Two minutes before the Super Bowl kickoff in February, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s Brian Stadler noticed an e-mailed press release on his BlackBerry. It wasn’t good news. His client The Blackstone Group Inc. was in the middle of a bidding war against Vornado Realty Trust for Equity Office Properties Trust, and Vornado had just announced that it had sweetened its offer. Stadler read the release and acted quickly. He got on the phone with Blackstone’s real estate chief, Jonathan Gray, and Blackstone’s investment bankers and gave a sharp analysis of Vornado’s offer.

  • Dealmakers: Private Equity
  • Vornado was offering cash and stock for Equity Office, the top U.S. office landlord, and, in its latest offer, was promising to deliver the cash component more quickly. But as Stadler spoke, the news became much better: Though Blackstone was offering less money, its all-cash proposal offered Equity Office more certainty. And it would take Vornado at least two months to deliver the cash component and even longer to close the merger. Blackstone, on the other hand, could complete its purchase by the end of the week. “Brian really helped me think about what [the Vornado offer] was,” says Blackstone’s Gray. “He quickly identified the key issues for us.”

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