White & Case is bringing on a pair of partners from Latham & Watkins and Kirkland & Ellis, to grow its global mergers and acquisitions practice and its ability to advise on booming special purpose acquisition companies or SPACs.
Latham’s Thomas Christopher and Kirkland’s James Hu are joining the firm in its New York office.
Christopher, a former Kirkland and Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson partner, has represented public companies, special committees, and financial sponsors in a wide array of M&A, investment, and joint venture transactions over the last three decades. He’s also worked on corporate governnance matters. Clients have included Sony Pictures Entertainment and NRG Energy.
Hu, who joined Kirkland as an associate in 2014 from Sullivan & Cromwell, advises public companies and financial sponsors in domestic and cross-border M&A transactions and works on structuring, negotiating, and executing complex business combinations, including SPACs. He’s worked with Danaher Corporation and Baxalta Inc.
“Tom and James are highly experienced M&A lawyers with a focus on public company transactions, which is an extremely busy area for us,” said John Reiss, global head of White & Case’s M&A practice, in a statement.
In 2020, White & Case advised on 328 deals worth more than $228 billion, according to Bloomberg data. So far in 2021, the firm has advised on 59 deals worth $29 billion.
“I made the move to White & Case because it has one of the preeminent M&A practices both in the Americas and around the globe,” Christopher said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg Law. He cited the firm’s balance between public M&A and private equity, as well as its work in energy, infrastructure, consumer, and life sciences as a good fit for his clients.
White & Case has been very active in the SPAC market. These “blank check companies"have become a popular alternative method for companies looking to go public. SPACs raised nearly $80 billion in 2020 and appear poised to blow past that record in 2021.
White & Case has already grabbed a considerable number of such deals this year, advising on 46 through the end of February, which nearly matches its SPAC deal flow in all of 2020, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The firm has been busy on the lateral front over the last year.
Earlier in 2021, it added Douglas Landy, who led Milbank’s regulatory and fintech practice, as a partner in its global financial services regulatory practice in New York.
Last summer the firm brought on a four-lawyer team from Winston & Strawn to bolster its capital markets practice and added Holland & Knight partner Germaine Gurr to its global M&A practice in New York.
It’s worked on growing its restructuring practice, a hot area during the coroanvirus pandemic, last year adding former Sidley Austin bankruptcy practice co-leaders Jessica Boelter and Bojan Guzina. White & Case also hired Keith Wofford, who had co-chaired Ropes & Gray’s restructuring practice, and former Ropes & Gray partner Stephen Moeller-Sally.