Hogan Lovells to Open in South Africa: Business of Law

Hogan Lovells and Routledge Modise will combine on Dec. 1, with the South African firm expected to rebrand and reopen as Hogan Lovells in early 2014.

The Johannesburg office will have 120 lawyers, including 40 partners, and will focus on corporate, commercial, litigation, mining and employment work, Hogan Lovells said in a statement. Routledge Modise’s clients include South African government departments and state-owned enterprises, domestic organizations and subsidiaries of international corporations.

Hogan Lovells has an Africa practice with more than 40 lawyers globally, but no physical presence on the continent. Most of the firm’s top 200 clients have operations there, though, according to the statement. In the past year, Hogan Lovells advised the African Export-Import Bank on a $2 billion financing for Kenya Airways Ltd. aircraft purchases.

“Africa is an extremely important market for our clients and to us as a firm,” David Harris, global co-chief executive officer of Hogan Lovells, said in a statement. “A significant number of our clients have an interest or a presence on the continent and with Africa’s substantial natural resources, expanding economies and growing consumer base, the level of interest will continue to increase rapidly.”

Routledge Modise’s principal practice areas include corporate and commercial, litigation and dispute resolution, energy, mining and employment.

Hogan Lovells has more than 2,500 lawyers operating out of more than 40 offices in the U.S., Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia.


Skadden, Latham Among Firms on JLL and DSM $2.6 Billion Deal

JLL Partners Inc., a New York-based private-equity firm, agreed to buy a majority stake in vitamin-maker Royal DSM NV’s pharmaceuticals business to create a new company in a deal valued at $2.6 billion.

Legal advisers to JLL Partners are Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.

Latham & Watkins LLP is lead legal adviser to Royal DSM, supported by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, Allen & Overy LLP and Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP.

The Skadden team advising on the merger includes partners Robert Pincus, mergers and acquisitions; Sally Thurston, tax; and Erica Schohn, executive compensation and benefits.

BLG’s partners working on the deal for JLL included Paul Mingay, Steve Suarez, Jason Saltzman and Colin MacDonald.

Simpson Thacher partners include Kenneth B. Wallach, corporate; Christopher Brown, credit; and Ryan Bekkerus, capital markets.

Latham & Watkins advised Royal DSM with a team led by New York corporate partners Ted Sonnenschein and Adel Aslani-Far, and Chicago corporate partner Shaun Hartley. Advice was also provided on tax matters by New York partner David Raab; on environmental matters by Washington partner James Barrett; on benefits matters by New York partner Bradd Williamson; on intellectual property matters by New York partner Steven Betensky; on finance matters by New York partner Joshua Tinkelman; and on regulatory matters by Washington partner John Manthei.

Patrick A. Rogers led a team of about 25 Hinckley Allen lawyers who worked on the transaction for Royal DSM, including partners James R. Burke, corporate/securities, and Robin L. Main, environmental/litigation.

The unit will be rolled into Patheon Inc., a Canada-based specialty-pharmaceuticals manufacturer controlled by JLL, the companies said in a joint statement yesterday. The new entity is projected to have sales next year of about $2 billion.

DSM, based in Heerlen, Netherlands, and JLL are betting that combining assets will create a manufacturing and services company with the resources to tackle projects from the research stage to clinical trials and marketing of products. The deal may create a more formidable competitor to Indian and Chinese manufacturers of active pharmaceutical ingredients.

For more, click here.


Global Capital Markets Lawyers Join Reed Smith in Houston

Bryan K. Brown and Marlen Whitley joined Reed Smith LLP as partners in the Houston office. Both were formerly partners at Thompson & Knight LLP.

Brown represents clients in U.S. and global capital markets transactions, including high-yield debt offerings, initial public offerings, secondary and convertible offerings, mergers and acquisitions, and private equity transactions, the firm said. He also advises clients on securities compliance, corporate governance, and reporting and disclosure obligations under the Securities Exchange Act.

Whitley’s practice also focuses principally on corporate and securities transactions. He advises clients on corporate finance, acquisitions, mergers and large global infrastructure projects, and prepares public offerings and private placements of securities and negotiates private-equity financings.

“Bryan is a well-known, highly respected attorney whose knowledge of and experience with global capital markets is extensive, particularly in the key industries driving Houston’s economic growth -- energy services, oil and gas exploration, biotech, health care, telecom, and manufacturing,” Paul J. Jaskot, chairman of Reed Smith’s U.S. corporate and securities group said in a statement. “Together, he and Marlen are a strong team with top-tier experience in complex domestic and international business transactions.”

Reed Smith has more than 1,800 lawyers in 25 offices in the U.S., Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Greenberg Traurig Expands REIT Practice in New York

Carl Riley joined Greenberg Traurig LLP as a shareholder in the real estate investment trusts and tax practices in New York. He was previously at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in New York.

Riley advises clients on complex tax matters, with an emphasis on transactions involving REITs. At Greenberg Traurig, he will represent public REIT clients in connection with their transactions and Securities and Exchange Commission compliance, and handle tax aspects of securities offerings and other transactions involving private REITs, investment funds and joint ventures, the firm said.

“Carl is a strong asset for our active practice,” Judith D. Fryer, co-chairwoman of Greenberg Traurig’s REIT practice, said in a statement. “Throughout his more than 20 years providing expert counsel, he consistently demonstrates top-notch service for clients.”

In addition to his work with REITs, Riley has counseled clients regarding other pass-through entities and structures including regulated investment companies and partnerships

Greenberg Traurig has about 1,750 attorneys at 36 offices in the U.S., Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Bankruptcy News

Supreme Court Ruling Could Double Delaware Workload

Delaware federal district judges could see their workload double if parties aren’t permitted to consent to having some state-law disputes decided on a final basis by bankruptcy judges, the American Bar Association told the U.S. Supreme Court.

The burden on district judges in New York would rise almost 18 percent, the ABA said in a friend-of-the-court brief on Nov. 15 in a follow-on case to 2011’s Stern v. Marshall decision.

In Stern, the high court decided 5-4 that bankruptcy judges, who aren’t life-tenured, can’t make final rulings when a defendant who didn’t file a claim in bankruptcy is being sued by a bankruptcy trustee on a state-law claim.

The new case, to be argued in the Supreme Court on Jan. 14, involves whether the right to a final ruling by a district judge, who does has life tenure, is a constitutional right that can be waived.

In Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v. Arkison, the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the right can be waived. The Supreme Court decided to hear the case because other federal appeals courts have concluded the opposite.

The outcome may turn on the Supreme Court’s interpretation of its own 1986 decision in Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Schor, in which a litigant consented to a ruling by the CFTC and thus waived the right to sue in federal district court.

The Supreme Court’s ruling, expected next year, will address whether rights under Stern implicate “structural” concerns, where waiver isn’t possible, or personal constitutional rights, where waiver is permitted.

When the Supreme Court hears the case on Jan. 14, one of the lawyers for the trustee will be G. Eric Brunstad Jr. of Dechert LLP in Hartford, Connecticut, who argued on the winning side in Stern.

Although Brunstad helped establish the constitutional principle, he said it’s a right that can be waived.

For a survey of cases by federal appeals court on the Stern-waiver issue, click here for the Nov. 14 Bloomberg bankruptcy report.

The Supreme Court case is Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v. Arkison, 12-01200, U.S. Supreme Court.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.