Seasoned Lawyer Andrew Gratz Shares His Experience Working on the Front Line of M&A at Plastics, Chemicals and Refining Giant LyondellBasell [Video]
Veteran attorney shares learnings from his experience helping to guide the company’s global transactions.
23 April 2019
Founded in 2007, LyondellBasell is one of the world’s largest public multinational plastic, chemical and refining companies. With a $47 billion global footprint across headquarters in Houston, London and Rotterdam, the company is constantly assessing mergers, acquisitions and divestiture activity to remain competitive.
Andrew Gratz, associate general counsel, commercial & strategic transactions, is on the front line of these discussions.
In the latest edition of the M&A Methods series (watch our in-depth interviews with Tom McGee, VP of corporate development at RPM International, and Svetlana Vinokur, vice president, treasurer and corporate development at Federal Signal), produced in association with Transaction Advisors, Gratz, whose team is responsible for all mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and joint ventures globally as well as all commercial sales in the Americas, discusses how his M&A mindset is rooted in his experience running political campaigns before law school.
“Throughout the campaign you have one goal and one goal only — to get the candidate elected,” explains Gratz, who joined the company in 2008. “I’ve brought that focus on the end goal to my legal practice and to LyondellBasell.”
Gratz says a simple mantra keeps him and his team on the right track during a transaction: What are we trying to accomplish? What is the goal of the transaction?
“The team hears me say all of the time, ‘If you don’t understand the why, you can’t effectively develop the how.’”
Watch the video interview (below), filmed at the M&A Conference at Wharton San Francisco, to learn Gratz’s views on:
Finding the balance between risk and reward: “Lawyers see risk everywhere. We’re built that way. We’re designed that way. But the average lawyer will only see risk, and the average business person will only see reward… Excellent team members see the risk and the reward.”
Why strategy should drive diligence: “Big deals. Small deals. You have to understand what you’re buying…. The goal of the transaction should be driving diligence and negotiations. For example, if the goal of the transaction is to acquire a certain IP, well, if the target owns a few warehouses, then I don’t care how many square feet the warehouses may be… If the goal is to acquire key personnel, what do their employment agreements look like? Do they have covenants not to compete? How long can I ensure that these employees will stay with the acquirer?”
Transactions as unique as snowflakes: “From a legal perspective, you have the typical tension points — indemnification, warranty — but every deal has its own issues… You have to approach each deal and understand its unique qualities.”
If you work in M&A, we guarantee that you’ll find this wide-ranging conversation fascinating.
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