Weil Named 2021 Law360 Private Equity Practice Group of the Year

Weil has been profiled by Law360 as a 2021 “Private Equity Practice Group of the Year” for advising on numerous major transactions over the past year, including several large special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) transactions, and for counseling clients including Blackstone and Advent International.

Kevin Sullivan, Co-Head of Weil’s Private Equity practice and Co-Managing Partner of Weil’s Boston office, told Law360, “the secret to the group’s success is the diversity and depth of the practice’s 300-plus attorneys.” He added, “we’re not dependent on one particular client or even a few clients, and we’re not dependent on one or a few partners who generate all the work. We have just an incredibly deep team both on the partner side and also on the client side, and I think that’s really unlike a lot of our peer firms.”

Douglas Warner, Co-Head of Weil’s Private Equity practice, continued, “Weil has a large blue-chip client base, representing eight of the top 10 global private equity funds and 80% of the top 25 largest global private equity funds.” “We’re to the point that we really have seen everything in this business, and therefore we can give top-tier advice to clients,” he added.

Law360 highlighted how Weil worked with the Blackstone Group Inc. on a slew of investments, including the purchase of a majority stake in Certified Collectibles Group LLC that valued the company at more than $500 million, as well as a $130 million Series F funding round for artificial intelligence company Vectra AI Inc., a company for which Blackstone serves as lead investor.

While SPAC deals have seen a boom over the past year, Doug noted how the Firm has been working on these types of transactions for more than a decade. “Despite the recent surge in popularity of SPAC transactions, we’ve been deeply entrenched in the area for a long time, so we know it backwards and forwards,” he said. Law360 reported that over the past year, Weil has worked on numerous SPAC transactions, including counseling TPG Pace Solutions Corp. in its $4.5 billion business combination with Vacasa LLC, and advising SPAC Gores Guggenheim Inc. in its $20 billion merger with Polestar Performance AB.

“Another major client of the firm, Advent International, also employed Weil’s expertise in navigating SPAC transactions through it and its portfolio company ATI Physical Therapy Holdings LLC’s $2.5 billion merger with Fortress Value Acquisition Corp. II, a SPAC sponsored by Fortress Investment Group,” Law360 reported. Commenting on this, Kevin said, “the scale and length of the Firm’s relationship with Advent is what gives it strength … last year was probably one of [Weil’s] busiest years as the company’s primary outside counsel.”

Law360 also highlighted the team’s work on both buy side and sell side deals, including advising longtime clients Providence Equity Partners and PSG in selling about seven companies between them, including a $7.5 billion sale of ZeniMax Media, Inc.; leading Providence Equity Partners through its majority stake acquisition of 365 Retail Markets; and counseling Apollo Global Management on its first single asset general partner transaction sponsored by Alpine Investors and involving Ingenio LLC for $340 million of additional equity capital as part of a broader $462 million single asset secondary market transaction to fund future growth for Ingenio.

“Single asset GP deals exploded — they started gaining popularity in 2019, 2020, but they really exploded in 2021, and that’s probably a trend that will continue,” Doug said. Kevin went on to note that the team, and the wider Firm, are focused on building on that momentum by expanding Weil’s Private Equity practice. “We’re highly focused on continuing to build our successes … the Firm recognizes that private equity is one of the most important, if not the most important, practice group, so we are continuing to expand the practice to make sure that we’re capturing market share and opportunities and continuing to add to our partner base,” Kevin remarked.