Jones Day, Davis Polk, Cooley, Sheppard: Business of Law

Jones Day said it added two new partners, Alejandro Chico and Antonio Gonzalez, to its Mexico City office, marking the fifth new hire for the office this year and bringing the total number of lawyers there to 37.

Chico will join the firm’s Banking & Finance practice, moving from Bufete Robles Miaja, where he was a partner in that firm’s capital markets practice, according to an e-mailed statement. Gonzalez will work in Jones Day’s Global Disputes practice, arriving from Lopez Melih, Gonzalez, Facha & Estrada, where he was a founding and administrative partner.

“Alejandro’s appointment is part of our strategy to add depth to our capital markets and banking & finance practices in Mexico, and more broadly in Latin America,” Fernando de Ovando, partner-in-charge of Jones Day’s Mexico City office, said in the statement. “His arrival, along with the addition of Antonio and his vast experience in high-profile disputes throughout Mexico, strengthen our full service capabilities in Mexico City.”

Chico has practiced law for more than 15 years with experience in private and public offerings in both Mexican and U.S. markets representing issuers and underwriters, as well as financings, acquisitions, and other transactions in Mexico and abroad. He’s a graduate of the Universidad Anahuac and has an LL.M. from the University of Miami.

Gonzalez has represented public agencies and private companies in litigation and arbitration concerning contractual disputes, shareholder disputes, and restructurings for more than 15 years. In 2007 Gonzalez became a founding partner of the firm Lopez Melih, Gonzalez, Facha & Estrada. He is a graduate of the Universidad Panamericana.

Jones Day is a global law firm with more than 2,400 lawyers on five continents.


Davis Polk Advises Vikram Pandit on Stake in JM Financial

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is advising former Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit on his deal to buy a stake in India’s JM Financial Ltd., according to a statement from the law firm.

Pandit will also take a leadership role as JM Financial seeks to set up a bank, the Mumbai-based company said in a May 16 statement to stock exchanges. Pandit and business partner Hari Aiyar will jointly take a 3 percent equity stake in JM Financial through an issuance of warrants, according to the statement.

The Davis Polk corporate and tax team representing Pandit includes partners Avishai Shachar and Louis L. Goldberg and associates Ethan R. Goldman and Brian L. Friedman, all from Davis Polk’s New York office.

The company said it is applying for a banking license and will nominate Pandit as non-executive chairman. He’ll also help JM Financial create a fund to buy distressed assets and expand its lending and financing businesses.

The deal is Pandit’s first public investment since Citigroup directors ousted him as CEO in October. The board concluded that Pandit, 56, a native of Nagpur, India, had mismanaged the bank’s operations, a person familiar with the matter said at the time. Pandit had staked Citigroup’s turnaround in part on boosting profit from emerging markets including India.

“I continue to believe in the long-term growth prospects of India,” Pandit said in the statement. “JM Financial can provide the banking and financial services that the country needs.”

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Skadden Advises Ares Commercial Real Estate on Acquisition

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is representing Ares Commercial Real Estate Corp. in its acquisition of EF&A Funding LLC, which does business as Alliant Capital LLC, from the Alliant Co. and Alliant Inc.

The Skadden partners from the mergers & acquisitions team representing Ares includes David Eisman from Los Angeles and Sven Mickisch and William Rubenstein from New York.

Ares will pay about $62.8 million in a combination of cash and stock, according to an e-mailed statement.

Under the terms of the deal, Alliant Capital LLC is expected to become a wholly owned taxable REIT subsidiary of ACRE. Alliant Capital Ltd., which on a national scale provides tax credit equity for the financing and development of affordable housing, is not included in the acquisition and will remain a part of the Alliant Co.

Alliant Capital LLC is a financial services company focused on multifamily lending with about 90 employees in 15 offices throughout the U.S., according to the statement. Alliant Capital LLC has primarily originated and serviced multifamily loans through the Fannie Mae delegated underwriting and servicing program.

The company had a servicing portfolio of about $3.9 billion in multifamily loans as of March 31. It has mortgage servicing rights at a fair value of about $61 million as of Dec. 31. The company’s loan originations have increased at a compound annual growth rate of 12.7 percent for the five-year period ending Dec. 31, and loan originations exceeded $600 million for 2012.

“This highly strategic transaction with Alliant Capital LLC will enable ACRE to better meet the short- and long-term financing needs of multifamily owner/operators,” John Bartling, chief executive officer of Ares Commercial Real Estate Corp., said in the statement. “We expect that the transaction will benefit shareholders by being accretive to earnings as revenue synergies follow the advancements of scale.”

Cooley LLP Represents Tableau Software in Successful IPO

Cooley LLP represented Tableau Software Inc., the provider of digital-charting tools, in its successful initial public offering that raised $254.2 million and saw shares surge after pricing an increased number of shares above the proposed range.

The shares climbed 50 percent to $46.61 as of 10:19 a.m. New York time on May 17, after earlier rising as much as 55 percent. Seattle-based Tableau and existing shareholders on May 16 sold 8.2 million shares for $31 each after offering 7.2 million for $28 to $30.

The Cooley team that worked on the IPO included partners Jodie Bourdet in San Francisco and Charlie Kim in San Diego, according to an e-mailed statement. Associates Siana Lowrey, Chris Yamaoka and Julia Conway were also part of the core team working on the equity offering.

Specialists working on the deal included compensation and benefits partner Laura McDaniels, technology transactions group special counsel Charles Schwab and tax partners Mark Windfeld-Hansen and Mark Hrenya.

Cooley has 12 offices with about 700 lawyers throughout the U.S. and China.

