Serge Benchetrit

Partner

New York
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
787 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10019-6099

Serge Benchetrit is a partner in the Corporate and Financial Services Department, concentrating on mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings, corporate governance, corporate finance, restructuring, private placement and private equity.

Serge represents clients in complex transactions, such as U.S. and cross border mergers and acquisitions; structured finance/hybrid transactions (including their restructuring); and public offerings of debt and equity securities (including American Depositary Receipts) in connection with domestic and foreign public offerings, both as issuers’ and underwriters’ counsel. He also works on public offerings with a 144A/Reg. S component in European jurisdictions; equity and debt investments in North American, European and Latin American companies; and U.S. and international private placements. Serge also regularly advises public companies and boards of public companies on corporate governance matters.

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Highlights

Serge Benchetrit is a partner in the Corporate and Financial Services Department, concentrating on mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings, corporate governance, corporate finance, restructuring, private placement and private equity.

Selected Significant Matters

Corporate Finance

  • Zurich Financial Services in the recapitalization of Farmers Insurance Company, and as U.S. counsel in connection with its credit facilities and its Euro Medium Term Note program. 
  • Farmers Group, Inc. in its pending acquisition of AIG’s Personal Auto Group (which includes 21st Century Insurance Co.).
  • ING
  • Pacific Life Insurance
  • Met Life
  • Prudential Insurance

M&A and Private Equity

  • Soros Fund Management LLC in the investor consortium acquisition of ConAgra Trade Group from ConAgra Foods, Inc., and the subsequent sale by the consortium
  • Electronic Data Systems Corp. in its acquisition by Hewlett-Packard Co
  • Mueller Industries, Inc. and Atlas Holdings LLC in the acquisition of Tecumseh Products
  • Mueller Industries, Inc. in its acquisition of Extruded Metals, Inc.
  • Mueller Copper Tube Products, Inc. in the acquisition of Great Lakes Copper Ltd.
  • Fingen SPA in the sale of licensed Calvin Klein® businesses in Europe and Asia to Warnaco Group, Inc.
  • Cameron Systems in its acquisition by Orc Software
  • West Corporation in its acquisition of Intercall
  • TotalFina in its second exchange offer for Elf Aquitaine
  • RailTex, Inc. in its merger with RailAmerica
  • Terry Matthews (principal shareholder of Newbridge Networks) in the sale of Newbridge Networks to Alcatel
  • Ryder TRS in its acquisition by Budget Group
  • Martin Marietta Materials in its acquisition of Redland Stone Products Company
  • John Geiger in the sale of his business to Herman Miller, Inc.
  • Spear, Leeds & Kellogg in its acquisition of Equitrade
  • Entrelec S.A. in its acquisition of SSAC, Inc.
  • Zurich, Securitas, Europ@web and Bassini Playfair & Associates

Securities Offerings

  • Zurich Financial Services in its $1.3 billion offering under Rule 144A of ECAPS; a $400 million follow-on offering of ECAPS; a similar offering of $1.5 billion of securities under Rule 144A
  • The lead underwriters in a series of innovative securities offerings by Swiss Reinsurance Company that raised $3 billion to partially fund Swiss Re's $6.8 billion acquisition of GE Insurance Solutions
  • Zurich Financial Services and the Farmers Group in the offering of $1.125 billion of hybrid securities designed to provide subordinated capital
  • Apollo Investment Corporation in its approximately $404 million public offering of Common Stock
  • The underwriters in a $1.3 billion public offering of senior notes by Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc.
  • The underwriters in the initial public offering of WellChoice
  • WellChoice in a secondary public offering (with proceeds in excess of $350 million)
  • PSP Swiss Property in its public offering of equity securities in Switzerland with a 144A/Reg. S component
  • West TeleServices (n/k/a West Corporation) in a secondary offering of its securities (with proceeds in excess of $100 million)

Selected Professional and Business Activities

Serge is a member of the New York State Bar Association and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. He is also a fellow of the American College of Investment Counsel.

He authored "Le sort des Actionnaires Américains dans les Acquisitions de Sociétés Cotées," Fusions & Acquisitions, Juillet- Août 2002 (also published in the JCP) and served as a commentator to Institut Montaigne’s Mieux gouverner l’entreprise, March 2003 (proposals to improve corporate governance in France).

Serge is fluent in French.