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Mergers & Acquisitions

Best of the Middle Market, Energy and Industrials Featured Firm: Willkie Farr

By Deal Staff
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Published: June 22nd, 2020
As a nominee for Energy & Industrials Law Firm of the Year for The Deal’s Middle Market Awards, the firm has provided legal advice on transactions that span the oil, natural gas, infrastructure, power, energy transition, industrial manufacturing, building products and specialty chemicals sectors.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP handles some of the most complex energy and industrial transactions, combining deep industry experience with the firm’s extensive transactional capabilities.

As a nominee for Energy & Industrials Law Firm of the Year for The Deal’s Middle Market Awards, the firm has provided legal advice on transactions that span the oil, natural gas, infrastructure, power, energy transition, industrial manufacturing, building products and specialty chemicals sectors. In 2019, specifically, the firm handled dozens of middle-market M&A transactions for leading players throughout the energy and industrials sectors, including for energy and industrial buyout funds, as well as project developers and sponsors.

Willkie advised Glendale Energy Capital in its joint venture platform with TPG Sixth Street Partners in June, Colony Capital Inc. and an affiliate in a drilling joint venture with California Resources Corp. in July and Pickering Energy Partners Inc. in a strategic joint venture with Henry Resources in September. The joint venture deals each brought in about $500 million and ranked among the largest in their respective specialties. Willkie advised Houston-based York Tactical Energy Fund in a $125 million joint venture in the DJ Basin with Bayswater Natural Resources in December and was counsel to Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors LP in its substantial investment in Ensign Natural Resources LLC alongside Warburg Pincus LLC in May.

On the industrials side, the firm’s work with Atlas Holdings LLC and Sterling Group LP has stood out. Notably, in March Willkie represented Atlas Holdings LLC in its acquisition of International Wire Group Holdings Inc., a leading designer and manufacturer of highly-engineered copper-based wire products. In July, the firm advised Atlas in its acquisition of the Snacks Division of TreeHouse Foods Inc., which is one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of private label healthy snacks in North America, including nuts, dried fruit and trail mixes. Atlas and its affiliates own and operate a diversified group of 20 platform companies that operate in industrial sectors such as aluminum processing, automotive, building materials, construction services, food manufacturing and distribution, packaging, paper, power generation, pulp, supply chain management and wood products. Willkie also represented Atlas in connection with acquiring its interest in Verso Corp. (VRS), a North American producer of specialty and graphic papers, packaging and pulp.

Regarding Sterling, in November Willkie advised Time Manufacturing Co., a Sterling portfolio company, in its acquisition of composite service body manufacturer BrandFX Body Co. and, in October, advised fellow Sterling portfolio company Construction Supply Group in the acquisition of Construction Materials Inc., a wholesale distributor of specialty building products, primarily for concrete contractors. Willkie also provided legal advice to Sterling in its acquisition of securement packaging industry leader Polychem Corp. in March and helped Sterling exit air and materials handling equipment maker Process Barron in a sale to Carousel Capital Partners LP that month. The Process Barron sale came just shy of four years after Sterling bought the Birmingham, Ala.-based company, a deal on which Willkie advised.

Among other industrial deals in 2019, Willkie advised FFL Partners LLC and Icynene-Lapolla in a $350 million sale to The Woodlands, Texas, chemical giant Huntsman Corp., and represented railcar designer and manufacturer American Railcar Industries in the sale of its manufacturing business to Greenbrier Companies for $430 million. In the large-cap realm, Willkie also advised Colony Capital on its $5.9 billion sale of Colony Industrial to Blackstone.

Willkie provides corporate and private equity representation to clients across a broad range of transaction types and verticals, including energy, industrial, manufacturing and financial services. The firm opened its Houston office in 2014 to extend the firm’s capabilities to sponsors in the region. Across the firm, Willkie’s international team advises clients on a wide range of transactions and projects throughout the energy, infrastructure and industrials sectors in the US, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa.

The firm’s corporate and financial services department is co-chaired by partners William H. Gump and Steven A. Seidman, who also co-chairs the M&A practice group. David K. Boston is also co-chair of the M&A practice group. Bruce Herzog and Michael De Voe Piazza are the firm’s energy practice co-heads and Houston managing partners.

Editor’s note: This article was sponsored by Willkie Farr & Gallagher.

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