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Drinks With The Deal: V&E’s Gill on Evolution of Houston Legal Market

Published: May 9th, 2024
Vinson & Elkins co-head of M&A and capital markets Steve Gill talks about how the rise of energy PE has changed the Houston legal market and what he learned from advising Huntsman on its troubled deal with Apollo.

A busted deal was central to the development of Stephen Gill as a lawyer, the co-head of M&A and capital markets at Vinson & Elkins LLP in Houston said on this week’s Drinks With The Deal podcast.

In 2007, Gill, then a senior associate, helped advise Huntsman Corp. (HUN) on a $9.6 billion agreement to sell to Basell NV. But Hexion Specialty Chemicals Inc., a portfolio company of Apollo Global Management Inc. (APO), came in with a topping bid of $10.6 billion, and Huntsman, a chemicals manufacturer based in The Woodlands, Texas, took the higher offer.

When the credit markets froze just weeks later, Hexion got cold feet and ended up trying to walk from the deal. Huntsman sued in the Delaware Court of Chancery to force Hexion to close, and after then-Vice Chancellor Stephen P. Lamb found for Huntsman, the companies settled the litigation on terms very favorable to the target.

“It does make you much more careful in drafting,” Gill said on the podcast, “particularly if you’re drafting things that haven’t been interpreted by the court.” Gill, who became a partner at V&E in 2009, also discussed the rise of energy private equity and the evolution of the Houston legal market.

Check out the podcast with Stephen Gill below:

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