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November 2, 2010 2:46 PM

Vinson Takes Lead on $4.4 Billion Oil and Gas Bid

Posted by Brian Baxter

Vinson & Elkins is advising Douglas Miller, chairman and CEO of Exco Resources, who has teamed up with T. Boone Pickens and two private equity firms to launch a $4.36 billion takeover bid for Dallas-based Exco.

Jeffrey Chapman, an M&A partner in Vinson's Dallas office, has taken the lead representing Miller on his potential Exco acquisition. Chapman, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, is also currently representing Dallas-based 7-Eleven on a roughly $2 billion hostile bid for Casey's General Stores, an Iowa-based chain. (Negotiations between the two are now over.)

Miller said in a letter to Exco shareholders that he has joined forces with Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens, a member of Exco's board of directors, and private equity firms Ares Management and Oaktree Capital Management to pursue the deal. Miller's group controls about 30 percent of the outstanding Exco shares, which have plunged 30 percent this year because of sliding natural gas prices, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

Oaktree managing director and general counsel Todd Molz, who joined the Los Angeles-based PE firm four years ago, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether Oaktree has retained separate counsel. Nor did Michael Weiner, the general counsel and co-chief operating officer for L.A.-based Ares, or associate general counsel Daniel Hall.

Haynes and Boone, regular outside counsel to Exco, is advising the company through corporate partners Scott Wallace and Thomas Yang. Exco general counsel William "Lanny" Boeing is handling matters in-house along with assistant general counsel and chief compliance officer Justin Clarke. (Both Boeing and Clarke are Haynes and Boone alums.) A special committee of Exco's board of directors will engage its own counsel, but that firm has not yet been chosen.

The potential Exco transaction wasn't the only oil and gas deal announced this week. Boston-based buyout firm Advent International said on Monday that it has acquired BOS Solutions, a full-service provider of drilling-fluid treatments for oil and gas companies, for an undisclosed amount.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges corporate partner James Westra, managing partner of the firm's Boston office, is advising Advent along with tax partner Jared Rusman, real estate senior counsel Leslie Smith, and litigation and regulatory counsel Patrick O'Toole. The firm advised Advent last summer on its $3.2 billion acquisition of the Royal Bank of Scotland's payment-processing unit and $305 million sale of British variety store chain Poundland to Warburg Pincus.

Weil alum Stephen Erlichman, a corporate and securities partner with Canadian firm Fasken Martineau DuMoulin in Toronto, led a team from that firm serving as local counsel to Advent. Other Fasken lawyers working on the deal include corporate partner Daniel Batista, tax partner Christopher Steeves, and labor and employment partner Ralph Nero.

Canadian firm Macleod Dixon is advising Calgary-based BOS. The deal is expected to close immediately.

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