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Wake Up Call: PG&E Gets Court Nod for $13.5 Billion Deal with Fire Victims

Dec. 18, 2019, 1:12 PM
  • Bankrupt utility giant PG&E Corp. won court approval for its $13.5 billion plan to compensate the victims of catastrophic fires blamed on its equipment, as a well as a deal with insurers. The settlement is crucial for PG&E’s exit from bankruptcy, but California Governor Gavin Newsome still opposes the utility’s overall reorganization plan. (BN via BLAW) PG&E’s been getting advice from Weil Gotshal & Manges; Cravath, Swaine & Moore; and other firms in the bankruptcy. (BLB)

  • Minneapolis-based Faegre Baker Daniels and Drinker Biddle & Reath confirmed they’re merging to create a new, top-50 firm with about 1,300 attorneys and consultants, including about 400 equity partners, working out of 22 offices, with its annual gross revenues expected to top $950 million. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Citigroup, Barclays, and the other global banks accused of rigging the $550 billion market for bonds backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac agreed to pay $337 million to settle the antitrust claims facing them in Manhattan federal court. (BLAW)

  • Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Peugeot SA sealed the merger deal they announced in October and will combine into an automaker worth about $46 billion. (BN via BLAW) Covington & Burling advised Peugeot maker PSA Group and its Supervisory Board. Sullivan & Cromwell and Linklaters have also been among firms advising on the deal. (Law.com) Willkie Farr & Gallagher said last month it’s advising French investment bank Bpifrance on the merger. (Willkie.com)

  • Proskauer client Discovery yesterday announced its acquisition of Latin American Golf, which operates Golf Channel Latin America, a 24-hour pay TV channel. The seller is Simple Networks and Fornaluz Productions, a unit of Inversiones Bahia. Terms weren’t disclosed. (Hollywood Reporter) (Proskauer.com)

  • Legal tech mergers in 2020 will likely be driven by a push to create comprehensive platforms that combine individual apps and other tools. (BLAW via BLB)

  • U.S. law firms seem to be losing interest in Hong Kong IPO work, a report says. (American Lawyer)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Commercial space travel company Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. hired space tech in-house leader Michelle Kley to be its new general counsel. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.'s longtime general counsel Allan Rauch is out in a corporate restructuring and his interim replacement is a former in-house lawyer at the company returning from private practice. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. was sued in Delaware by its former top lawyer, who claims the tech company isn’t paying the legal fees he’s racked up since getting indicted by U.S. authorities. (BLAW)

  • Sanctions are appropriate for an Illinois attorney who allowed a client write and submit her own “incoherent” appellate brief in a “hopeless” employment case, a court said. (BLAW)

  • Robins Kaplan said it was named co-lead counsel for a nationwide putative class action lawsuit filed in California and accusing Japanese conglomerates TDK Corp. and NHK Spring Co. of leading a global conspiracy to inflate the prices of a key hard disk drive component. (RobinsKaplan.com) A federal antitrust lawsuit was filed against those companies in Michigan in July. (BLAW)

  • McGuireWoods launched a digital magazine and LinkedIn group aimed at bringing together alumni from the firm. (McGuireWoods.com)

Deals

  • Aspen Surgical Products, Inc., which makes surgical and patient safety disposable products, announced the acquisition of Redmond, Washington-based Beatty Marketing & Sales LLP, which makes orthopedic products and is advised by K&L Gates. Deal terms weren’t disclosed. (Businesswire.com)

  • Deal update: Hogan Lovells advised Glenfarne Group and its affiliate Alder Midstream, which acquired natural gas gathering and processing business IACX Energy, based in Dallas, Texas. Seller was funds managed by Houston-based private equity firm Haddington Ventures. Milbank advised lenders on the transaction. (HoganLovells.com) (BLB)

  • Media investment start-up Attention Capital acquired women’s entrepreneurship network Girlboss, which was advised by Cooley. (TechCrunch) (WWD.com)

  • DLA Piper represented CallMiner, a provider of AI-powered speech and customer interaction analytics, on a $75 million investment it got from Goldman Sachs. (VentureBeat.com)

  • Morrison & Foerster advised Ally Bridge Group in connection with financing totaling $85 million in Imperative Care, a startup that develops treatments for strokes. Bain Capital Life Sciences also participated in the round, according to the press release. (Businesswire.com)

  • Dechert client FS Investment, an alternative investment manager, agreed to acquire money manager Chiron Investment Management. Terms weren’t disclosed. (Pensions&Investments)

Laterals, Moves, In-house, Promotions

  • Carlton Fields hired veteran private equity and securities attorney Steven T. Anapoell as of counsel in Los Angeles. With over three decades’ experience, Anapoell was most recently managing partner and former general counsel at BridgeForth Capital. He was a founding shareholder of Greenberg Traurig’s Orange County, California office. (CarltonFields.com)

  • Snell & Wilmer said its Denver office expanded its intellectual property practice, adding patent attorneys James L. Johnson, Kent Lembke and Russell T. Manning early this month and Ross E. Breyfogle will join Dec. 30. All four join as counsel from boutique IP firm Marsh Fischmann & Breyfogle. (SWLaw.com)

Legal Actions, Bankruptcies, Decisions

  • Freelance journalists and photographers sued California over a new worker classification law that they claim hinders their free speech rights. (BLAW)

  • Smith & Wesson Corp. was hit by a Canadian$ 150 million ($114 million) negligence class-action lawsuit filed by victims of a mass shooting in Toronto last year. (BN via BLAW)

Technology

  • Wikimedia Foundation doesn’t have standing to challenge the National Security Agency’s “Upstream” surveillance program as unlawful under the U.S. Constitution, a Maryland federal court said. (BLAW)

Legal Education

  • UCLA School of Law launched a master’s degree program aimed at professionals who want to study legal issues that affect their industries but do not plan to practice law. (Newsroom.UCLA.edu)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at rMitchell@correspondent.bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Darren Bowman at dbowman@bloomberglaw.com

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