The decision for a fast-growing company to accept external investment from a private equity firm is a momentous one.  It brings the opportunity for the founders to realize significant liquidity, and also to gain new investment and expertise for further growth.

However, to say that the process can be stressful is probably an understatement.  Negotiating with a private equity firm raises numerous questions: 

  • How do you choose the right PE firm? 
  • How do you address the tough legal issues that arise, such as “who’s in charge” after the deal? And what happens if things go wrong?
  • How do existing managers and employees “roll over” at least part of their ownership stake?  
  • How do you make the relationship work after closing the deal?

Todd Ohlms and Jeff Mattson, partners at Chicago-based Freeborn & Peters LLP, have significant experience in guiding operating companies through the steps involved in private equity deals and the operations of those companies after the deal is closed.  They will share the secrets of making a deal work, and warn those who may be seeking investment of the potential pitfalls of negotiating with expert dealmakers – and how to avoid them.


To PE or Not to PE:

When to Consider a Private Equity Deal - and How to Make it Work

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Live Date: June 27, 2013 - 1:00 PM ET

Featured Speakers:

Jeff Mattson
Freeborn & Peters LLP

Todd J. Ohlms
Freeborn & Peters LLP 

Jeff Mattson is a Partner at Freeborn & Peters LLP and Co-Leader of Freeborn’s Corporate Practice Group. Jeff represents private companies, private equity funds and public companies in mergers and acquisitions, entity formation, private placements and other general corporate matters. He serves clients in a broad range of industries, including transportation, healthcare, retail, food and beverage, insurance, chemicals, manufacturing and service businesses. In his career, Jeff has developed extensive M&A experience, closing over 250 M&A transactions. He also advises companies on private placements, start-ups, equity compensation and joint ventures.

Before joining Freeborn, Jeff was Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Gerald Stevens, Inc., a retail company that was owned by a private equity firm and then listed on NASDAQ.  Prior to that, he served as Securities Counsel for NYSE-listed W. R. Grace & Co.

Jeff’s previous presentations include, "What’s the Deal? Managing Merger and Acquisition Risk,” Marsh's Academy of Risk; “Distressed M&A: Trends in 2010”; and the “Role of the CFO,” Heartland Angels. 

Todd Ohlms is a Partner at Freeborn & Peters LLP and  is Co-Leader of the firm’s Private Equity/Portfolio Company industry team and its Commercial Litigation Practice Group.

Todd is often retained by private equity firms to counsel their portfolio companies on a wide range of matters and has served as the longstanding outside general counsel to several portfolio companies.  He has also represented clients involved in disputes over family-owned enterprises where sensitive and complex relationships often play as large a role in determining the result as the actual legal theories at issue.

His practice involves advising and representing clients on their business-critical litigation matters.  He has substantial experience in actions involving temporary restraining orders, preliminary injunctions and in the substantive areas of intellectual property, fiduciary litigation, securities and shareholder litigation, antitrust and trade regulation and complex/multi-jurisdictional disputes.  He has participated in legal proceedings across the United States as well as in Asia and Europe.

Todd has written and spoken extensively about strategies he uses to help portfolio companies avoid litigation and address other legal challenges while managing the cost of their legal services. About ALM About Customer Support Reprints Privacy Policy Terms & Conditions