The American Lawyer Names Keith Pagnani and Fred Rich “Dealmakers of the Year”

April 4, 2011
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In its April issue, The American Lawyer named Mr. Pagnani and Mr. Rich among its 2011 “Dealmakers of the Year.”

Mr. Pagnani was recognized for his role representing Alcon, Inc.'s independent directors committee in Alcon's acquisition by the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG. Am Law called the deal a “classic corporate thriller,” observing that “early on it looked like a straightforward transaction, but it quickly turned hostile when Novartis sought to buy out minority shareholders with what was seen as an undervalued offer.” In speaking about the deal to the publication, directors committee chairman Thomas Plaskett said that Mr. Pagnani's idea of a litigation trust that ensured Alcon would have money to go to court if the dispute escalated “was perhaps the most significant reason why we got such a good deal.” He added, “we faced some pretty unusual circumstances, but Mr. Pagnani quarterbacked it brilliantly.”

Mr. Rich was singled out for his work, along with Latham & Watkins' William Voge, in Papua New Guinea's $18 billion liquefied natural gas project, which, Am Law pointed out, was executed under extremely challenging conditions. “It's one thing to close the biggest project financing ever. It's another thing to do that deal in Papua New Guinea, one of the most remote locations on earth. And it's another thing entirely to close the deal on a compressed schedule during the deepest economic collapse since the Great Depression,” the publication noted. Mr. Rich represented the project and its sponsors.