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November 13, 2009 6:00 AM

Dealmaker of the Week: Michael Ringler of Wilson Sonsini

Posted by Matt Straquadine

At The Am Law Daily we value many qualities, including--sometimes especially--persistence. For lawyers to really serve their clients, they need to keep at it, even when they strike out the first time.

Such was the case with 3Com, a Massachusetts-based networking company that's been looking for a suitor for some time. In 2007 3Com announced a $2.2 billion buyout agreement with Bain Capital. But the deal fell through after U.S. regulators insisted that Bain boot minority investor Huawei Technologies Co. from the buy. Uncle Sam wasn’t comfortable with a Chinese company taking a stake in 3Com, which sells security software to government agencies through a subsidiary.

2997 After that deal broke down, 3Com was restless. The company sued Bain for a $66 million breakup fee, a case that is ongoing. (Wilson Sonsini litigation partner Boris Feldman is handling 3Com's suit against Bain, before Delaware chancellor John Noble.)

Meanwhile, Michael Ringler, an M&A partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, set out to find a better deal. 

On Wednesday, he did just that, serving as lead counsel on 3Com’s merger agreement with computer giant Hewlitt-Packard Co. for $2.7 billion. Ringler helped secure a higher price--no small feat in this economy--and experts think this deal is certain to close.

“Regulators may require some divestitures, but I haven’t seem much of that in this sector," says William Asher, an M&A partner and executive committee member at Choate Hall & Stewart.

Without RIngler, lawyers say, the merger wouldn’t have come together. “He was driving everything about this transaction,” says Renata Hesse, a Wilson Sonsini antitrust partner who worked with him on the deal. “He’s fantastic at pulling together deals.” Ringler couldn't be reached for comment.

As many in the business press have speculated, HP’s decision to make this deal now may be in response to Cisco’s acquisition of Starent Networks for $2.9 billion last month and a joint venture with EMC the company announced last week.

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