Exelon, the country’s largest producer of nuclear power, is betting big that the long-discussed boom in wind power is for real. The company, advised by Foley & Lardner, agreed today to buy 36 wind farms from the farm machinery heavy Deere & Co. (which you all know by the name John Deere) for about $900 million, according to nice wrap-ups from Bloomberg and Dow Jones.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom advised Deere, a longtime Skadden client dating back several decades. Daniel Dusek, a Skadden partner who led the firm’s team along with David Friedman, declined to comment when we reached him today. Friedman did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. Deere announced in February that it would seek to get out of the wind power business and focus on its core work in farming and farm machinery. Deere sold the 36 wind farms and other assets in an auction process.
Foley advised Exelon in winning that auction, which marks the company’s first foray into wind power, according to Bloomberg. The company is banking that tougher federal regulations on carbon-based emissions will increase the market for nuclear and wind power, according to a company statement and Bloomberg. The Deere wind farms can supply enough power for up to 220,000 homes, Bloomberg reports.
Partner James Tynion III led the Foley team advising Exelon, which is probably relieved to complete a huge deal after abandoning its $7.5 billion hostile takeover attempt of rival NRG Energy last year after meeting opposition from NRG shareholders, according to our prior reporting. Foley has been doing state-based regulatory work for Exelon for several years, but today’s deal marks the first time Foley has taken a lead role for Exelon on a transaction, according to Tynion and Carter Culver, the lead in-house lawyer on the deal for Exelon. Foley has been working in wind power for a dozen years, when the firm began representing lenders to early wind projects, Tynion says. Since then, Foley’s wind practice has grown to include corporate work for several major companies, including Exelon and the Spanish company Acciona, and advisory work for large investors, including Citibank, Tynion says. That experience in wind power was key in Foley winning its first role as lead deal counsel for Exelon, Tynion and Culver say.
McDermott Will Emery provided tax advice to Exelon.