New York (February 28, 2005) – Further bolstering its growing capital markets practice, Morrison & Foerster LLP has added senior corporate finance attorney Yaacov M. Gross as a partner based in the New York office. Mr. Gross, whose practice is international and spans multiple industries, has in recent years focused primarily on real estate financing and REIT transactions.
He joins Morrison & Foerster from Wilkie, Farr and Gallagher LLP in New York, where he was a founder of that firm’s real estate securities practice.
"Yaacov is a leader in sophisticated real estate finance. He’s been involved in large, cutting-edge deals since the early 1990s, working with some of the country’s leading investors, developers and investment banks," said Mark Edelstein, co-head of Morrison & Foerster’s real estate finance practice in New York. "Coupled with his diverse corporate experience, he excels in two outstanding transactional practices critical to the firm."
Mr. Gross follows a growing roster of established corporate and transactional attorneys who have joined Morrison & Foerster’s New York office in the past two years, including James Tanenbaum, Anna Pinedo, David Kaufman and Jeffrey Temple.
"Similar to Jim and Anna, who are recognized as true innovators in capital markets, crafting new financial products and methodologies, Yaacov has been a pioneer in the REIT market for well over a decade," said Karen Hagberg, managing partner of Morrison & Foerster’s New York office. "In addition to representing some of the industry’s largest REITs from inception, he has been at the forefront of financing, capital formation, and merger & acquisition transactions involving REITs and other real estate-related ventures."
"Yaacov’s practice is a superb complement to our real estate securities work in many of our offices, from Denver and California to Asia," said Morrison & Foerster Chair Keith Wetmore. "As we continue to build capital markets strength in New York, it’s important to have a well-rounded transactional partner of Yaacov’s stature in our corner."
In addition to his real estate work, Mr. Gross maintains an active general corporate practice, working with public and private companies in their formative stages, both in the U.S. and in Israel. He has helped design capital structures for his clients and advised on the full range of corporate financings, including private placements, joint venture transactions, private equity and venture capital investments, and public offerings. He also advises corporate boards on governance matters.
"Morrison & Foerster’s strengths in the corporate, securities, real estate and tax areas, as well as the firm’s eminence in cross-border work, make it a natural fit for my practice," said Mr. Gross. "I’m especially looking forward to help expand the firm’s platform for real estate-related capital markets work."
Mr. Gross noted the growing international acceptance of REITs as a further opportunity for practice growth. "In addition to accounting for a large share of the investment-grade real estate assets in the U.S., REITs continue to broaden their investments in overseas markets," he said.
"Moreover, other nations are adopting REIT-enabling legislation similar to the U.S. Having strong footholds in corporate finance, real estate and tax, and having done pioneering work with J-REITs (Japanese REITs), I expect Morrison & Foerster will become a major factor in the developing international REIT market."
Mr. Gross has long represented one of the country’s largest shopping center developers, CBL & Associates Properties, Inc., in ongoing financings, as well as CBL’s large acquisitions utilizing complex, structured securities.
Among his other recent real estate securities transactions have included: representing American Campus Communities, Inc. in its 2004 IPO; representing Goldman, Sachs in underwriting the 2004 IPO of Strategic Hotel Capital, Inc.; and representing Bear, Stearns in underwriting the 2004 convertible preferred stock offering of Lexington Properties, Inc., as placement agent in the 2004-5 private placement of structured securities by Canyon Ranch, and as financial advisor to Brandywine Realty Trust in its 2004 acquisition of the Rubenstein Company.
Mr. Gross has been involved in numerous non-real estate transactions of note, including: representing the partners of Cowen & Co. in the sale of the Cowen brokerage firm to Societe Generale; representing the Balducci family in the sale of the Balducci gourmet stores and operations to Sutton Park Gourmet; and representing Learjet Corporation in its sale to an affiliate of Bombardier. Mr. Gross has also authored numerous articles and is a frequent lecturer on a variety of corporate and legal matters.
Mr. Gross received his M.B.A from New York University in 1981 and his LL.B. from Israel’s Bar-Ilan University Law School in 1976. He is admitted to the bar in both New York and Israel.