Private Equity and Venture Capital

The Private Equity and Venture Capital Practice at Gould & Ratner is unique among Chicago law firms, with a skilled and experienced team of corporate lawyers who work closely with some of the nation's largest and most prestigious private equity funds and venture capital firms, as well as numerous entrepreneurs, startups, emerging companies and closely held businesses. 

Our practice is large enough to:

  • Have handled more than $8 billion of transactions in the last decade
  • Close an average of 25 merger/acquisition transactions, 20 venture capital transactions and 20 bank financings per year
  • Handle individual M&A transactions of up to $1 billion in value
  • Act as general counsel for domestic and international companies with annual sales in excess of $1 billion
  • Structure sophisticated and complex domestic and foreign transactions
  • Represent many recognizable name brand clients
  • Handle all facets of private equity deals, including fund formations and relations with boards, investors, founders and key executives.
  • Cover all relevant practice areas with seasoned practitioners

Yet small enough to:

  • Value our relationships with lower middle-market and entrepreneurial clients
  • Provide significant involvement, oversight and service from senior partners
  • Have an efficient and effective staffing and cost structure
  • Efficiently work with smaller portfolio companies and handle smaller add-ons in a cost effective manner
  • Use a collaborative team-oriented approach tailored to our client’s needs
  • Avoid utilizing unnecessary layers of specialist and associates
  • Stress practicality and business solutions over scorched earth excess
  • Focus on client relationships: many of our client relationships have spanned more than 50 years and multiple generations with our firm.

Representing equity funds, investors in private equity funds, family offices and other dynamic businesses, our team has extensive experience in negotiating and documenting their investment in private companies, including early stage, growth stage, later stage, recapitalizations, workouts and management buyouts. Our experience includes representing these funds in structuring and executing platform, add-on and other acquisition and sale transactions. We also represent a large number of funds, founders and management teams in connection with venture capital financings.

In the past 10 years, we have represented family offices and other high-net-worth investors in more than 200 investments in private equity, venture capital and other investment funds. Our attorneys have also represented various investors in more than 20 co-investments made alongside financial sponsors in the last three years.

We often serve as day-to-day general and strategic business counsel to more than 200 middle-market businesses, including portfolio companies of financial sponsors.

Our experience extends across borders, too, with our lawyers engaged in business deals in numerous countries, including China, India, United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, France, Brazil and Mexico. As a leader in Law Exchange International, a global network of law firms, we are able to create a seamless web of coverage globally for our clients.

Representative Matters

  • Represented a PCS entrepreneur joint venture with a major cellular carrier to buy, build and operate a cellular company across the country with initial debt and equity capital of close to $500 million.
  • Represented a private equity fund and management group purchase of minor league professional baseball teams in Texas, Missouri and New Jersey.
  • Represented the purchaser of a leading novelty consumer products company after significant debt restructure and other workouts and equity infusion.
  • Acted as an expert witness in a venture capital case involving the standard of care of a lawyer representing an entity seeking private equity funds.
  • Represented a private equity fund making several mezzanine loans and workouts totaling $150 million.
  • Represented a private equity funds and management team in a rollup of cellular licenses in the southeast in multiple acquisitions worth several hundred million dollars and then an ultimate sale to a public company for close to $900 million.
  • Represented a New York-based venture capital fund investing in a large mobile telephone retail store chain.
  • Represented a startup CLEC in New York growing its business and receiving a private equity infusion of more than $40 million with partial and full redemptions of certain stockholders.
  • Represented a management team in Texas in a management buyout of a division of a public company concentrating in the development of VoIP software, as well as raise several rounds of equity financing.
  • Represented a radio station operator in Chicago buying several properties in the Midwest and receiving private equity and debt financing for more than $50 million.
  • Represented a Texas-based residential service software company receiving multiple rounds of private debt and equity financing.
  • Represented a venture capital fund making several investments in early stage software, biotech and telecommunication service companies.
  • Represented a private venture fund in the acquisition of stock of a high tech manufacturing business, including negotiation of employment agreements, option plans and other incentive arrangements for retained executive management.
  • Represented the owner of a nationally recognized retail specialty stores in issuance of a newly created series of preferred stock to venture capital investors for $2 million.
  • Represented a biotech company in negotiations with venture capital firms resulting in the issuance of $1.5 million of preferred stock and $1 million of senior subordinated debentures and warrants.

Private Equity and Venture Capital Team