January 05, 2011

Jenner & Block has announced that highly regarded corporate attorney Wesley C. Fredericks, Jr. has joined the Firm as a partner and Chair of its New York office’s corporate practice.  Mr. Fredericks’ distinguished career has included serving in senior leadership roles in two national law firms and in executive positions in the automotive industry, including as Chairman of Lotus Cars USA, Inc.  Mr. Fredericks is recognized in the 2010 edition of Thomson Reuters’ New York Super Lawyers in both the practice areas of mergers and acquisitions and business/corporate.

Mr. Fredericks concentrates his practice in representing corporate entities in domestic and international mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, finance, corporate governance and regulatory compliance.  He has extensive experience representing technology and life sciences companies, as well as companies in the financial services, transportation  and automotive industries. 

“Highly respected both nationally and in the New York area, Wes is a great addition to our premier Corporate Department, which has developed a well-deserved reputation for handling clients’ most important financial and strategic transactions,” said Jenner & Block Managing Partner Susan C. Levy.

Mr. Fredericks joins a flourishing Corporate Practice at Jenner & Block, which, as a firm, has been at the center of many high-profile matters stemming from the economic crisis of the past several years.  Recently, for example, the Firm played a key role in the historic turnaround of General Motors, acting as lead outside counsel to GM in its recent record breaking $23.1 billion Initial Public Offering – the largest IPO in global history – and in the “Section 363” sale of substantially all of its assets in connection with its Chapter 11 reorganization.

In 2009-2010, Jenner & Block also represented its Chairman Anton R. Valukas in his role as Court-appointed Examiner in the Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc. bankruptcy, producing an exhaustive 2,200-page report detailing the causes of the demise of the banking giant.  The Wall Street Journal said the report was a “master work” and The New York Times called it “the definitive account of the largest bankruptcy in American history.”

Joseph P. Gromacki, Chair of Jenner & Block’s Corporate Department, and named by American Lawyer as one of  2007’s “Dealmakers of the Year,” stated, “Wes is a highly talented practitioner who brings a unique perspective to our practice that I am confident our clients will find of great benefit.”  Mr. Gromacki added, “The addition of a fine attorney such as Wes will further broaden our transactional footprint in the New York market, which is a cornerstone to our continued growth.  This is part of an important strategic initiative to enhance the scale and depth of our corporate practice.”

Jenner & Block’s corporate practice is recognized nationally and in Illinois and New York by Chambers USA, which recently noted the New York Corporate Practice’s experience in a combination of public and private company mergers and acquisitions, as well as public securities and private fund transactions.

In 2010, the Firm’s national corporate practice also successfully represented leading global defense contractor General Dynamics in several M&A and financing transactions; General Motors in securing a $5 billion revolving credit facility; major telecom services provider RCN in its billion-dollar plus sale to a private investment fund; and multiple dividend recapitalization transactions for KPS Capital Partners and its portfolio companies.  New York Partner Paul F. Jock has worked on several recent matters for GM Asset Management and was a member of the team that negotiated the GM $5 billion credit facility; New York Partner Tobias L. Knapp has recently represented clients such as General Motors, General Dynamics and GE Capital in public securities offerings and regularly represents GM Asset Management and Performance Equity Management in connection with private fund transactions.  Additionally, in January 2010, David A. Savner, former Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary for General Dynamics, returned to Jenner & Block’s Corporate Department, joining its other talented practitioners and further strengthening the Firm’s capabilities in the broader corporate and finance worlds.

Mr. Fredericks adds his extensive experience in a diverse and broad range of corporate and transactional work, from mergers and acquisitions to matters of corporate governance.  For a list of recent representative matters that he led, and more information about his career, please see the section below titled, “About Wes Fredericks.”

Mr. Fredericks stated, “I am proud to join Jenner & Block’s Corporate Department.  This is a unique opportunity to work with a remarkable group of attorneys and expand a corporate practice that is already recognized by leading industry observers as being among the best, both in the New York area and at the national level.”

Richard F. Ziegler, Managing Partner of Jenner & Block’s New York office, said, “Wes is joining an intensely collegial group of stellar lawyers.  In only five years, our New York office has developed a vibrant practice, ranging from our work on the GM IPO and the Lehman Brothers Examiner’s report to significant litigation arising from the credit crisis, including winning the largest-ever FINRA arbitration award.”

About Wes Fredericks

Mr. Fredericks is a 1970 graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where he remains active in alumni affairs, including chairing the committee that nominates alumni trustees for the University’s Board.  He earned his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 1973.  He is admitted to practice in New York and Connecticut and before the United States Supreme Court and numerous other federal courts.  Mr. Fredericks has also qualified as a registered foreign lawyer in England and Wales. 

Mr. Fredericks is a past Chairman of the American Bar Association Business Law Section Committee on International Business Law and a former Chairman of its Subcommittee on Multinational Mergers and Acquisitions.  He has also served as a member of the Editorial Board of the ABA’s The Business Lawyer, the premier business law journal in the United States, and he is a frequent speaker and moderator for American Bar Association programs.  He is regularly quoted in the business and financial press on topics of relevance to mergers and acquisitions and related areas of law.  Prior to joining Jenner & Block, Mr. Fredericks was a partner in the New York office of Goodwin Procter LLP.

Examples of Mr. Fredericks’ recent past work in which he led the team, include the following matters:

  • The sale by Thornburg Mortgage of $1.3 billion in convertible notes to a syndicate led by MatlinPatterson;
  • The sale of L.K. Comstock & Co., one of the nation’s largest specialty electrical contractors serving the transit industry and the largest entity “rolled up” into RailWorks Corporation at its IPO.  He then represented RailWorks in its subsequent acquisition of over 20 additional companies in the railroad services industry in the continuation of the rollup post-IPO;
  • The acquisition of an operating unit of Johnson & Johnson by Scandinavian health care products company SCA;
  • Several strategic acquisitions of credit card processing companies by Heartland Payment Systems, now the country’s fifth largest payment processor;
  • M&A transactions in the U.S., Canada, England, Norway and Japan for a New York based energy brokerage and trading firm;
  • The sale of Panther Trucking to private equity firm Fenway Partners;
  • The sale of Hemmings Motor News to American City Business Journals.
  • Representation of Meter SpA, an Italian manufacturer of bearings for the automotive industry, in establishing its operations in the U.S. and China.