands. Kirkland & Ellis LLP represents Yankee Candle while Greenberg Traurig LLP represented Jarden.
Kirkland corporate partners Michael Paley and Tana Ryan and tax partner Rachel Cantor are leading the firm’s team.
Greenberg Traurig corporate and securities shareholders advising on the acquisition include Gary R. Silverman, Fred W. Blakeslee II and Peter Lieberman. Additional shareholders include Frank R. Adams, corporate and securities; Robert D. Simon, tax; and Stephen C. Tupper, antitrust and regulation.
Jarden will use cash to acquire the largest U.S. scented candle company from a fund managed by private-equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, according to a statement yesterday. The transaction is projected to boost Jarden’s adjusted earnings per share by about 10 percent and the company expects the deal to be completed in the fourth quarter.
The purchase may help Jarden, whose products range from Mr. Coffee machines to Health O Meter scales, revive sales growth that last year slowed to 0.2 percent after increasing 11 percent in 2011. Madison Dearborn bought Yankee Candle, which sells items in more than 35,000 retail stores in North America, for about $1.4 billion in 2007.
Jarden plans to expand Yankee Candle into new markets and geographies, according to slides posted on Jarden’s website today. Less than 15 percent of Yankee Candle’s revenue is from outside the U.S., the slides show.
Husch Blackwell Adds Six-Lawyer Government Compliance Team
A team of six attorneys led by a former Missouri Speaker of the House and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, Catherine Hanaway, joined Husch Blackwell LLP’s government compliance and investigations team.
In addition to Hanaway, who was at the Ashcroft Law Firm, Jeff Jensen and Matthew Schelp join as partners from Jensen Bartlett & Schelp LLC. They were also advisers to the Ashcroft Law Firm.
Cynthia Cordes, previously an assistant U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri from 2004 until this year, will join the firm as a partner on Sept. 30. In her position, she led the U.S. Justice Department’s efforts against human trafficking and spearheaded the multiagency task force, the firm said.
A senior counsel from Ashcroft and an associate from Jensen Bartlett are also joining the firm.
‘‘This team brings the perfect combination of skills, expertise and finesse to our firm,” Greg Smith, chief executive officer and managing partner of Husch Blackwell, said in a statement. “They are tenacious, bright and savvy, and under Catherine’s leadership, this team will continue to accomplish great client successes at Husch Blackwell.”
Hanaway, who leads the firm’s government compliance and investigations team, has experience litigating complex civil and white-collar criminal cases and representing clients in regulatory challenges. Hanaway was the first female Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives from 2003 until 2005 and was U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri from 2005 until 2009. She previously worked at Peper, Martin, Jensen, Maichel & Hetlage, a predecessor firm to Husch Blackwell.
“When I left Peper Martin 20 years ago, the firm had about 100 attorneys in four offices,” Hanaway said in a statement. “Now, Husch Blackwell has offices in 16 U.S. cities, including three newly added locations in Texas, and an exciting strategic direction and industry focus.”
Tough-to-Kill New York Buses Drive Through U.S. Law’s Loopholes
Outside New York’s Winter Garden Theatre, where “Mamma Mia” is nearing the end of a 13-year Broadway run, unwitting tourists board a bus bearing the name of a company U.S. regulators tried to close two years ago, Bloomberg News’ Jeff Plungis reports.
New York Party Shuttle LLC was told to stop running buses in 2011 after failing a safety audit. A sister company in Washington was ordered off the road in April for violations that included lying about using a driver who failed a drug test, according to the shutdown order.
The companies, owned by a Houston lawyer, nonetheless helped load buses daily in both cities, showing how businesses can exploit loopholes and murky jurisdiction to stymie regulators who say they’re aggressively policing buses for hire.
“They’re regulating an amorphous industry with moving targets, like a game of whack-a-mole,” said Deborah Hersman, chairman of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates bus crashes.
The companies’ owner, Houston lawyer C. Thomas Schmidt, said in an e-mail and interview that his operations now fall outside of federal, state or local rules. Regulators to date have agreed or found no evidence to contradict him.
Bus transportation was the fastest-growing form of U.S. intercity travel last year, with scheduled departures up 7.5 percent to 1,052 trips a day, the most in four years, according to a DePaul University study. It’s grown between 5.1 percent and 9.8 percent a year since 2006, reversing a 26-year decline.
The growth has come at a cost. In February, a bus carrying Mexican tourists returning from a daytrip to the mountains crashed in California, killing eight people. In 2011, a bus carrying residents of New York’s Chinatown coming back from a casino crashed in the Bronx with 15 fatalities.
Schmidt, in an interview, said his New York company can no longer be federally regulated because it doesn’t operate over state lines. It isn’t subject to state regulations because New York City sightseeing tours are exempt, he said. Last year he persuaded a judge he wasn’t a tour operator, either, in a decision that overturned a $71,200 fine imposed by the city Department of Consumer Affairs for operating a sightseeing company without a license.
In Washington, Schmidt has been allowed by U.S. regulators to run tours by chartering an outside bus operator. The shutdown order prohibits him from leasing or renting vehicles.
Federal regulators “have zero authority over a tour company,” Schmidt said. “They only have authority over buses. The tour is not a bus thing. It’s a walking thing and a boat thing. The bus just takes you from a couple of point As to a couple of point Bs.”
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