April 02, 2012
Start a conversation about infrastructure, and in particular public-private partnerships (P3s), in a roomful of lawyers, and the M&A/securities lawyers’ eyes will glaze over; they might even stifle a yawn, or make a break for the refreshment table. For deal lawyers who thrive on the adrenaline high of rushing a deal to closing in as few weeks as possible, infrastructure projects may be necessary and all, but about as exciting and fast-paced as watching concrete ─ a critical ingredient in any P3 ─ dry.
Mark Bain, recalls the timeline of his last two deals acting for the underwriters of a P3. "We started a discussion about acting for one of the underwriters about four months before the RFQ was released," he says. The RFP followed two months after the RFQ ─ Mark's clients' proponent made the short list. Six to nine months of negotiating the project agreement and the project financing followed what Mark calls, "the real billable work." Then a stall while the government evaluated the proposals. And finally ─ phew, turned out the underwriter had bet on the right proponent and the firm had a mandate ─ a two-month sprint to financial close. For the project proponents’ counsel on the file, the timing was identical ─ but with more at stake, both in terms of total work billed… and total risk shared.
Read the full article here.