Atlanta-based M&A partner David Yates has joined Greenberg Traurig from Hunton Andrews Kurth, saying he sees opportunities at Greenberg for his deal practice with a specialty in Latin American transactions.
Yates, 45, joined Greenberg as a shareholder Nov. 1 after almost 13 years at Hunton. “The platform here matched up very well with my clients’ needs,” he said, noting that Greenberg, based in Miami, has a strong Latin American practice.
His practice “aligned with Greenberg’s team here and the entrepreneurial approach that Greenberg seems to embrace,” Yates added. “At this point in my career, I’m trying something new.”
Yates declined to name clients but said he advises multinationals, private equity funds and high net worth individuals, adding that he has been developing a cross-border practice rooted in his experience guiding deals in Latin America. While Latin American transactions have made up as much as 40 percent of his work at times, Yates said, deal activity in the region is not as busy now.
He works across industries on transactions for companies whose businesses are “anything from frozen baked goods to ball bearings to tactical gear,” he said.
“One of the attractive things with Greenberg is the expansive global platform and the breadth and depth of subject-matter expertise,” Yates said.
Greenberg, with 2,000 lawyers in the U.S. and nine international offices, including Mexico City, is twice the size of Hunton Andrews Kurth, formed from the April merger of Virginia-based Hunton & Williams and Texas-based Andrews Kurth Kenyon.
With Yates’ addition, Greenberg has 112 lawyers in its Atlanta office, while Hunton has 33 locally.
“We are excited to add another lawyer of David’s caliber to our group,” said Greenberg’s Atlanta managing shareholder Ted Blum, who also heads the local corporate practice. “David’s experience with domestic and global transactions will add to our collaborative approach and expand our capabilities to ensure we provide the best comprehensive services for our clients.”
Recent reported transactions for Yates include co-leading a Hunton team in 2016 that advised Promerica Financial Corp. in its acquisition of Banco Citibank de Guatemala and affiliate Cititarjetas de Guatemala Limitada. The deal expanded Banco Promerica Guatemala’s credit card and consumer banking assets to 98 bank branches and $1.7 billion in total assets.
Yates was the lead Hunton partner in another deal advising Miami-based Biscayne Petroleum and Everglades Petroleum on their acquisition by 7-Eleven and its subsidiary, SEI Fuel Services. 7-Eleven bought their South Florida convenience stores, gas stations and real estate.
He was a lead partner on a 2013 Hunton deal advising Banco Sabadell in its $12 million acquisition of Lloyds TSB Bank’s Miami private banking business with about $900 million under management for primarily Latin American high net worth clients — challenging because it meant translating an entity structured under British law to a New York legal framework.
Yates said he’s handled transactions in most of Central and South America. The deals are complex because of the numerous regulatory bodies from different countries governing tax, labor and employment and other issues under different legal frameworks. Most of the transactions are governed by U.S. law, he said.
That has helped him develop a more general cross-border practice. “I understand the differences of how to work across jurisdictions, so I can explain issues unique to the U.S. that are different from the European or Latin American approach,” he explained.
Outside of his work, Yates is a committed supporter of Covenant House, which offers shelter and aid to homeless youth. He is participating in Covenant House in Atlanta’s “executive sleep out” Thursday night, where he and other supporters will spend the night outside in the cold wet weather with only sleeping bags on cardboard boxes. Their goal is to raise $850,000 for Covenant House Georgia, which served about 1,500 homeless youths last year.
Yates said he’s leading the law firm effort for the fundraiser with Michael Tyler of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton and Bill McKenzie of Burr & Forman. Greenberg, Kilpatrick, Burr & Forman and Troutman Sanders all have teams participating.
In other extreme outdoor activities, Yates is an ultra-marathoner who will be running a 50-mile race next spring in Antelope Canyon, Arizona. “My wife just shakes her head,” he said.