Howard Sobel is a partner in the New York office of Latham & Watkins. Mr. Sobel is former Co-Chair of the US Private Equity Practice and a member of the Mergers & Acquisitions and Public Company Representation Practices.
Mr. Sobel’s practice focuses primarily on the representation of private equity firms in leveraged acquisitions of privately held and public companies, including going private transactions, co-investment opportunities, and acquisitions and reorganizations in bankruptcy proceedings. He has represented Leonard Green & Partners, L.P.; Centerbridge Partners, L.P.; Odyssey Investment Partners, Inc.; Irving Place Capital; Wayzata Investment Partners; Aquiline Capital Partners, LLC; and Cinven Partners, LLP in a wide variety of private equity investments. Mr. Sobel has also represented major public corporations and investment banking firms in a spectrum of transactions that includes numerous mergers and acquisitions (including highly structured leveraged buyouts), international joint ventures, equity offerings, 144A offerings of high-yield securities, and general corporate matters. He also advises officers and directors with respect to fiduciary matters. Mr. Sobel was named the 2011 MVP for Private Equity by Law360 and was recognized as a Leading Lawyer in Private Equity Buyouts by The Legal 500 US 2014 - 2018. He was named to The Legal 500 US Hall of Fame in 2018 and described as “extremely smart as well as very business oriented and practical.” According to Chambers USA, the "incredibly responsive" Mr. Sobel is "thought-provoking" and a "great listener" who "is a great human being as well as a great lawyer."
Mr. Sobel has served as general outside counsel to numerous public and large private companies, including FTD, Inc., Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corporation, The Container Store, BJ’s Wholesale Clubs, Authentic Brands Group, Aspen Dental, U.S. Renal Care, and Tourneau, Inc.
Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Sobel was a law clerk to Judge Edwin D. Steel, Jr., of the US District Court of Delaware from 1978-1979.
Mr. Sobel's recent experience includes representation of:
- Leonard Green & Partners, L.P. in connection with the acquisitions of Life Time Fitness, BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc., Jo-Ann Stores, J. Crew Group Inc., Lucky Brand Dungarees, Tourneau, Inc., Scitor Corporation, HITS, Inc., David’s Bridal Corporation, The Container Store, Brickman Corporation, Varsity Brands, Inc., FTD, Inc., U.S. Renal Care, Tank Holdings, and RestorixHealth; the acquisition of a minority interest in Ellucian, Topshop/Topman Limited, Activision Blizzard, and Whole Foods Market, Inc.; its investment in The Pure Group and Savers, Inc.; a majority debt and equity interest in Rand McNally & Company; and the leveraged buyout of IMS Health Inc., one of the largest leveraged buyouts in the US in 2010
- Odyssey Investment Partners, Inc. in connection with the sales of Pro Mach, Inc., Neff Corporation, and Aviation Technologies, Inc., and in connection with the acquisitions of Safway Services, Ranpak Corp., Gulf Tanks Acquisition, Inc., and Big Dumpster Holdings, Inc.
- Aquiline Capital Partners in connection with the acquisitions of Worley Claims Services and Engs Commercial Finance
- Cinven in its majority investment in Medpace, a leading contract research organization
- The Brickman Group, a portfolio company of Leonard Green & Partners, L.P., in its acquisition by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
- Authentic Brands Group LLC in connection with the acquisition of Jones New York, Spyder Active Sports, the intellectual property assets of Juicy Couture, and the intellectual property licensing business of Payless ShoeSource Worldwide
- U.S. Renal Care in connection with the acquisition of DSI Renal, Ambulatory Services of America, and sale of Radiation Oncology Services of America
- Intermix, Inc. in connection with its acquisition by Gap Inc.
- Irving Place Capital in connection with the acquisition of Ohio Transmission Corporation, Alpha Packaging Holdings, Inc., and Mold-Rite Plastics, LLC
- Centerbridge Partners, L.P. in connection with the acquisition of Cardinal Logistics Management Corporation, Greatwide Logistics Services, Inc., Kenan Advantage Holdings Corp., and Penn National Gaming
- Conning Holdings Corporation in connection with a joint venture with Cathay Financial Holdings Co. Ltd.