The Work

March 2, 2010 12:50 PM

Shearman, Kirkland Advise on Another Dow Chemical Divestiture

Posted by Brian Baxter

The private equity resurgence continues. On Tuesday, Bain Capital announced it would acquire Styron, the plastics division of Dow Chemical, for $1.63 billion in cash.

Shearman & Sterling global cohead of M&A George Casey, M&A counsel Heiko Schiwek, and senior associate Stephen Vander Stoep led a team from the firm advising Dow on the deal. The Midland, Mich.-based manufacturer of specialty chemicals has been a longtime Shearman client.

The firm advised Dow on its proposed acquisition of Rohm and Haas in 2008, which hit the skids a few months later amidst the financial crisis. The $16.5 billion transaction finally closed in April 2009 after the settlement of litigation in Delaware's Chancery Court and Casey advised Dow on its $1.7 billion sale of German agrichemicals company Morton International.

Helping Bain scoop up Dow's latest divestiture is Kirkland & Ellis. The firm has long vied with Ropes & Gray for Bain's transactional work.

Private equity/M&A partners Eunu Chun, Joshua Korff, Christopher Torrente, and Hannah Kong, and associates Shawn O'Hargan, Eric Wedel, Charles Feller, and Henry Ko advised Bain on the deal. (The American Lawyer named Korff one of its Dealmakers of the Year in 2009 for his role representing Clearwire in its $14.5 billion wireless merger with Sprint Nextel to create a new high-speed network called WiMax.)

Kirkland has a longtime relationship with Bain. Newly appointed firm chair Jeffrey Hammes advised the Boston-based private equity and venture capital firm when it teamed up with KKR to buy Toys "R" Us for $6.6 billion in 2005. The firm has advised Bain on several other high-profile deals, such as Bain's $440 million investment in Chinese retailer GOME Electrical Appliances and the leveraged buyout of Italian credit-checking business Cerved last year.

Ropes also has plenty of Bain work to its credit. The firm advised on the contested going-private transaction of Clear Channel Communications in 2008 and recently advised a private equity consortium including Bain on its $1.1 billion leveraged buyout of Dublin-based SkillSoft in February, as well as Bain's January acquisition of the single franchisee of Domino's Pizza restaurants in Japan.

The firm has another feather in its cap: Bain's general counsel Sean Doherty is a Ropes alum. Still, it appears the Ropes v. Kirkland competition continues.

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