Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP has sat at the deal table with Fortress Investment Group LLC for years, so the law firm seemed the obvious choice to help Fortress nab D.B. Zwirn & Co. LP for virtually nothing in late April. Fortress, which manages about $27 billion in private equity and hedge fund assets, has agreed to take over management of the $2.5 billion hedge fund for free and will assume 5% of any profits it makes unwinding the fund's holdings as well as a management fee equal to 1% of Zwirn's assets.
Skadden's Joseph Coco was front and center on the Zwirn deal. Coco has been at Fortress' side for more than half a dozen deals, including its $3.5 billion leveraged buyout of railroad and real estate company Florida East Coast Industries Inc. in 2007; its $2.4 billion go-private of Interpool Inc. that same year; and its $320 million acquisition of Bermuda insurer Alea Group Holdings Ltd., also in 2007. He also helped to advise New York-based Fortress on its initial public offering in February 2007. Working alongside Coco on the Zwirn takeover were Skadden's Russell D'Oench III, Philip Harris, Stephen Banker and Justin Askew.
Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP's André Weiss, Harry Davis, Philippe Benedict and Kimberly Monroe guided Zwirn's limited partners on the transfer of the relatively illiquid portfolio assets to Fortress. Schulte represented the fund in 2005 in its dispute with four radio station operators that filed for Chapter 11. San Francisco's Cooley Godward Kronish LLP's Chet Lipton, Lynn Horwitz and Lesse Castleberry represented the Zwirn general partners.
For financial advice, Zwirn turned to boutique bank Berenson & Co. LLC's Jeffrey Berenson, Richard Oh and Anuraag Agarwal.
Berenson began working with Zwirn about two years ago, when it first
ran into problems. In February 2008 Zwirn announced plans to wind down
its operation after it delayed releasing a financial audit and was
battered with $2 billion in redemption requests.