Patton Boggs' acquisition of the Breaux Lott Leadership Group combines one of K Street's largest firms with one of its emerging powerhouses. It also brings Patton Boggs a bipartisan set of rainmakers, together with a client list heavy with energy and financial services companies.
Patton Boggs managing partner Stuart Pape said former senators John Breaux (D-La.) and Trent Lott (R-Miss.) have “a demonstrated success record in the private sector.” Pape said, “We were eager to have the benefit and give our clients the benefit of that energy and expertise on their part, and their clients and prospective clients increasingly needed the resources of a broader venture, so it was a natural affinity.” In a statement, Patton Boggs’ chairman, Democrat Thomas Boggs Jr., called the acquisition “a cornerstone for our bipartisan growth.”
The two firms have been in closely held, but widely rumored, talks for months. The deal was finalized today. In exchange for an upfront payment and continuing incentive payments based on hitting performance targets, Breaux and Lott made a five-year commitment to the firm with an option for a sixth year, sources said.
Patton Boggs deputy managing partner Edward Newberry said most of the talks centered on the structure of the acquisition. For now, the firm is keeping the Breaux Lott brand, he said, calling it a “well-recognized name” and saying it would help address some client conflict issues. But the Breaux Lott partners and staff will move from the firm's current offices at 607 14th St. N.W. to Patton Boggs' offices sometime in July, he said.
Newberry and Pape both declined to discuss the acquisition’s price tag. Newberry said the firm is “very comfortable with how the financial aspect is structured,” calling the purchase “a strategic acquisition.”
Pape confirmed that partners voted on the deal. “There’s a large number of people here who know Senator Breaux at a personal level, and so that…makes this very easy,” he said. “There’s no more delightful guy anywhere in town.” According to Pape, both Lott and Breaux spoke at the firm’s annual meeting last month, saying they were “looking forward to being under the Patton Boggs roof.”
Lott and Breaux were not immediately available for comment. In a statement, Breaux said the pair “will continue to provide boutique-level personal attention to our clients” with the added benefit of Patton Boggs’ resources.
Breaux and Lott kept ties to Patton Boggs after Breaux left the firm in 2008 and started his new partnership with longtime friend Lott. In 2009, the firm had $11.2 million in lobbying revenue, according to The National Law Journal’s Influence 50, placing it at number 32 on the list. In the past, Breaux has cited his strong personal relationship with Boggs as one reason why he joined the firm when he left Congress, and it could be part of what lured him back.
The two firms do have some client conflicts. Most obviously, Breaux Lott represents the government of Taiwan, while Patton Boggs has the Embassy of the People's Republic of China as a client. Newberry said Breaux Lott’s Taiwan representation would end as a result of the merger.