Bloomberg News

Keker & Van Nest, Wachtell, Paul Weiss: Business of Law (1)

July 05, 2013

Major League Baseball hired San Francisco Attorney John W. Keker to be lead counsel in the suit brought by the city of San Jose, California, accusing it of improperly keeping the Oakland Athletics from moving there to shield the nearby San Francisco Giants from competition.

San Jose alleged in a complaint filed June 18 in federal court that there’s a “blatant conspiracy” by MLB to prevent the A’s from moving and the city has lost millions of dollars in new sales-tax revenue as a result.

Keker, of Keker & Van Nest LLP, will work with the New York office of Proskauer Rose LLP, MLB’s longtime counsel, according to a statement by MLB.

Keker, who specializes in complex antitrust, commercial and intellectual-property cases and securities cases, is helping McGraw-Hill Cos. and its Standard & Poor’s unit fight U.S. fraud claims. He was also recently lead counsel for the U.S. legal adviser to Ecuadorians who obtained an $18 billion judgment against Chevron over environmental damage.

San Jose sought baseball Commissioner Bud Selig’s blessing to relocate the A’s in 2010, according to the complaint. He hasn’t approved the move, which would place the A’s in the defined territory of the Giants, according to the suit, which names Selig as a defendant. The A’s currently play home games at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland, on the east side of the San Francisco Bay.

Major League Baseball intends to block the A’s move using rules that unlawfully restrict the transfer and relocation of teams, San Jose said in the complaint. One such rule says no team can move “within the operating territory of a member without the written consent of such member.”

The case is City of San Jose v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, 13-cv-02787. U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

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Law Firm News

Freshfields Revenue Rise Outperforms Allen & Overy, Linklaters

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, the law firm that advises the Bank of England, increased revenue by 7.2 percent to 1.22 billion pounds ($1.84 billion), outperforming two of its competitors.

Linklaters LLP, another one of the largest London-based law firms, said today that its revenue rose by 1 percent to 1.19 billion pounds in the last financial year. Allen & Overy LLP’s earnings increased less than 1 percent to 1.19 billion pounds.

The firms, three of the largest in the world by revenue, have been relying heavily on fees from litigation and regulatory advice as restructuring, deal work and advice in emerging markets slowed. Freshfields has the largest litigation practice of the three firms by number of lawyers.

“Over the past six years we have worked hard at making our offering across our practices, sectors and geographies as nimble and flexible as possible to ensure we can adapt to changing client demand,” Ted Burke, managing partner at Freshfields, said in a statement. “These strong results demonstrate how this approach is working.”

Freshfields’ profit per equity partner, a key measure of law firm profitability, rose by 7.6 percent to 1.3 million pounds during the last financial year, the firm said in a statement. Partner profit at Linklaters rose by 5.6 percent to 1.3 million pounds.

Allen & Overy’s profit per partner was stable at 1.1 million pounds, the firm said yesterday. Clifford Chance LLP hasn’t reported its earnings yet, and Slaughter and May doesn’t publish results. The five London-based firms are known collectively as the Magic Circle, a term created by U.K. legal trade publications.

Linklater’s revenue stagnated in the last financial year because of “volatile” global markets, while African and Asian markets continue to provide cause for optimism, Simon Davies, the firm’s managing partner, said in a phone interview.

“Our clients continue to face a challenging market and we have done our very best to serve them,” Davies said.

Deals

Exco to Buy Chesapeake Oil and Gas Shale Assets for $1 Billion

Latham & Watkins LLP advised Exco Resources Inc. (XCO:US), the Dallas-based energy producer that agreed to buy Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK:US) assets in the Eagle Ford and Haynesville shale formations for about $1 billion. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is legal adviser to Chesapeake Energy’s Board of Directors. Ray Lees at Commercial Law Group is the outside counsel representing Chesapeake Energy in the transactions.

Latham’s Houston-based corporate team was led by partner Robin Fredrickson. Wachtell Lipton’s team is led by corporate partner David A. Katz.

Exco, whose market value has dropped by more than half since 2010, is adding the equivalent of 6,100 barrels of oil production a day in the Eagle Ford and 114 million cubic feet of natural gas in the Haynesville, the company said July 3 in a statement. The transaction, expected to close this month, includes 55,000 net acres in Texas and 9,600 net acres in Louisiana, Exco said.

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A&O, Morgan Lewis Advise on Rosneft $2.9 Billion Stake Purchase

Allen & Overy LLP advised OAO Rosneft (ROSN) on its acquisition of full control of OOO Itera, an independent natural-gas producer and trader, buying the remaining 49 percent for $2.9 billion as the country’s biggest oil company expands. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP advised Itera.

A&O’s lead partner was Moscow corporate partner Anton Konnov.

Morgan Lewis Moscow partners leading the deal include Roman Dashko and Dina Kzylkhodjaeva. The team on the project also included partner Jonathan Hines.

“Gas business is one of the top priorities,” Rosneft Chief Executive Officer Igor Sechin said in a statement. The deal will boost growth and “will ultimately increase the total capitalization.”

State-controlled Rosneft is challenging OAO Gazprom (GAZP), the world’s biggest gas producer, with plans to double its share of the domestic market and sell liquefied natural gas to Asia. President Vladimir Putin has called for the government to loosen Gazprom’s monopoly with a gradual liberalization of LNG exports.

