Daily News: September 5, 2014

Jones Day Adds M&A Trio in New York and London

Jones Day announced three partners are joining the firm’s M&A Practice in its New York and London offices. Michael McGuinness and George Flemma have joined in New York, and Benedict O’Halloran will join in London.

McGuinness arrives from the New York office of Shearman & Sterling where he was the leader of that firm’s Latin America M&A practice and an elected member of its governing body, the Policy Committee. Flemma and O’Halloran join from General ElectricFlemma most recently held the role of executive counsel – mergers & acquisitions, leading the worldwide transaction activity of GE Oil & Gas. O’Halloran most recently held the position of general counsel – European Transactions & United Kingdom, leading European M&A activities for GE’s industrial businesses while also serving as GE’s U.K. General Counsel.

“These three lawyers are terrific additions to our M&A Practice, each a first-rate practitioner, with substantial cross-border experience, and in very active sectors,” said Bob Profusek, head of Jones Day’s global M&A Practice. “Their experience at GE will help us continue to drive innovation in client service, an area in which we have been perennially ranked as among the very best.”

As a fluent Spanish speaker of Mexican descent, McGuinness’s Latin American practice focuses on M&A transactions across the region, including Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. Prior to returning to private practice in 2009, he held several prominent roles at GE, including general counsel of GE Sensing & Inspection Technologies. In addition to his Latin America work, McGuinness maintains an active cross-border M&A practice. His recent experience includes representing GE in its $4.3 billion acquisition of the aviation business of Avio S.p.A; GrupoSura in its approximately $3.6 billion acquisition of ING’s Latin America pensions, life insurance and investment operations; and Anglo American plc in its $5.4 billion sale to Mitsubishi of a 24.5% stake in Anglo American Sur, a Chilean copper mining company. McGuinness was recognized as a legal star by the Latin Business Chronicle in its publication of the leading 30 lawyers from international firms, and is ranked as a Leading Individual for Latin American Corporate and M&A by The Legal 500 and Chambers Latin America. He also received a Dealmaker of the Year honorable mention from The American Lawyer in 2012 for his frequent presence on Latin American transactions.

“Mike’s arrival reflects our commitment to the growth of our practice in Latin America,” said Luis Riesgo, partner–in–charge of Jones Day’s Latin AmericaMiami region and São Paulo Office. “Our target is to become the leading global firm in the region, and adding Mike to our already powerful team is another great step toward achieving our goal. Given our strength in Mexico City, São Paulo, Miami, Madrid, Dallas, Houston, and New York, and acting as One Firm Worldwide, Jones Day is well-positioned to serve clients throughout the region, and around the world, with their needs related to Latin America.”

Prior to his leadership role at GE Oil & Gas, Flemma served as Transactions and Finance Counsel at GE Corporate. He has led all aspects of domestic and cross-border M&A transactions for GE and has significant experience with joint ventures in emerging markets, including in Africa. Prior to joining GE, Flemma was senior counsel – Global Mergers & Acquisitions at Citigroup as well as a senior associate in the M&A practice group at Shearman & Sterling. Some of his significant recent deals include representing GE in its acquisition of Wellstream Holdings plc, a British manufacturer of subsea flexible piping systems, for $1.3 billion; representing GE in its acquisition of Lufkin Industries Inc., a Texas-based manufacturer of artificial lift and industrial gearing products, for $3.3 billion; and representing GE in the formation of GE-GLS Oil & Gas Angola Limited, a joint venture in Angola that supports Angola’s rapidly developing oil and gas industry.

“We’re excited to have George and Mike join us in New York,” said Wesley Johnson, partner-in-charge of Jones Day’s New York Office. “George has led numerous domestic and cross-border deals in several roles for a variety of GE’s businesses, many of them related to energy and oil & gas, which is a substantial sector for our transactions and general client activity. And with Jones Day having opened offices in Mexico City in 2009, São Paulo in 2011, and Miami just last year, Mike adds even more depth to a thriving Latin America practice with more than 70 lawyers that has served clients throughout the region for more than 40 years.”

During his 12 years with GE, O’Halloran led cross-border and domestic acquisition, sale, and joint venture transactions across the breadth of GE’s industrial and financial services businesses, including projects in the energy, oil & gas, security, consumer appliances, healthcare, transport, aviation, banking, leasing, insurance, and real estate sectors. This work has included projects in almost every European country, as well as the U.S., Canada, Africa, the Middle East, and India. In addition to his transactions work, O’Halloran has led various company-wide efficiency projects to drive quality and cost innovation for the GE legal team in the U.K., Europe, and world-wide. In his capacity as UK general counsel, he also led government relations projects on key legal matters, including the UK’s recently introduced Bribery Act. Among his significant list of deals, his recent experience includes the $3.2 billion acquisition of France based Converteam to form GE Power Conversion; the $2.8 billion acquisition of Wood Group’s U.S. based Well Support division by GE Oil & Gas; and, most recently, GE’s proposed €12.35 billion acquisition of the Power and Grid divisions of Alstom S.A.

“Ben is a leading transaction lawyer and will be a terrific fit with our significant capabilities on cross-border deals,” said John Phillips, partner-in-charge of Jones Day’s London Office. “His experience throughout Europe on some of the most sophisticated transactions and his experience in leveraging innovation for project efficiency add a unique dimension to our team.”