Since joining Nixon Peabody more than 22 years ago, Phil has had the pleasure of advising investors, middle market private companies, large public companies, entrepreneurs and C-level executives in many different kinds of corporate transactions, all over North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Phil was born in Southern Africa and finished his secondary education in the United States. His love of family, travel, outdoor adventure and community permeates everything he does.
Phil has been described as “the consummate trusted advisor,” who is “very practical and determined to get the deal closed,” and who “consistently excels at solving client’s complex problems.” Phil routinely taps into a broad network of middle market contacts to help clients source new transaction opportunities, identify sources of capital, hire key employees and engage other key service providers from investment bankers to accountants. Phil believes that: “as lawyers we have to do a lot more than just provide excellent service and work; we need to understand our client’s business and find ways to add value to their business.”
At Nixon Peabody, Phil has served in many prior leadership roles, including chair of the Business Department and on the firm’s Management Committee. Phil currently leads the firm’s nationally acclaimed Private Equity practice group. This is a dynamic and experienced group comprised of private equity lawyers around the firm, ranging in skills from fund formation, to transactions, to representing portfolio companies, to resolving claims among investors.
Phil is a frequent lecturer and presenter on the latest trends in mergers and acquisitions, business strategies and issues most important to CEOs, CFOs and general counsel. Phil is also a former president of the local bar association and is active in his community, currently serving on the boards of the Granite State Children’s Alliance and the Derryfield School, and previously having served on a number of nonprofit boards. In 2015, Phil co-founded a bank called Primary Bank, a full-service community bank located in Bedford, NH.
When Phil is not on his phone or in front of his computer, he is likely spending time with his family or walking his English Springer Spaniels through the woods, occasionally skeet shooting, sometimes competing in triathlons and always happy to share a single malt scotch. If not for the complete intellectual engagement of working with a wonderful group of clients, Phil would enjoy being a safari guide in the Okavango Delta.
What do you focus on?
I have almost 20 years of experience in middle market corporate transactional work, including mergers, acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, joint ventures, startups, shareholder disputes and venture capital financing. Nixon Peabody’s platform enables our team to represent the full range of clients at any one time. By way of example, we recently worked on the following transactions:
- Represented a large, Fortune 50 Company in its acquisition of a business from a private equity fund
- Represented a fast growing early stage technology company in its first institutional round of financing
- Represented a portfolio company of a private equity fund in the financing of an add-on acquisition in the UK
- Represented a family office investor in a joint venture with a private equity investor and the roll up of multiple companies
- Represented a private equity fund in the acquisition of a family owned business
- Represented the owner of a family owned business in the sale to a private equity fund
- Represented a group of investors in the acquisition of a privately held company
- Advised a local company on the merits of a possible international joint venture in China
- Advised the board of directors of a growing technology company in a multitude of issues, including in raising capital
This is just a small sample of recent work, but illustrates the breadth of experience and our capabilities. Often I find myself in a familiar negotiation that I have been involved in before, but wearing a different hat. Sometimes it is advising the investor, but other times it is the target in a similar type of transaction. Sometimes it is advising the seller on how to secure the best deal, but often it is the buyer on how to become the winning bidder. Sometimes it is the board of directors on how to best deal with an important issue, but other times it is representing the management team on how best to manage their board of directors. The experience of sitting on each side of the table has been invaluable in providing practical and relevant advice to each client.
What do you see on the horizon?
Our clients continue to be tested to manage in a very unsettled market. Both strategics and financial sponsors are going to have a tougher time identifying good prospective sellers and then winning and closing the transaction. Prospective buyers are going to be challenged to be very thoughtful on how to assess and allocate risk in their transactions. Through it all, I think the middle market continues to present great opportunities for savvy dealmakers to find and create value for their investors and stockholders.
- Mergers & Acquisitions Law 2012, 2012 ed.
- Inside the Minds: Business Due Diligence Strategies, 2010 ed.
- Moderator, “Private Equity Investing Outlook: What is Next for the Food & Beverage Industry,” Nixon Peabody Hot Topics in the Middle Market, April 2016
- Moderator, “Private Equity and M&A Outlook: Trends & Opportunities,” Nixon Peabody Hot Topics in the Middle Market, January 2016
- Moderator, “Private Equity Investing Outlook: What is Next for the Food & Beverage Industry,” Nixon Peabody Hot Topics in the Middle Market, April 2015