Mario Ponce is a Partner in the Firm’s Corporate Department and serves as Co-Head of the Mergers and Acquisitions Practice and a former member of the Executive Committee. His practice focuses on negotiated and hostile merger and acquisition transactions, proxy contests, restructurings, joint ventures and securities laws. He regularly represents strategic clients, investment banks and private equity firms. Mario also advises boards on corporate governance matters, fiduciary duties and shareholder activism.
Mario’s clients have included Allegion plc, Alpharma, Inc., American Electric Power, Aramark Corporation, Arch Coal, Beazer Homes, Blue Buffalo Pet Products, Eaton Corporation, Emerson Electric Co., General Instrument Corporation, Georgia Pacific Corporation, Goldman Sachs & Co., Ingersoll-Rand Corporation, ITC Holdings, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Keyspan Corporation, KKR & Co., Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Lazard Frères & Co., Newell Rubbermaid, Owens & Minor Inc., Office Depot, Polaris Industries, PPL Corporation, SBA Communications Corp., Teleflex Incorporated, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Versum Materials, Inc., Willamette Industries, Inc. and Xerox Corporation.
Mario is currently representing Versum Materials, Inc. in connection with its pending merger of equals transaction with Entegris Inc. and in response to the unsolicited cash offer by Merck KGaA for Versum. He recently represented Blue Buffalo Pet Products in its $8 billion acquisition by General Mills, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in its $1.35 billion sale to JAB Holding; ITC in its $11.3 billion acquisition by Fortis; Walgreens Boots Alliance in its purchase of 1,932 Rite Aid Corporation stores for $4.157 billion and Office Depot with respect to its proposed merger with Staples, Inc. Some of his other high-profile matters included the representation of PPL Corporation regarding its spin-off of Talen Energy and merger of Talen with affiliated entities of Riverstone Holdings; Ingersoll-Rand in connection with the appointment of Nelson Pelz to the Ingersoll Board of Directors and the spin-off of Allegion plc, Ingersoll-Rand’s security businesses; Emerson Electric Co. regarding the disposition of its embedded computing and power business to Platinum Equity; Office Depot with respect to its merger of equals transaction with OfficeMax; Teleflex Incorporated concerning its acquisition of Vascular Solutions, Inc.; Eaton Corporation in its acquisition of Cooper Industries PLC; Arch Coal, Inc., with respect to its acquisition of International Coal Group, Inc.; Bowne & Co., Inc. in connection with its merger with R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company; the going-private transaction of Aramark Corporation; Xerox Corporation in connection with its acquisition of Affiliated Computer Services, Inc.; and Ingersoll-Rand Corporation with respect to its acquisition of Trane, Inc.
Mario has been engaged in many significant defense matters and activist situations, including the defense of Versum Materials in connection with the unsolicited cash offer by Merck KGaA, Fyffes plc with respect to its proposed merger with Chiquita Brands Inc. and the unsolicited offer by Cutralo-Safra Group for Chiquita; Alpharma Inc. in connection with the hostile tender offer initiated by, and subsequent merger with, King Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; WCI Communities, Inc., regarding its defense of a proxy contest and hostile tender offer initiated by affiliates of Carl Icahn; Nautilus Inc. in its proxy fight with Sherborne Investors; Willamette Industries, Inc., with respect to the hostile offer and proxy contest initiated by Weyerhaeuser Company; and Kemper Corporation in its defense of the hostile offer launched by General Electric Capital Corporation; and activist situations involving numerous companies.
Mario received his B.A., summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Richmond in 1984 and his J.D. with honors from Duke Law School in 1988. He serves on the Board of Visitors of Duke Law School and as General Counsel for The Metropolitan Golf Association. He lectures frequently on topics relating to his professional interests.