Texas law firms exporting their mergers and acquisitions expertise _ business _ dallas news

When Kansas natural gas company Ferrellgas Partners decided to purchase Bridger Logistics last June for $838 million, Ferrellgas hired lawyers from Akin Gump in Houston to do the deal. Z gas tecate By contrast, Dallas-based Bridger turned to the national law firm Latham & Watkins as its legal adviser.

A month later, Dallas-based Energy Future Holdings hired the national law firm Kirkland & Ellis to handle the $19 billion sale of Oncor to Hunt Consolidated and a handful of hedge funds based in New York. Gas leak explosion The northeastern hedge funds used lawyers from the Dallas and Houston offices of Vinson & Elkins as their legal advisers.

The two deals are examples of a developing trend in the world of mergers and acquisitions in the energy sector: a growing number of Texas-based companies employ national law firms to handle their legal work, while corporate law firms headquartered in Dallas and Houston are increasingly being engaged by out-of-state businesses.

For six years, large Texas legacy law firms hemorrhaged talent and long-time, local clients to elite national firms that set up new outposts in Dallas and Houston.

Data shows that major corporations headquartered in Texas turned more often to the national law firms instead of regional firms to handle their big-dollar mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, divestitures and securities offerings.

That same data, however, indicates that some of the biggest Texas-based firms are generating increased revenues by exporting their legal expertise in oil and gas law to energy companies and private equity firms headquartered beyond the state’s borders.

“The Texas legal market is maturing before our eyes,” Ward Bower, a law firm consultant at Altman Weil, told The Texas Lawbook in an interview late last year.

Legal industry analysts say that the nine largest Texas-based law firms — Andrews Kurth, Akin Gump, Baker Botts, Bracewell, Haynes and Boone, Locke Lord, Norton Rose Fulbright, Thompson & Knight and Vinson & Elkins — watched almost helplessly during the past six years as national law firms moved into the Dallas and Houston markets and stole away some of their best M&A and capital markets lawyers by offering significantly more money.

“Prior to 2010, the big Texas law firms had Texas-based companies all to themselves,” Bower said in an interview. K electric bill payment online “The Texas law firms never had to compete for business.

“Then Latham moved into Houston, hired some of the best corporate lawyers from the top Texas law firms,” he said. Electricity bill calculator “Latham witnessed extraordinary success in Texas, so other law firms followed. Electricity in costa rica voltage The Texas law firms are only now learning to compete.”

The elite national law firms — Latham, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Kirkland & Ellis, Sidley Austin and Simpson Thacher & Barlett — gambled that large Texas corporations would continue to use the same lawyers even if those lawyers leaped to other law firms.

Mergermarket, an independent global research firm, shows that 16 of the 25 law firms that advised the most Texas businesses in their 2015 M&A activity are based outside of Texas.

That is an exact flip from 2009, when Mergermarket showed that 17 of the top 25 legal advisers in Texas were law firms headquartered in the state.

“The invasion of national firms negatively impacted all the corporate law firms based in Texas,” said Chad Watt, a Dallas-based analyst for Mergermarket. Electricity facts “The numbers don’t lie.”

Data from The Texas Lawbook’s Corporate Deal Tracker and Mergermarket shows that several of the Texas-based law firms — either intentionally or by happenstance — offset the loss of local clients in 2015 by significantly increasing the amount of legal work they did for non-Texas businesses.

Seven of the nine Texas legacy law firms increased the number of deals they handled for out-of-state corporations in 2015 — five of the nine by more than 25 percent, according to Mergermarket.

“A lot of the biggest deals we did last year were for non-Texas companies, but that was not by design,” said Bracewell M&A partner Roxanne Almaraz, who practices in Dallas and Houston.

“We really don’t think about clients as being based in Texas or elsewhere,” said Almaraz, who represented Connecticut-based GE Energy Financial and Alinda Capital in its sale of natural gas utilities to Black Hills Corp. Grade 9 electricity formulas for $1.89 billion in November.

The Corporate Deal Tracker shows that the M&A lawyers at three Texas-based law firms — Akin Gump, Bracewell and V&E — did nearly as much legal work for out-of-state businesses in 2015 as they did for hometown clients.

John Goodgame, a corporate partner at Dallas-based Akin Gump, said “it was natural” that companies involved in the oil, gas and power sectors across the U.S. Gas 1981 “would seek legal assistance from” Texas law firms.

“Houston is the world’s center for energy law expertise,” said Goodgame, who represented a half-dozen non-Texas energy firms in deals in 2015, including Arizona-based Northern Tier Energy, Kansas-based Ferrellgas and two Colorado oil companies, Bison Midstream and Westmoreland Resource Partners.

M&A lawyers for Akin Gump and Bracewell in Texas each advised 28 Texas companies involved in M&A activity in 2015. Youtube gas monkey Those same attorneys for the two firms handled deals for 27 out-of-state businesses last year.

Corporate lawyers in the Texas offices of Baker Botts represented clients in 47 separate transactions in 2015 — 35 percent were for clients headquartered elsewhere.

“General counsel both in Texas and elsewhere just want to hire those who have the expertise to get the job done,” said Kelly Rose, a partner in the Houston office of Baker Botts. Gas x reviews ratings “It makes sense that energy companies seeking the best M&A and capital markets lawyers will look at Baker Botts or V&E or another one of the law firms here.”

“As deals become more bankruptcy-oriented, we will see more financial buyers from New York, Connecticut and elsewhere stepping forward as creditors and investors,” Goodgame said.