Dentons, MoFo, Cravath, Skadden, Katten: Business of Law

Dentons LLP opened a satellite office in Astana, Kazakhstan, in July headed by Birzhan Zharasbayev.

Zharasbayev, who has been with Dentons since 2006, focuses on construction and real estate, corporate and commercial matters and mergers and acquisitions, the firm said. He provided advice on several draft laws and co-drafted Kazakhstan’s legislation on Islamic banking and finance.

Dentons has a Kazakhstan office in Almaty, headed by Aigoul Kenjebayeva. Denton’s Kazakh practice now has more than 35 fee earners, including six partners.

“This is a great opportunity for us to build on the success we have had in Almaty and to provide our clients with legal advice in the locations where they need it,” Dariusz Oleszczuk, Europe chief executive officer for Dentons, said in a statement. “Kazakhstan is a rapidly growing economic hub in the CIS region, so strengthening our capabilities and presence in this country is of strategic importance to us.”

Dentons was formed in March by the Salans LLP, Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP and SNR Denton law firms. It has more than 2,500 lawyers and professionals in 79 locations in 52 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas.

Morrison & Foerster Names Office Managing Partners

Morrison & Foerster LLP named two managing partners, Philip Besirof in San Francisco and David Strong in Denver.

Besirof, a partner in the firm’s securities litigation, enforcement and white-collar defense group, will succeed Michael Agoglia. Strong, a partner in the tax department, will succeed Randall Fons. Strong handles tax matters related to mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, private equity and venture capital investments and other types of capital market transactions, the firm said.

MoFo has more than 1,000 lawyers at 16 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.


Cravath, Kirkland on Alliant Techsystems Deal to Buy Bushnell

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP represented Alliant Techsystems Inc., the world’s largest ammunition maker that obtained a $900 million financing commitment to support its acquisition of Bushnell Group Holdings Inc. from MidOcean Partners LP. Kirkland & Ellis LLP represented MidOcean Partners.

Bank of America Corp. is providing the senior secured loans, the Arlington, Virginia-based company known as ATK said during a teleconference yesterday. The company may refinance existing borrowings, including extending maturities into the five- and seven-year range, Neal Cohen, chief financial officer, said on the call.

Private-equity firm MidOcean is selling Bushnell Group, which it obtained in 2007, to ATK, according to a statement yesterday. Under terms of the agreement, ATK will pay about $985 million in cash, Cohen said during the call.

The Cravath team included Damien R. Zoubek, M&A; Craig F. Arcella and Stephen M. Kessing, financing; David J. Kappos, intellectual property; and J. Leonard Teti II, tax.

Kirkland corporate partners Andrew Herman and George Stamas led the deal team.

Bushnell sells sporting products including trail cameras, binoculars, hunting and shooting accessories and riflescopes.

Five Firms on Louisiana-Pacific Deal to Buy Ainsworth Lumber

Jones Day, Stikeman Elliott LLP and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP advised Louisiana-Pacific Corp., which agreed to buy Ainsworth Lumber Co. for about C$906 million ($863 million) to add Canadian output of oriented strand board, a plywood substitute, as it bets on growth in U.S. and Asian housing.

Ainsworth’s legal advisers are Goodmans LLP and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP.

The Jones Day team is led by partner Mark Betzen on mergers and acquisitions.

Stikeman Elliott is acting as Canadian counsel to Louisiana-Pacific with a legal team that includes Steeve Robitaille, Pierre-Yves Leduc and Pierre Raymond, M&A; Luc Bernier, tax; Paul Collins, Jeffrey Brown, competition; and John Anderson and Jennifer Honeyman, M&A.

Orrick is lead U.S. antitrust and regulatory counsel for Louisiana-Pacific. The team includes Robert P. Reznick, Pamela Davis and David Smutny.

Goodmans is lead counsel to Ainsworth with a team that includes Tim Heeney and Kirk Rauliuk, corporate/M&A; Joel Schachter, investment Canada; Joe Conforti, employment; and Carrie Smit, tax.

Skadden partner Christopher Morgan is advising on corporate aspects of the transaction while James Keyte is on antitrust and Charles Walker is advising on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and regulatory issues.

Louisiana-Pacific will pay about C$3.76 a share in cash and stock, the companies said yesterday in a statement. The deal’s value including assumed debt less Ainsworth’s estimated cash balance is about $1.1 billion. The per-share bid price is 30 percent more than Vancouver-based Ainsworth’s closing price in Toronto on Sept. 3.

The acquisition boosts Nashville, Tennessee-based Louisiana-Pacific’s exposure to a recovery in U.S. house-building and gives it greater access to Asian markets including Japan, Chief Executive Officer Curt Stevens said on a conference call. Construction spending in the U.S. increased in July to the highest level in four years, propelled by gains in residential real estate, the Commerce Department reported Sept. 3.

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Hogan Lovells, Skadden on Thomas Properties Texas Deal

Hogan Lovells LLP is legal counsel to Parkway Properties Inc., an office landlord in the southern U.S. that agreed to acquire Thomas Properties Group Inc. for about $294 million in stock to expand in the fast-growing Texas market. Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP represents Thomas Properties.

