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August 30, 2010 3:56 PM

Good Times Continue at MoFo with $943 Million Cogent Deal

Posted by Brian Baxter

It's official: Morrison & Foerster is on a hot streak.

On the same day that the firm advised Intel on its second major acquisition is as many weeks, MoFo lawyers took the lead representing Cogent Systems on its $943 million acquisition by St. Paul, Minn.-based conglomerate 3M.

Scott Stanton, the chair of the firm's corporate practice, advised Cogent on the deal along with emerging company cochair Steve Rowles, technology partner Mark Wicker, employee benefits partner Paul Borden, antitrust cochair W. Stephen Smith, antitrust partner Jonathan Gowdy, and of counsel Panagiotis "Aki" Bayz and J. Nathan Jensen.

Jensen says that MoFo has represented the Pasadena-based biometric identification provider since it went public six years ago. The firm also handled Cogent's $322.5 million follow-on offering in June 2005, as well as the company's May 2008 acquisition of Maximus's security unit. Cogent has no in-house legal department, Jensen says, and thus relies on MoFo for most of its legal needs.

Asked about the volume of works these past few weeks in MoFo's corporate department, Jensen remains cautious about the current state of M&A, but does sound an optimistic note for the future.

"Everybody's talking about how busy August has been, and while I think that we're all hopeful that this is going to continue, I've also heard some pessimism out there from deal lawyers I've talked to in general," Jensen says. "But especially after last year, there's obviously a lot of hope that deal volume will continue."

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton M&A partner Christopher Austin in New York represented 3M. Kim Price, assistant general counsel at 3M, headed up in-house legal matters on the Cogent deal.

Austin was part of a Cleary team in May that advised VeriSign on the sale of its Internet security business to Symantec for $1.3 billion. He previously advised 3M on its $1.3 billion acquisition of Cuno in 2005 and $2.1 billion sale of its pharmaceutical business in 2006.

The acquisition of Cogent is expected to close before the end of the year, according to a statement by 3M announcing the transaction.

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