A group of Boston-based lawyers from a pair of Am Law 100 firms grabbed the lead roles on an initial public offering by Blue Apron Holdings Inc., a New York-based meal-kit delivery company now valued at roughly $1.89 billion after raising $300 million in a stock float last week.
While a relatively disappointing debut for Blue Apron, which was seeking a valuation of some $3.2 billion, the company’s lawyers from Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr have reaped the benefits of their counsel to the ingredient-and-recipe subscription service.
A securities filing by Blue Apron states that the startup has incurred roughly $1.8 million in legal fees and expenses in its effort to transition to a publicly traded enterprise. Mark Borden, the immediate-past chair of Wilmer’s corporate department and a former member of the firm’s management committee, is working with capital markets partner David Westenberg in advising Blue Apron in its IPO.
With Blue Apron in its IPO “quiet period,” its lawyers were not available to discuss how they came to represent the company, which was founded in August 2012. Benjamin Singer, a former associate at Kirkland & Ellis and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, has served as Blue Apron’s general counsel since late 2014.
Federal court records show that Perkins Coie and Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton have represented Blue Apron in litigation, while New York’s Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard has handled trademark work for the company, which is based out of offices in Manhattan’s SoHo and Flatiron District neighborhoods.
Blue Apron’s backers include Bessemer Venture Partners, Fidelity Investments, First Round Capital, Peak Opportunity Partners and the Stripes Group. The company, whose meal-delivery and cooking kit competitors include Hello Fresh, Home Chef, Plated and Sun Basket, is considered one of the so-called unicorns as a result of its billion-dollar valuation.
Mark Bettencourt, a member of the management committee at Goodwin Procter and past chairman of the firm’s business law department, is working with technology companies’ group partner Gregg Katz in representing underwriters led by Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. on Blue Apron’s IPO.
Goodwin Procter also advised underwriters last week on a roughly $60 million IPO by Silicon Valley-based enterprise software startup Tintri Inc., which turned to Wilson Sonsini for outside counsel on its listing. Securities filings by Tintri show that investment partnerships affiliated with Wilson Sonsini own about 0.05 percent of common stock in the company, which estimates legal fees and expenses for its IPO at $2.25 million.
Earlier this year, sibling publication The Recorder looked at how Wilson Sonsini and other large firms developed the practice of taking equity stakes in their IPO clients.
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