Christopher S.W. Blake, chair of Hahn Loeser's International Practice Area, focuses his practice on general corporate and transactional matters.
Mergers, Acquisitions, Divestitures and Financing
Chris specializes in mergers, acquisitions and divestitures and financings for all scales of business. He has represented both public and private companies as buyers and sellers of divisions, going concern businesses and discrete assets. Recent and representative corporate transactions include:
- Spin-off of $20 million real estate leasing and development business of and completion of eight related third-party sales of associated assets and real property of on-going family business valued at over $40 million.
- Purchase by private company with $100 million in sales of strategic business line of competitor.
- Divestiture through various third party sales of multi-million dollar sets of operating assets of auto supplier in wind down mode.
- Disposition by publicly traded company of seven of its operating subsidiaries and/or divisions in a two-year time period.
- Completion of diligence and negotiation of the real estate portion of a complex refinancing of the publicly traded debt and private debt of privately held client. Debt totaled more than $300 million. Real estate comprised more than 25 operating properties.
On the financing side, Chris focuses on commercial lending, including senior and subordinated debt arrangements, and has represented governmental, institutional and private lenders and borrowers in sophisticated transactions involving traditional and non-traditional collateral. Recent representative transactions include:
- Completion of $50 million debt refinancing of public traded company that operates in the aerospace sector.
- Restructuring of one of the top independent juice processors in the United States.
- Representation of the economic development arms of various governmental entities in more than a dozen research and developmentrelated loan transactions with start-up companies.
Private Equity and Securities
Chris is also experienced in public and private offerings of securities. Recent transactions include acting as General Outside Counsel to Breeze-Eastern (formerly TransTechnology Corporation) on a balance sheet restructuring involving a private investment in public equity (PIPE) transaction for $20 million in common stock with a follow-on refinancing of $50 million in senior debt; disposition of four separate business lines valued at over $300 million.
He has experience with federal and state securities law matters, including periodic reporting, SEC and blue sky law compliance issue and special transactions.
Chris is well-versed in the coordination of the purchases and sales of foreign owned assets and the financings of such purchases and sales. He recently completed the sale of the Mexican division and related debt of a domestic auto supplier to a publicly traded Mexican company. He has also completed due diligence for a publicly traded Swedish company as part of the spin-off and listing of one of its divisions on the Swedish stock exchange, and helped to negotiate the release of certain strategic foreign assets of a client from a Brazilian lender in order to effectuate the sale of those assets.
Chris is also highly experienced in the documentation and negotiation of international sales, supplier and distribution agreements, including such agreements related to territories including the European Union, Eastern Europe, Africa, central and South America and Southeast Asia. He also has experience with international corporate formation and dissolution issues in, among other countries, Australia, the Isle of Man, Japan and Poland, and has dealt with export issues relating to the U.S. Customs Service. Helpful to Chris's international practice is his fluency in Spanish.
Chris practice also includes the gaming industry, with a focus on regulatory compliance, licensing, ownership structures and operations of gaming establishments in seven states. He has assisted with the diligence, acquisition and financing of more than 20 gaming operations, and has helped the acquiring parties become licensed by the applicable gaming authorities in each instance. He has also interacted with charitable and for-profit gaming regulators in a number of jurisdictions in the Midwest and Southern United States to coordinate on-going licensing reviews and completion of suitability investigations of key owners or employees of gaming operations.
Real Estate Law
Chris has a wealth of experience in general real estate-related services, including the negotiation of purchases, sales and leases of commercial and residential real estate and mortgages and other liens on such properties. Recent representative transactions include the negotiation of the lease of more than 40,000 square feet of street-level Class A real estate in downtown Cleveland, including the naming rights of the associated five-story office building, and completion of the documentation involved in the build-out and retrofitting of the leased space. He has extensive experience with surveys, environmental audits and other due diligence related to such properties.
Chris is a board member of the Cleveland Council on World Affairs, a member of the Cleveland Bridge Builders Class of 2004, an active member of the Cuyahoga County and Ohio Young Democrats, and Treasurer for the Ohio Chapter of AFS (American Field Service) in Bay Village.
Chris is listed in the 2010 edition of "Ohio Rising Stars" by Ohio Super Lawyers.