Chris E. Abbinante
CHRIS ABBINANTE is co-leader of the firm’s Private Equity practice. Chris regularly represents private equity sponsors and corporate clients on complex transactions, including leveraged acquisitions, mergers and divestitures, as well as a wide variety of other corporate matters. He also has significant experience representing emerging companies, entrepreneurs and growth capital investors in connection with their investment activities. Prior to co-leading the firm’s private equity practice, Chris was co-leader of Sidley’s Emerging Company practice.
Chris represents private equity and corporate clients in a variety of industries, including healthcare, medical products and devices, financial institutions and services, technology and media/entertainment. His recent experience includes the following transactions:
- Multiple transactions by RoundTable Healthcare Partners and their portfolio companies, including the acquisitions of Santa Cruz Nutritionals, Beaver-Visitec International and DPT Laboratories, add-on acquisitions for Argon Medical Devices and Aspen Surgical Products and the sale of Aspen.
- Coyote Logistics, a portfolio company of Warburg Pincus, in its acquisition of Access America Transport.
- Multiple transactions by Fortress Investment Group and their portfolio companies, including the acquisitions of Nationstar Mortgage and mortgage servicing assets from Bank of America, Aurora Bank and ResCap (terminated), and the buy-out of Container Leasing International.
- Walgreens Infusion Services partnership between Walgreens and Madison Dearborn Partners (pending); Worksite health company partnership between Walgreens and Water Street Healthcare Partners; the sale of Walgreens pharmacy benefits management business; and multiple acquisitions by Walgreens, including USA Drug, drugstore.com, Happy Harry’s Discount Drug Stores, Medmark, Take Care Health Systems and Whole Health Management.
- Music festival joint venture between Red Frog Events and AEG / Goldenvoice.
- Sale of OptionsHouse by PEAK6 Investments to General Atlantic; PEAK6 Investment’s formation of Apex Clearing Corporation and the associated acquisition of assets from Penson Worldwide.
Additional clients and transactions are detailed below under “Experience.”
Strong leadership in advising private equity clients has earned Chris acknowledgement in numerous industry publications, including Law360, which, in 2010, recognized him as a “rising star” and one of the publication’s 10 corporate finance lawyers under 40 to watch. PLC Which Lawyer has recommended Chris in the area of Private Equity/Venture Capital. He was also selected by his peers to be included in the 2013–2017 editions of The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of Leveraged Buyouts and Private Equity Law. Additionally, The Best Lawyers in America recognized him as a 2016 “Lawyer of the Year” for his work in Leveraged Buyouts and Private Equity Law. Chris is recommended in Private Equity Buyouts in the The Legal 500 US 2014–2016.
Chris received his J.D., cum laude, in 1997 from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif and was Comments Editor and Associate Editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. Prior to attending law school, he received his B.B.A., magna cum laude, from University of Notre Dame in 1994.
In addition to the matters previously noted, Chris has assisted clients in a broad range of corporate and M&A activities, private equity and venture capital investments, and capital markets offerings, including:
- Acquisitions by Svoboda Capital of Strategic Marketing, Cape Electric, GPA, Cigar.com and Glover Park and its sales of Midwest Dental, Milestek, World Data Products and Glover Park
- Investment in Kerasotes Theatres by Providence Equity Partners and the subsequent sale of Kerasotes Theatres to AMC.
- Sale of Tippmann Sports by Summit Partners
- Investment by Steve Case in Exclusive Resorts
- Investment by Revolution Growth in Lolly Wolly Doodle
- Chapter 11 reorganization of Merisant
- Chapter 11 reorganization of Pliant
- Sale of Bill Me Later to eBay Inc.
- Recapitalization and “go private” transaction by Tribune Company/Zell
- Investment in National City by a New York-based investment firm
- Leveraged buy-out of BWAY Corporation by Kelso & Company
- Barrett Resources’ defense against a hostile takeover attempt by Shell Oil Company and
Barrett’s subsequent merger with The Williams Companies
- Venture capital investments and emerging company representations involving Basecamp (formerly 37signals), Red Frog Events, VitaHEAT Medical, Clean Urban Energy, Healthvision, Acuity Mobile, Arxan Technologies, i-Explore and I Works, among others
- Initial public offering and secondary common stock offering of NAVTEQ Corporation
- Initial public offering of Clayton Holdings
Chris has authored and/or edited a number of legal publications relating to private equity issues. They include:
- “What Private Equity Buyers Are Doing To Win” (with S. Scott Parel), Law360, Portfolio Media (2014)
- “Obtaining Advance Waivers in Private Equity Transactions” (with Jessica B. Fairchild), Law360, Portfolio Media (2010)
- “Option to Buy? Reverse Breakup Fees and Termination Provisions in Recent Private Equity Deals,” (with Matthew T. Gunnison), Pratt’s Journal of Bankruptcy Law, Vol. 4 (2008).
- Sidley Private Equity Update: “The Re-emergence of the Financing Condition in Acquisition Agreements?” (Editor) (2007)
- Board member – World Business Chicago, Legal Advisory Board
- Board member – DuPage County Children’s Museum
- Member – Economic Club of Chicago
- Member – IrishAngels (University of Notre Dame affiliated angel investing group)
- Former Chicago co-chair – Sidley recruiting committee
- Former board member – Chicago Sports Commission
Chris was legal counsel to Chicago 2016, the not-for-profit company that led Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, and is now counsel to World Sport Chicago, Chicago 2016’s legacy organization. He also provides legal support to Girls in the Game, which provides sports and fitness opportunities, nutrition and health education, and leadership development to girls in Chicago.