Wes Williams Interviewed in Texas Lawbook on Mid-Sized, Private Deals

“Corporate Deal Tracker: Mid-Sized, Private Deals Take the Cake in Deal Volume”

When it comes to the size of deals that most Texas M&A lawyers worked on last year, there’s no question that the sweet spot is in the middle-market space.

High deal count in the upper mid-market was dominated by firms heavily focused on oil & gas: Kirkland & Ellis, Baker Botts, Thompson & Knight and Akin Gump.

About the same occurred in the lower middle-market. After V&E, Thompson & Knight, Akin Gump and Baker Botts tied for second; Norton Rose Fulbright ranked fifth; and Latham & Watkins and Locke Lord tied for sixth in terms of handling the most deals between $50 million and $250 million.

Wes Williams, the corporate and securities practice leader at Thompson & Knight, said the bulk of his law firm’s M&A deals are related to private equity-backed energy companies – especially when these companies are just getting started.

“They start with a commitment from a private equity fund,” said Williams, a partner in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. “The initial acquisition will be a $40 million, $50 million, $100 million commitment.”

Most deals Thompson & Knight worked on last year were tied to the Permian Basin, which were a “mixed bag” of transactions in the billion-dollar range and middle-priced, Williams added. The mid-sized deals typically involved a purchase or sale of upstream or midstream assets, such as acreage positions or smaller midstream systems versus corporate transactions involving entire companies.

“With that geographic area being so hot, you have people putting out $60 million, $70 million, $150 million or $200 million to work. The big flashy deals that get headlines are fun to work on, but there is this constant activity in the lower mid-market range,” he said.