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Mergers & Acquisitions 2010

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Firm
Ranking
Innovation
Originality
Rationale
Impact
Total
Description
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & FlomStandoutCF Industries Holdings' $4.7bn hostile takeover of Terra Industries78722Playing an unusual role in a defensive and offensive situation, the firm used its experience of hostile takeovers and its strength in antitrust and finance to help its client become the world’s second-largest producer of nitrogen-based fertiliser
Mayer BrownHighly commendedProposed privatisation of Chicago's Midway Airport88420Symbiotic relationships between the firm and city government were critical to obtaining consent from more than 65 per cent of the airlines with landing slots at Chicago’s second-largest airport. In spite of privatisation being delayed by the financial crisis, this deal provides the template for the first wave of airport privatisations in the US, likely to begin with the firm’s involvement in Puerto Rico's San Juan International
Mayer BrownHighly commendedAssured Guaranty's acquisition of Financial Security Assurance77620Buying Financial Security Assurance was complicated by inseparable toxic liabilities and guarantees of uncertain value from the seller, Dexia, the Belgian and French government-supported bank. The firm devised a market-value swap in place of traditional seller’s indemnities to provide a positive story for derivatives coming out of the financial crisis
White & CaseHighly commendedPilot buying Flying J out of bankruptcy67619Consolidation at the top of the US truck-stop business required an arsenal of solutions from the firm. Regulatory resistance to Pilot, the number-one company in the sector, acquiring Flying J, its main competitor, out of bankruptcy was complicated by an existing joint venture with ConocoPhillips, the energy group, competing interest from private equity buyers and political manoeuvring by competitors
Freshfields Bruckhaus DeringerHighly commendedK+S acquisition of Morton Salt67619Created a deal-saving structure that convinced K+S, the German salt and fertiliser producer, to go through with its acquisition of US-based Morton Salt. The deal was complicated as Dow Chemical, the seller of Morton Salt, was going through a merger with rival Rohm and Haas, which set a tight, three-week timetable
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & HamiltonHighly commendedIMB HoldCo purchase of IndyMac from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation77519Enabling private equity investors – including Dune Capital, JC Flowers and George Soros’s Soros Fund Management – to take ownership of a failed Californian mortgage lender from the federal government introduced a new source of recapitalisation for a slew of similarly failing regional banks. Cleary led a highly collaborative transaction that required co-ordinating the legal teams representing each investor
Simpson Thacher & BartlettCommendedSaving the Nets' Brooklyn arena project66618In the first example of a foreign national taking a majority stake in a National Basketball Association franchise, the firm knitted together debt and equity investment from a Russian fund to secure the relocation of the New Jersey Nets to a new arena and retail development in Brooklyn
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & GarrisonCommendedCitigroup divestiture of Nikko business lines67518Completing the sale of three Japanese businesses to three different buyers on the same day realised $10bn for Citigroup, the US bank, during difficult market conditions. The firm managed many competing interests to give Citigroup a clear path toward its goal of restoring its balance sheet
Dewey & LeBoeufCommendedMetLife's $16bn acquisition of AIG's Alico unit66618Unbundling Alico, AIG’s overseas insurance unit, demanded the lawyers demonstrate cross-disciplinary and cross-border collaboration. Stand-out structuring work by the tax lawyers enabled the firm's client to agree a deal that transformed it into an international group
Davis Polk & WardwellCommendedPepsiCo's acquisition of its two largest bottlers66618Buying two US publicly listed companies at the same time was unprecedented. Transforming the company as well as the industry, PepsiCo's $7.8bn acquisition of its two leading bottling companies, with operations spanning the breadth of the continental US, was further complicated by the cross-conditionality of each of the deals
Paul HastingsCommendedStrategic alliance between Dong-A and GlaxoSmithKline66517Dong-A, the South Korean pharmaceuticals group, turned to Paul Hastings to protect its interests in negotiating its tie-up with GSK, its UK-based rival. Translating the implications of far-reaching legislation such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act should make this a test case for Korean companies with global ambitions, and for multinationals looking to break into the family-controlled domestic market
Schiff HardinCommendedEveryBlock.com acquisition by MSNBC.com56516Familiarity with software development meant the firm could assist its start-up client in making the transition from a $1.1m grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to ownership under the Microsoft umbrella. Tackling issues surrounding open-source code have changed the terms governing subsequent start-up grants by the not-for-profit foundation
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