Bloomberg News

Pepper Hamilton, Latham, Debevoise, Weil: Business of Law

August 29, 2012

Pepper Hamilton LLP is merging with the law firm run by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who has supervised the wind-down of bankrupt MF Global Holdings Ltd. (MFGLQ:US) and a probe of Penn State’s child sex abuse scandal.

Freeh will join the 122-year-old Philadelphia-based firm’s executive committee, it said yesterday in a statement. Lawyers at Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP will become members of Pepper Hamilton’s white collar litigation and investigations group.

“The Freeh Group will deepen and broaden Pepper’s already substantial corporate investigations, white collar advocacy and enforcement practice in key markets,” Nina Gussack, chairwoman of Pepper Hamilton’s executive committee, said in the statement.

Freeh, 62, a former federal judge who led the Federal Bureau of Investigation under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001, serves as a bankruptcy trustee for MF Global Holdings and issued a 267-page report last month on Pennsylvania State University’s handling of the scandal surrounding ex-football coach Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted of dozens of counts of sexual abuse.

Founded in 1890, Pepper Hamilton has more than 500 lawyers in seven states and the District of Columbia, according to the firm’s website. The merger will be effective Sept. 1.

The deal includes the acquisition of Freeh Group International Solutions LLC, a consulting firm that advises on issues of risk, compliance and security. The group will retain its name and continue to operate independently of the law firm under the leadership of James Bucknam, its president and chief executive officer, according to the statement.

“This transaction will allow us to do a lot more than conduct investigations and uncover problems,” Freeh said in the statement. “We will now have the depth to react quickly to sophisticated, complex issues anywhere in the world.”

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Deals

Clayton Dubilier to Buy David’s Bridal for $1.05 Billion

Clayton Dubilier & Rice LLC, the private-equity firm that exited Sally Beauty Holdings Inc. (SBH:US) this year, agreed to buy David’s Bridal Inc. for $1.05 billion, gaining the largest low- end wedding-gown retailer in the U.S.

Latham & Watkins LLP advised David’s Bridal while Debevoise & Plimpton LLP advised Clayton Dubilier on the deal.

Latham’s corporate deal team is led by New York partner Howard Sobel and Los Angeles partner Jason Silvera. Advice was also provided by New York finance partner Joshua Tinkelman and Los Angeles partner Mark Stegemoeller; New York benefits and compensation partner Bradd Williamson; New York intellectual property partner Jeffrey Tochner; and Chicago tax partner Joseph Kronsnoble.

The Debevoise team is led by partner Paul S. Bird and includes partners Jonathan F. Lewis, Jeffrey E. Ross and David H. Schnabel.

Leonard Green & Partners, also a private-equity investor, will continue as a minority partner, the companies said yesterday in a statement. No additional terms of the transaction were disclosed.

David’s Bridal, which Leonard Green and TPG Growth bought five years ago in a deal valued at about $750 million, has the most recognized name in its industry in the U.S., according to Standard & Poor’s. The Conshohocken, Pennsylvania-based company has more than half of the market share in the $600-and-under bridal gown market, and a “much lower” share in prices above $800 and higher, Brian Milligan, an S&P analyst, wrote in a note last month.

David’s Bridal, which has 300 stores in North America, has an exclusive partnership with Vera Wang, under the brand White by Vera Wang, and has been working to increase its designer offerings. Paul Pressler, a Clayton Dubilier operating partner and Gap Inc.’s former chief executive officer, will become chairman when the deal closes.

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IAC Will Buy About.com From New York Times for $300 Million

Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI:US) agreed to buy About.com from New York Times Co. (NYT:US) for $300 million in cash, letting the company expand its Ask.com informational-website business.

Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP is representing InterActiveCorp while Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP was legal adviser to Times Co. on the transaction.

Weil’s team was led by New York corporate partner Doug Ryder and included partners Jeff Osterman, intellectual property; Jared Rusman, tax; and Michael Kam, employee benefits.

The Morgan Lewis deal team was led by business and finance partners Howard Kenny and Robert Dickey.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the next several weeks, Times Co. said in a statement.

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News

Geneva Lawyer Demands Probe of German Official on Bank CD Thefts

A Geneva lawyer asked Switzerland’s attorney general to detain and question the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia’s finance minister, Norbert Walter-Borjans, over his alleged role in data theft from Swiss banks.

“It’s public knowledge that this individual has instigated, organized and participated in the theft and piracy of Swiss bank CDs of computer data containing lists of clients,” Pierre Schifferli wrote in an Aug. 24 complaint to the Office of the Attorney General. “These acts seriously violate our Swiss legal system.”

Peter Langer, a spokesman for Walter-Borjans, a member of Germany’s Social Democratic Party, said acquiring the CD was legal. The Swiss Federal Court in Lausanne ruled in 2007 that such data may be used to prosecute tax evasion, Langer said in an e-mailed statement.

Switzerland’s federal prosecutor said Aug. 27 it’s investigating the theft of information from Julius Baer Group Ltd. after the Zurich-based private bank discovered an employee stole data on German offshore clients. North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, has regularly been the subject of reports it bought CDs with Swiss account information on wealthy German clients.

Switzerland’s criminal code contains provisions on business espionage and crimes against the state committed abroad that provide the legal basis to investigate Walter-Borjans, according to the complaint. The intervention is necessary to persuade other German states not to engage in the same activities, said Schifferli, who specializes in business crime law, international mutual legal aid and civil court litigation.

Germany’s Social Democratic Party is leading opposition in the country’s upper house of Parliament to an accord that would levy a tax on German assets held in Swiss banks while keeping client identities secret. The agreement signed last year is a giveaway to tax cheats, Walter-Borjans has said.

Jens Bullerjahn, the finance minister of Sachsen-Anhalt, told SonntagsZeitung this month his state would also buy data on Swiss bank clients.

Julius Baer said yesterday that the suspected data thief was fired by the company and arrested. The bank agreed last year with German authorities to pay 50 million euros ($63 million) to end an investigation over undeclared client assets in a separate case of data theft.

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Moves

Orrick Adds Commercial Litigation Partner From Patton Boggs

Christina Guerola Sarchio joined Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP as a partner in its commercial litigation practice. Sarchio joins the firm’s Washington and New York offices from Patton Boggs LLP, where she was co-chair of the government investigations and litigation practice group.

Sarchio concentrates her practice on commercial litigation, antitrust and white collar criminal defense matters. She has trial experience in federal and state courts, and has represented clients in both criminal and civil litigation, including class actions.

Sarchio’s cases have involved antitrust, contract, business torts, employment, intellectual property, environmental and franchise/dealer issues. Her representation includes clients in the oil and gas, chemical, pharmaceutical, alcoholic beverages, transportation, tobacco and consumer products industry, the firm said.

Clifford Chance Re-Hires Arbitration Lawyer Suarez Anzorena

Clifford Chance LLP announced that Ignacio Suarez Anzorena returned to the firm as a partner in Washington, where he will practice international arbitration in the Americas region. He was previously at Chadbourne & Parke LLP, where he was a partner in the international dispute resolution practice since August 2009, the firm said.

Suarez Anzorena focuses on traditional commercial arbitration, such as contractual disputes, as well as investor- state disputes, including claims brought under bilateral investment treaties and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

A native of Argentina, Suarez Anzorena has worked on matters relating to companies, investors and governments in Europe, South America and the U.S. He has represented clients in arbitrations before tribunals including the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, the firm said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Amon in New York at eamon2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


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