March 7, 2012 6:30 PM

Jackson Walker, Sullivan Cromwell Advise as Texas Teachers Take Bridgewater Stake

Posted by Brian Baxter

Trustees of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (Texas Teachers) quietly approved a $250 million investment last month by the Austin-based pension plan, one of the largest in the nation, to take a non-voting equity stake in Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund.

The New York Times’s DealBook reported this week on the novel investment, which will allow Texas Teachers to claim a piece of the profits earned by Bridgewater, a client of the retirement fund, rather than putting money into specific portfolios. Texas Teachers manages almost $100 billion for roughly 1.3 million employees and retirees in the Lone Star State, according to its latest annual financial report.

Jackson Walker corporate and securities partner Philip Svahn in Austin took the lead advising Texas Teachers on the matter, according to a spokeswoman for the pension plan, who gave DealBook some insight into how the deal came together.

Svahn declined a request for comment on the deal when contacted by The Am Law Daily Wednesday. He did note that Jackson Walker has advised Texas Teachers for the past seven years. Conni Brennan serves as general counsel for the pension plan, while assistant general counsel Dennis Gold took the lead in-house on the Bridgewater transaction.

Sullivan Cromwell corporate partner John Evangelakos took the lead advising Westport, Connecticut–based Bridgewater on the transaction, Svahn says. The firm declined to comment on which of its lawyers worked on the matter for the hedge fund.

Bridgewater’s general counsel is James Comey, a former senior official at the Justice Deparment during the second Bush administration who went on to become general counsel of defense contractor Lockheed Martin. Comey left Lockheed in 2010, turning down an offer to become director of the FBI to take the top legal job at Bridgewater.

Helene Glotzer serves as corporate counsel and chief compliance officer for Bridgewater, whose billionaire founder, Ray Dalio, was profiled in The New Yorker last year. Reuters reports that the Bridgewater stake taken by Texas Teachers is part of a plan under which Dalio’s ownership interest in the hedge fund will be reduced to between 10 and 20 percent over a 10-year period.

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