Claud v.S. "Lex" Eley is a partner in Crowell & Moring's Corporate Group and has more than two decades of international transactional, private equity, venture capital, and general corporate experience. Lex focuses his practice on domestic and international mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and business transactions, and serves private equity and venture capital firms and their portfolio companies across an array of industries. He is a trusted advisor to clients in the conception, planning, negotiation, and execution of a wide range of investment strategies.
Lex began his career representing manufacturing clients, particularly in pulp, paper, forest products, and packaging, and while his practice has expanded to include many other industries, including financial services, healthcare, cyber security, information technology, consumer products, mining and minerals, automotive, and energy, he continues to be very active in traditional manufacturing industries for a number of long-standing clients. Lex's work for his clients is heavily weighted toward mergers and acquisitions, but has covered virtually all legal disciplines touching on his client's businesses. Lex served as outside general counsel to a pan-European paper and forest products company for a number of years while he was resident in Europe.
Lex also advises private investment funds and their portfolio companies on the full range of legal work involved in the formation of investment vehicles and the consummation of investments, leveraged buyouts, and recapitalizations, often in the context of leveraged build-ups in consolidating industries. Most recently Lex has advised a number of early stage companies in the myriad issues these companies face in obtaining capital and bringing products and services to market, often in the government contracting sector. Lex has developed and implemented various exit strategies enabling clients to monetize their investments through mergers, divestitures and public offerings, and has implemented numerous corporate restructurings, reorganizations, and recapitalizations.
A substantial part of Lex's work involves trans-Atlantic investment in both directions between Europe and the U.S.
- Advised Sonoco Products Company (NYSE: SON), one of the world's largest diversified global packaging companies, on the acquisition of family-owned Weidenhammer Packaging Group, headquartered in Hockenheim, Germany, for US $383
million. The transaction was subject to regulatory review in Germany, the United Kingdom and Russia and closed in October 2014. Weidenhammer Packaging operated 13 production facilities in Germany, Belgium, France, Greece, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Poland, the United States, Chile and Russia. Sonoco added the 1,100 employees of the Weidenhammer organization to its nearly 20,000 employees working in 335 operations in 33 countries, serving some of the world's best known brands in some 85 nations.
- Advised the Virginia Center for Innovative Technology in connection with the formation and ongoing operation of MACH37™, America's premier market-centric cybersecurity accelerator. The Accelerator is designed to facilitate the creation of the next generation of cybersecurity product companies through an intensive 90-day program created to launch cyber startups. MACH37™'s unique program design places heavy emphasis on the validation of product ideas and the development of relationships that produce an initial customer base and investment capital.
- Represented a well-known venture capital fund in connection with the formation of a portfolio company to initiate a roll-up of operators of data center collocation and “meet me room” facilities, involving equity contributions in excess of $100 million by the venture capital firm and its co-investors.
- Represented a U.S. automaker in its divestiture of the global operations of two luxury automotive brands to a conglomerate from a developing country for approximately US $2.3 billion.
- The transaction also involved extensive automotive technology licensing, transition services, and long-term component supply arrangements.
- Represented a global Russian mining and minerals enterprise in connection with its US $6.5 billion acquisition (initially hostile) of a Canadian-listed mining and minerals company in the then largest cross-border acquisition ever made by a Russian company.
- Represented a major Russian automotive manufacturer in connection with the purchase of an operating automotive assembly line (including all relevant intellectual property rights) in the Detroit area from a "Big Three" U.S. automaker, the dismantling of the assembly line, its shipment to Russian, and its reassembly for production in Russia.
- Represented a global Russian mining and minerals enterprise in connection with its US $408 million acquisition of the global nickel mining and refining operations of a U.S. public company.
- Represented a North American business management outsourcing solutions company in a number of transactions, including its acquisition of a leading supplier of business process solutions for document outsourcing, billing, and marketing; the sale of its Canadian operations; and various financing and other transactions.
- Represented a global provider of packaging products and services in connection with the creation of a pan-European joint venture involving more than 40 industrial facilities in 18 European countries and the subsequent purchase of the interest held by the joint venture partner.
- Represented global multi-level direct seller of personal care and nutritional products in all aspects of its European, Eastern European, and Russian expansion, including review of direct selling structure under local law, establishment of international corporate structure, response to and resolution of government investigations and negotiation of product manufacturing agreements.
Admitted to practice: District of Columbia, New York, Virginia
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