Parkway will issue 0.3822 share for each of Thomas’s shares, valued at $6.26 based on the Sept. 4 closing price, the companies said in a statement yesterday. Including the assumption of debt, closing costs and a bridge loan Parkway intends to provide, the deal is valued at about $1.2 billion, according to the companies.

Hogan Lovells deal team includes Warren Gorrell, David Bonser, Bruce Gilchrist, Prentiss Feagles, Lee Berner and Carin Carithers. The Skadden team includes Brian McCarthy and Jonathan Friedman, corporate, and Michael Beinus, tax.

Parkway, based in Orlando, Florida, has been seeking to add buildings in Texas, where thriving energy and technology industries are boosting office rents and occupancies. The acquisition will give the real estate investment trust two properties in Houston and five in Austin after the sale of Thomas’s interests in buildings in other areas.

“This transaction will significantly expand and upgrade our presence in Houston and simultaneously will allow us to fulfill our stated strategy of expanding into the Austin market,” Parkway President and Chief Executive Officer James Heistand said in the statement.

Parkway separately agreed to sell almost all of Thomas’s interests in two office towers in Philadelphia to Brandywine Realty Trust for $332 million. The buildings, One and Two Commerce Square, comprise a full city block and total almost 1.9 million square feet (176,500 square meters), Brandywine said in a statement. The Radnor, Pennsylvania-based REIT also will buy a property and land parcel in Austin for $51 million.

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Law Firm Moves

Litigation and Investigations Lawyer Joins Katten in New York

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP announced that Alan J. Brudner joined its New York office as a partner in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice. Most recently a partner at Paul Hastings LLP, Brudner was also managing director and head of litigation and investigations at UBS Investment Bank, Americas as well as a Assistant U.S. Attorney.

Brudner will represent companies and individuals in securities and business litigation matters and in connection with criminal and regulatory probes undertaken by the U.S. Justice Department and other government agencies. He has handled matters involving allegations of market manipulation, bid-rigging, insider trading, fraudulent accounting, disclosure deficiencies, sales practice violations, supervisory failures, tax evasion, corrupt foreign payments, commercial bribery, and false books and records.

Brudner’s hire follows that of another recent UBS executive. David L. Goldberg, formerly executive director and senior associate general counsel for UBS, moved to Katten in July.

Katten has more than 600 attorneys in locations across the U.S. and in London and Shanghai.

Squire Sanders Boosts Corporate Team with Eversheds Hire

Squire Sanders LLP expanded its global corporate practice in Manchester, U.K., with the hire of mergers and acquisitions and capital markets partner Daniel Liptrott, formerly of Eversheds LLP.

Liptrott specializes in transactions for private and listed clients as well as advising on capital markets transactions. He also advises clients on corporate governance matters.

Liptrott’s recent experience includes advising NCC Group Plc on its acquisitions of iSEC Partners Inc., SDLC Solutions Ltd. and Meridian Services Ltd., advising Lookers Plc on its acquisition of Lomond Motors, and advising Elior on its disposal of its Paul business, the firm said in a statement.

“Daniel’s background and strong local profile, together with his track record in developing close relationships with corporate clients, made him a good fit with our existing team,” Jane Haxby, Europe Middle East and Africa chairwoman of Squire Sanders global corporate practice, said in a statement.

Squire Sanders has more than 1,300 lawyers in 39 offices in 19 countries.

Brown Rudnick Adds Transactional Expertise in Orange County

Brown Rudnick LLP announced that Numan J. Siddiqi, previously with Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth PC, joined the Orange County office as a partner in the Corporate group.

Siddiqi’s corporate practice includes public and private securities offerings, venture capital transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and secured loan transactions, the firm said. He represents public and private companies, advising on formation and organizational structure, as well as matters such as executive compensation, stock incentive plans, licensing agreements, development and distribution transactions, strategic alliances and securities filing compliance.

“Our Orange County office, formally Rus, Miliband & Smith, has long been recognized for its excellence in complex commercial litigation,” Joseph F. Ryan, chairman and chief executive officer of Brown Rudnick, said in a statement. “One of our goals when combining with Rus, Miliband & Smith was to develop a strong corporate and life sciences presence in Orange County, and Numan is our first corporate addition to that office.”

Brown Rudnick has offices in the U.S. and Europe.

John Zhang Joins Edwards Wildman’s Los Angeles Office

Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP hired Jinshu “John” Zhang in Los Angeles in its business law department. He was previously in the corporate and securities group at Reed Smith LLP.

Zhang’s practice includes mergers, acquisitions, private placements, public offerings of securities, and other business transactions, with a particular emphasis on Chinese outbound investments.

Edwards Wildman has more than 600 lawyers at 15 offices in the U.S., Asia and London.


How DLA Piper Became Highest-Grossing Firm in 9 Years

Kent Zimmermann, consultant to law firms for the Zeughauser Group, talks with Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia about how DLA Piper LLP became the nation’s highest-grossing law firm in less than nine years. This is a Bloomberg podcast. To download, watch or listen to this report now, click here.

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