Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP has announced that effective January 1, 2010, partners Thomas M. Cerabino and Steven J. Gartner have become co- chairmen of the firm.Mr. Cerabino and Mr. Gartner have been serving as co-vice chairmen since April 2008, when the firm announced its succession plan.Both Mr. Cerabino and Mr. Gartner have been with Willkie for more than 25 years.
Jack H. Nusbaum, who has served as chairman for the past 23 years, has been and will continue to be a major force within both the firm and the legal community.He will continue his active M&A and corporate governance practice and will play an integral role in encouraging the next generation of Willkie lawyers to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit that has been a hallmark of the firm's success.He will also continue to serve on the firm's nine-member executive committee.
Mr. Cerabino specializes in mergers and acquisitions, debt restructurings, and general corporate and securities law matters.Mr. Gartner specializes in private equity, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate governance matters.
Willkie is representing Oaktree Capital Management in the Oaktree-led financial restructuring of the SGD Group (formerly Saint-Gobain Desjonquières), the world's leading manufacturer of high-end glass containers for the perfume and pharmaceutical industries. A unanimous agreement has been reached with all the stakeholders to strengthen the financial structure of SGD and massively decrease its debt. The agreement, which was approved in late December by a ruling of the commercial court of Nanterre, contemplates Oaktree taking a majority stake of as much as 80 percent in SGD, with the remaining 20 percent being held by a pool of creditors. Oaktree is injecting ¤40 million of quasi-equity into the company. The agreement also provides for additional new money debt financing of up to ¤90 million.
Oaktree was assisted by a multidisciplinary team from Willkie's Paris, Washington, New York, London, Frankfurt and Brussels offices. The team was led by Paris partner Eduardo Fernandez, and included Paris partners Alexandra Bigot and Maurice Lantourne (restructuring), Annette Péron (financing), David Tayar (antitrust), and Cédric Hajage (corporate); European counsel Jeffrey Fouts (corporate) and Philippe Grudé (tax); and Paris associates Gregory de Saxcé and Grégoire Finance (corporate), Pauline Stern (restructuring) and Julien Vilquin (antitrust).