DuPont Taps Skadden for Split Work

, The Am Law Daily

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The DuPont plant just outside Derry, Ireland.
The DuPont plant just outside Derry, Ireland.

E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company—commonly known as DuPont—has turned to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom for outside counsel on its plan to split itself in two by spinning off its performance chemicals business into a new publicly traded company.

The Wilmington-based industrial conglomerate, which has been under fire from activist investors like Nelson Peltz, announced late Thursday that it would implement the tax-free separation plan over the next 18 months.

Skadden is a longtime legal adviser to DuPont, having handled the company's 1998 separation from its oil unit, Conoco, which went public in a record-setting $4.4 billion initial public offering. (Conoco eventually merged with Phillips Petroleum in a $15.6 billion deal in 2002 that formed ConocoPhillips, and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz got the call a decade later to advise on a split of that enterprise.)

Skadden M&A partners Lou Kling and Brandon Van Dyke, tax partner and regulatory practices head David Rievman and global executive compensation and employee benefits head Regina Olshan are advising DuPont on the separation of its performance chemicals unit, which includes the company's titanium technologies and chemicals and fluoroproducts businesses. DuPont and its shareholders will own 100 percent of the new entity.

All four Skadden partners advised DuPont two years ago on its $5.8 billion buy of Danish enzyme and specialty food products company Danisco. Kling and Van Dyke also provided counsel to DuPont last year on the $4.9 billion sale of its performance coatings business to private equity firm The Carlyle Group.

DuPont's general counsel is Thomas Sager, who became the company's in-house legal chief in 2008 after the retirement of predecessor Stacey Mobley, now senior counsel at Dickstein Shapiro.

Sager was named one of The American Lawyer's Top 50 Innovators in August for his role encouraging the company's outside firms to become more diverse in their hiring and cut costs through the adoption of alternative fee arrangements.

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