April 16, 2012 7:00 PM

Paul Weiss Takes Lead on Two Private Equity Deals

Posted by Brian Baxter

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton Garrison‘s corporate lawyers were busy over the weekend advising two separate clients on a pair of private equity deals announced Monday.

Corporate partners Jeffrey Marell, Kelley Parker, and Lawrence Wee, and counsel Ross Fieldston are leading a Paul Weiss team representing water park operator Great Wolf Resorts on its proposed purchase by private equity firm KSL Capital Partnerswhich trumped a rival offer by longtime Paul Weiss private equity client Apollo Global Management.

The Am Law Daily reported last month on Paul Weiss’s role reversal had undetaken in accepting the assignment to represent Madison, Wisconsin–based Great Wolf. The latter announced Monday that KSL had submitted a “superior proposal” to the one put forward by Apollo and its lawyers at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer Feld.

A strategic review committee assembled by the Great Wolf board of directors is receiving special Delaware counsel from Young Conaway Stargatt Taylor. Attorney Elan Blutinger serves on the Great Wolf board. The company’s general counsel is William Robinson.

Simpson Thacher Bartlett corporate partner Chad Skinner is advising Denver-based KSL on its bid for Great Wolf. The firm handled a $2 billion fundraising for KSL last year, as well as its purchase in 2010 of The Squaw Valley Development Company—which runs the ski area that was home to the 1960 Winter Olympics—and its $1.8 billion acquisition of golf course operator ClubCorp in 2006.

Former Kirkland Ellis and Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck partner Steven Siegel joined KSL in 2005 after serving as the private equity firm’s outside counsel since 2002. Siegel is now a partner and chief operating officer for KSL, whose chief compliance officer, Kevin Rohnstock, is a former Brownstein Hyatt associate.

In the second deal announced Monday, Paul Weiss investment management practice head Robert Goldbaum and corporate partner Steven Williams have taken roles advising prominent financial advisor Ric Edelman, the chairman of CEO of nationwide wealth management firm Edelman Financial Group (EFG), on its proposed $258 million sale to Lee Equity Partners (LEP).

Thompson Knight is acting as lead outside counsel to EFG, while Vinson Elkins MA partners Alan Bogdanow and Stephen Gill, finance partner Valinda Wolfert, litigation partner Michael Holmes, and employee benefits partner Brian Bloom are representing a special committee of Houston-based EFG.

New York-based LEP, which was founded in 2006 by private equity titan Thomas H. Lee, is being advised by Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver Jacobson MA cochair David Shine and corporate partner Christopher Ewan. LEP’s purchase of EFG is expected to close in the third quarter of 2012.

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