Need To Meet Andrew Hulsh And Philip O. Brandes

Anticipating an upturn in the deal market, the law firm Mayer Brown has expanded its Corporate & Securities practice in New York by hiring Andrew Hulsh to be co-leader of the its North American Private Equity practice.

But that doesn’t mean that the market is going to heat up very quickly. In fact, at a time when leveraged lenders are grumbling about slow deal flow, the gradual improvement of the economy may be keeping quality deal candidates on the sidelines, Hulsh told Buyouts. “Lower interest rates and the ability to refinance at this time, combined with the hope or anticipation of a sustained economic recovery, allows companies that would ordinarily be seeking to sell their business or certain assets to refrain from selling until they have received offers for these assets at a valuation that is higher than the current valuation ascribed to their business or such assets.”

Partner Philip O. Brandes, a practice leader of the firm’s global Corporate & Securities practice and co-leader of its North American Private Equity practice, said that he too is seeing reluctance among potential sellers who believe they may get a better deal in the future. “If you have a great asset, you may want to wait a little longer for the economy to take off.”

Hulsh joined the firm in February. In the past, he has represented firms such as hedge/buyout fund manager Cerberus Capital Management, in connection with the firm’s $1.5 billion take-private of DynCorp. International Inc., a government defense contractor, and the hedge fund Paulson & Co. Inc. in connection with a deal to bring SuperMedia Inc. (formerly Idearc Inc.) out of Chapter 11.

Mayer Brown claims as clients a range of participants in the buyouts industry, including Gilbert Global Equity Partners, The Jordan Company, Macquarie Capital Advisors, Pacific Coast Capital Partners LLC and TIAA-CREF.

Hot areas of investment for these sponsors include pharmaceuticals, biotech and telecom, Hulsh said. Brandes added that more sponsors are looking at international targets, especially in high-growth markets such as Brazil, India and China. (The Russian market seems to have cooled, so the former BRIC group is looking more like BIC, he jested.) The role of international pioneers in the BRIC nations may be encouraging others to try to pursue similar tactics, Brandes said. “People are seeing the success of firms like Advent and Actis.”