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October 22, 2010 3:39 PM

Three Firms Snag Roles on Caterpillar's $810 Million Deal for German Engine Maker

Posted by Brian Baxter

Caterpillar, the world's largest construction company, has agreed to acquire German engine maker MWM Holding from British private equity firm 3i Group for €580 million--or $810 million--in cash.

Reuters reports that Caterpillar's rich offer likely preempted a formal auction for the Mannheim-based gas and diesel engine manufacturer that would have attracted large strategic buyers. Caterpillar previously tried to acquire MWM three years ago only to be outbid by 3i, according to The Wall Street Journal. (The Journal reports that 3i initially paid £360 million for MWM--not a bad investment, it appears.)

Mayer Brown corporate partner Christof Gaudig, regulatory counsel Marius Boewe, and M&A associate Dirk Langner advised Caterpillar from the firm's Cologne office. The firm has a substantial presence in Germany, having opened offices in Berlin and Cologne in the early nineties and picked up a Frankfurt office through a merger with German firm Gaedertz Rechtsanwälte in 2001.

As previously reported by The Am Law Daily, Mayer Brown began representing Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar in 2004. Since then, the firm has handled several major deals for the company, including its $820 million acquisition in June of locomotive manufacturer Electro-Motive Diesel. (Caterpillar's general counsel is James Buda.)

Clifford Chance corporate partner Kerstin Kopp lead a team from the firm advising 3i on the deal, with Gerald Thomas from British firm SJ Berwin providing tax counsel to the London-based private equity shop.

3i has a longtime client relationship with Clifford Chance, having turned to the firm this past summer for the $668 million sale of its Inspectorate unit to French health and safety agency Bureau Veritas. 3i's group in-house legal counsel is Kevin Dunn, who joined the private equity giant in November 2007.

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