Rosneft and Itera last year teamed up to produce and sell gas, with the oil producer acquiring 51 percent of the joint venture in exchange for the Kynsko-Chaselsk field and $173.4 million in cash.

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Nokia Buys Out Siemens in Equipment Venture for $2.2 Billion

Shearman & Sterling LLP advised Nokia Oyj (NOK1V), which agreed to buy Siemens AG (SIE)’s share July 1 in a six-year venture for 1.7 billion euros ($2.2 billion), giving the Finnish company full access to the phone-equipment maker’s cashflow for a less-than-estimated price. Slaughter and May LLP advised Nokia.

Shearman’s M&A team consisted of partners Jeremy Kutner, Peter Lyons, Scott Petepiece and Samuel Waxman, M&A/intellectual property transactions. Additional partners on the deal included Mei Lian and Clifford Atkins finance; Jacques McChesney, capital markets; Matthew Readings, antitrust; Iain Scoon, tax; and Doreen Lilienfeld, executive compensation and employee benefits.

Tim Boxell led the team for Siemens.

Nokia will pay 1.2 billion euros for Siemens’s 50 percent stake in Nokia Siemens Networks, with the remainder as a secured loan from Siemens due a year after the deal is completed, the companies said. Nokia doesn’t plan to integrate Nokia Siemens and may still decide to seek partners, Chief Executive Officer Stephen Elop said on a conference call.

The Finnish handset maker fighting to come back in the smartphone industry jumped as much as 10 percent in Helsinki trading. The purchase price values the venture, which became profitable last year, at 3.4 billion euros, less than at least 5 billion euros projected by Hannu Rauhala, a Helsinki-based analyst at Pohjola Bank. Siemens has been seeking to exit wireless-gear manufacturing to focus on energy equipment, health-care and infrastructure projects.

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Moves

Paul Weiss Adds Estate Planning Partner in New York

Loretta A. Ippolito joined Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP as a partner in its personal representation department. Ippolito, formerly a partner and co-chairman of the private clients group at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, will be resident in New York, where she will focus her practice on estate planning and estate and trust administration for high net worth individuals and families, the firm said.

“Loretta is an important addition to our personal representation department,” partner and co-chairman of the personal representation department Alan Halperin said in a statement. “Loretta is one of the leading lawyers in the field, and she brings a thoughtful and creative approach to advising clients.”

Paul Weiss has more than 700 lawyers at eight offices in North America, London and Asia.

Jones Day Adds Banking & Finance Team in Hong Kong

Michelle Taylor, formerly Asia managing partner and China office leader at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, is joining Jones Day’s banking and finance group in Hong Kong.

Taylor’s focuses her practice on structured finance, real estate finance, debt capital markets, general banking and securitization, the firm said.

“Michelle’s in-depth knowledge and market-leading experience in structured finance make her a great asset to our clients and significantly enhances our ability to work on the some of the most innovative financial transactions in the region,” Robert Thomson, partner-in-charge of Jones Day Hong Kong, said in a statement.

Jones Day has more than 2,400 lawyers at 40 offices worldwide.

Cozen O’Connor Adds Partners in Florida and Los Angeles

Cozen O’Connor added two senior lateral attorneys: corporate transactions attorney Jahan S. Islami, formerly of K&L Gates LLP, who joins the firm as a partner in the Florida office, and commercial litigator Matthew S. Steinberg, of Greenberg Traurig LLP, who joins the firm as a partner in the Los Angeles office.

Islami focuses on corporate transactions, private-equity and other financings and general corporate matters, the firm said.

Steinberg has more than three decades of business litigation experience involving major commercial disputes, including in trade secrets disputes and class actions.

Cozen O’Connor has 575 attorneys at 23 offices in North America and London.

Patrick Ryan Joins Jeffer Mangels as Antitrust Head

Commercial trial lawyer Patrick M. Ryan has joined Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP as a partner and will head the firm’s antitrust practice group. He was previously with Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP.

Ryan has experience in complex commercial litigation including antitrust, class-action, intellectual-property, anti-counterfeiting/supply chain, and constitutional matters, the firm said.

“Throughout his legal career, he has produced outstanding results by advising his corporate clients in how to mitigate litigation risk, by resolving disputes creatively and efficiently, and by going to trial and winning,” Jeffer Mangels managing partner Bruce Jeffer said in a statement.

Jeffer Mangels has 125 lawyers at three California offices.

Ogletree Deakins Adds McGuireWoods Partner in Virginia

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart PC added Amy Pocklington as a shareholder in its Richmond, Virginia, office. She was previously at McGuireWoods LLP.

Pocklington focuses her practice on traditional labor relations and employment law including election representation and unfair labor practice charges before the National Labor Relations Board, advising and training on union avoidance and campaign strategies. Earlier in her career she was the general counsel for Performance Food Group Co., the firm said.

Ogletree Deakins has more than 650 lawyers in 44 offices in the U.S. and in Europe.

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

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


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Companies Mentioned

  • XCO
    (EXCO Resources Inc)
    • $3.67 USD
    • -0.11
    • -3.0%
  • CHK
    (Chesapeake Energy Corp)
    • $24.06 USD
    • -0.10
    • -0.42%
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