Chicago Chapter: March Deal Connect Panel

March 11 2020, 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM CDT Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP, 161 North Clark Street, Suite 4300, Chicago, Illinois, 60601

Wednesday, March 11th
11:00 AM CDT

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
161 North Clark Street
Suite 4300
Chicago, Illinois, 60601


Topic: Lessons Learned from Failed Acquisitions

In this panel, we will explore what makes a a successful sale of a company from both the seller’s and buyer’s perspective. As a PE fund, what pitfalls are there and how do you best navigate the issues that could derail or prevent a smooth acquisition? As an Investment Banker representing the seller, what is the best way to ensure that the deal process not only goes flawlessly but the post-sale time period is seamless and a positive experience.


  • Opus Connect Members: No Charge
  • Non-Members (On or before March 6th): $195  
  • Non-Members (On or after March 7th): $220 

By Invitation Only 

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Jason Berne
Partner at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

Jason Berne represents lenders and borrowers in a wide range of financing transactions, including secured and unsecured credit facilities, private placements, channel finance transactions, multiparty syndications, mortgage loans, and sale-leaseback transactions. His practice also includes advising debtors and creditors in a variety of workout matters, including note sale agreements, deed-in-lieu transactions and forbearance agreements. Mr. Berne regularly counsels clients on industry-specific financing issues including healthcare, franchising, distribution, and real estate.

Mr. Berne was with the firm’s Middle East practice during 2005. He advised clients on a range of international commercial transactions including joint venture formation, corporate formations and governance, labor and employment advice, distribution and service arrangements, real estate transactions, intellectual property protection, and technology-related transactions.

Mr. Berne has studied in Edinburgh, Scotland and Sussex, England. Before attending law school, he worked for management consulting and financial analysis firms in London and Chicago.

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John Waller
Managing Director at Plaisance Advisors

As the head and founder of Plaisance Advisors' investment banking practice, John leads and co-leads transaction teams as well as develops business for the firm. John has won numerous transaction-related awards and he frequently speaks on the topic of middle market mergers and acquisitions.

John has completed over 50 middle-market transactions ranging from exclusive sales for private companies and private equity firms to divestitures from publicly-traded companies and going-private transactions.

John began working in investment banking in 1991 when he joined Credit Suisse's Chicago office from the global accounting firm of KPMG. He has helped lead the growth and development of a number of investment banking firms around the world and in his native Chicago. Most recently as the co-leader of the investment banking practice of a Chicago-based consulting firm, John directed that firm's efforts in completing complex transactions for large, multi-national companies and increasing its presence in manufacturing-related transactions.

John is a member of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Morton Arboretum, the Art Institute of Chicago and is actively involved with The University of Chicago Booth School of Business (formerly known as the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business). John was actively involved in Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games.

John leads Plaisance's Industrial Growth group. He has completed transactions in nearly every manufacturing segment of the economy.

John earned an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and his undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa in Accounting. He is qualified as a General Securities Representative and a General Securities Principal.

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Ryan McGovern
Managing Director & Investment Committee Member at Star Mountain Capital

Ryan McGovern has nearly two decades of investment and advisory experience with much of that time spent launching and managing mezzanine debt funds and working with mezzanine fund investors around the world. At Star Mountain, Mr. McGovern is involved in all aspects of the firm’s investment and portfolio management activities in addition to business development and investor relations efforts. Mr. McGovern joined Star Mountain from the specialist private debt advisory firm Avebury Capital Partners where he established and ran its North American operations helping to build, advise and raise capital for mezzanine and other private credit investment funds.

Mr. McGovern was previously a partner at Ember Capital (formerly known as Nomura Mezzanine), a London-based alternative investment fund manager which managed a €350 million mezzanine fund sponsored by Nomura in addition to approximately €200 million in other pools of capital for senior and mezzanine debt investments. For nearly 8 years at Ember/Nomura, Mr. McGovern was responsible for originating, executing and managing senior debt and mezzanine investments primarily in connection with private equity sponsor-driven transactions. During his time at Ember/Nomura, Mr. McGovern was instrumental in making more than 25 private credit investments. Mr. McGovern also played a key role in structuring and raising the firm’s funds as well as with investor relations on a global basis.

Before joining Nomura in early 2005 to help launch its mezzanine investment business, Mr. McGovern was an investment professional at MezzVest, a €750 million mezzanine fund sponsored by AIG. Earlier in his career, Mr. McGovern was an investment banking associate at HSBC and an investment banking analyst at Stephens Inc. Mr. McGovern began his career as an associate portfolio manager in the asset management division of Dominick & Dominick in New York.

Mr. McGovern completed his MBA at HEC Paris and London Business School and holds a BA from Vanderbilt University.

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Stephen Lewis
Managing Director at Capstone Headwaters

Stephen Lewis joined Capstone Headwaters from Cross Border Strategies LLC, a boutique he founded. There he focused exclusively on facilitating international debt financing for middle market companies with current or planned operations outside North America.

Prior to founding Cross Border Strategies LLC, Stephen served for seven years as Executive Director with GE Corporate Financial Services in Chicago and then London. Stephen is a 30+ year veteran of the financial services industry.

Stephen has broad legal and business experience in multi-jurisdictional transactions of all types, including portfolio acquisitions, lending, structuring, and restructuring. His extensive management skills include establishing and leading “start-up” operations in Canada and the UK for US-based lending institutions.

Stephen has personally led over 100 international financing transactions involving more than $10 billion in international financing. He has completed international debt transactions in over 30 countries, including the US, Canada, Great Britain, France, The Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Italy, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Chile.


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