Tableau, whose software helps users without programming skills create complex graphics and maps out of data, aims to join a crop of recent business technology providers to thrive on the public markets. Workday Inc. and ServiceNow Inc. have more than doubled since their debuts last year, while Palo Alto Networks Inc. had gained 29 percent through May 16.

Tableau was co-founded in 2003 by Pat Hanrahan, an Academy Award-winning Stanford University professor, whose software has created movie special effects and animations. The company has more than 10,900 customers across various industries and competes with International Business Machines Corp., Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp. and Qlik Technologies Inc.

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Sheppard Mullin Adds Partner to Century City Office

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP added Michael R. Heimbold as a partner to its 60-attorney Century City office. Heimbold joins the firm’s business trial and intellectual property practice groups from Steptoe & Johnson in Century City.

Heimbold has represented clients in business and intellectual property litigation and has experience in licensing and technology transfer transactions, according to a company statement. He has advised clients in the consumer products and entertainment industries on over $1 billion worth of mergers and acquisition transactions.

Heimbold’s “knowledge and experience is both complementary and supplementary to our existing practices, and we welcome him to the firm,” Sheppard Mullin Chairman Guy N. Halgren said in the statement.

Heimbold earned his JD from Loyola Law School in 1994 and his Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from California State University, Long Beach in 1988.

On May 16 Jung Son also joined Sheppard Mullin as a partner in the firm’s corporate practice group, based in its Palo Alto office. Son joins from Technology Crossover Ventures in Palo Alto, where she served as associate general counsel.

Sheppard Mullin, practicing since 1927, has 630 attorneys across 16 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Baker & McKenzie Bolsters Italian Banking and Finance Practice

Law firm Baker & McKenzie LLP has added a new lawyer, Luigi Rizzi, to its banking and finance department in its Rome office.

Rizzi was in charge of the financial services and capital markets at DLA Piper, prior to joining Baker & McKenzie, according to a company statement. He was also a member of the managing committee and location head of the finance and project department at DLA Piper.

“The firm decided, in line with what is already being done by other offices of Baker & McKenzie, to invest in the area of investment fund and asset management regulation with the hiring of Luigi Rizzi,” Baker & McKenzie partner Alberto Fornari said in the statement.

“The financial system and the international financial markets are living through a moment of great change, also owing to the actions of the legislators and other policy makers that approved extensive new regulations,” Rizzi said in the statement.

“This gives rise to an increase in demand for professional advice from law firms that, like Baker & McKenzie, are well established in the most important financial markets,” he added.

Rizzi, with experience in finance regulatory matters, will be responsible for developing the investment fund and asset management area of the Banking and Finance department, headed by Fornari. Ilaria Di Mario will also be joining the law firm as associate.

The firm, which has been advising companies since 1949, has more than 4,000 lawyers in 72 offices spanning 45 countries, according to its website.


Dow Chemical Damages Rise to $1.2 Billion in Urethane Case

Dow Chemical Co. was ordered by a federal judge to pay a $1.2 billion judgment in a urethane price-fixing case after losing its bid to undo a jury’s verdict that it colluded with competitors.

U.S. District Judge John W. Lungstrum in Kansas City, Kansas, rejected Dow’s request to overturn the $400 million February jury verdict on May 15. Lungstrum tripled the damages under U.S. antitrust law, making the award the biggest U.S. verdict this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News. Dow said in a statement it will appeal.

Lungstrum rejected the company’s challenge to the verdict on grounds the purchaser plaintiffs alleged a conspiracy spanning the years 1999 to 2003 and were unable to prove its existence before November 2000.

Purchasers’ attorney Joseph Goldberg, a partner in the Albuquerque law firm Freedman Boyd Hollander Goldberg Urias & Ward PA, said in an e-mailed message that he was “pleased” the court upheld the jury’s verdict.

“What Dow did was wrong,” Goldberg told the jury Feb. 19 in his closing arguments. “It colluded with its competitors and entered into a price-fixing conspiracy.”

David Bernick, a lawyer for Dow, disputed that allegation in his final remarks.

“What kind of cartel is it where everybody is doing exactly what they would be doing otherwise?” Bernick asked jurors.

The purchasers’ case was “empty of truth, empty of facts and empty of fairness,” said Bernick, a partner in New York-based Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP.

The case started in 2005 with allegations that Dow plotted with BASF SE, Huntsman International LLC and Lyondell Chemical Co. in violation of federal law. Only Dow didn’t settle.

At the heart of the suit were urethane-based products used in the automotive, construction, appliance and furniture industries.

The case is In re Urethane Antitrust Litigation, 04-md-01616, U.S. District Court, District of Kansas (Kansas City).

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Blackstone’s Restructuring Head Coleman on Bankruptcy Fees

Timothy Coleman, head of restructuring and reorganization at Blackstone Group LP, talks about bankruptcy fees, including the more $2 billion charged in the Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. bankruptcy case, with Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker and Sara Eisen.

He also discusses Standard & Poor’s downgrade of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s credit rating to AA from AA+, Jamie Dimon’s chairman and chief executive officer roles at JPMorgan Chase & Co., and the distressed investment market in Europe on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.”

To watch the video, click here.

Jones Day’s Profusek Says State of M&A Is ‘Lumpy’ (Audio)

Robert Profusek, head of mergers and acquisition practice at Jones Day, discusses the Cross Border Mergers and Acquisitions Summit. Profusek talks with Bloomberg’s Pimm Fox and Carol Massar on Bloomberg Radio’s “Taking Stock.”

To listen to the interview, click here.

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