Cravath Lawyer Credits Talking Texan for M&A Successes
Posted Oct 19, 2009 7:39 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Jim Woolery, a 40-year-old partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York, has represented four Texas companies over the last five years in buyouts valued at more than $60 billion. He thinks more deals are in the offing because the seller’s market is heating up—and he hopes to be part of them.
To what does he attribute his success? Woolery talked about his appeal in an interview with the Dallas Morning News. “They like me in Texas because I'm from this fancy New York law firm, but I talk Texan," he said.
He explained that he is the son of a small-town Kentucky lawyer disguised in designer suits. "A lot of the things that I learned from my father you can bring to bear in a big New York firm," Woolery told the Dallas Morning News. "That's the real distinction between me and the classic New York lawyer."
Woolery has represented the seller’s side of:
• Michaels Stores Inc. in its $6 billion buyout by Bain Capital LLC and Blackstone Group in 2006.
• The Container Store’s sale to Leonard Green & Partners, which allowed its founders Kip Tindell and Garrett Boone to maintain control.
• The sale of TXU Corp., bought by KKR & Co. and TPG Inc. for $43 billion with a combination of high-yield, high-risk loans and bonds, according to Bloomberg.
• The $8.4 billion sale of Affiliated Computer Services Inc. to the Xerox Corp. ACS chairman Darwin Deason was paid a premium for his shares, according to the New York Times blog The Deal Professor.
Woolery called Deason "a modern-day deal jockey with a Ph.D. in transactions.” He told the Morning News that Deason worked harder and longer on the deal than any Cravath associate.
"Darwin had us on a 27-hour clock,” Woolery told the newspaper. "We were flying over the international dateline to get the extra hours."
For his part, Deason called Woolery the "best businessman who happens to be a lawyer I have ever met.”