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“Jim’s brilliant. I look for his counsel in more than just securities and exchange issues. He’s been extraordinarily valuable to our company.”

CEO, International Restaurant Company

Overview

As a transactional lawyer, Jim considers himself a puzzle-solver. He pulls together pieces of each transaction and helps clients analyze which deals will move them toward their long-term goals.

Jim’s engagements include cross-border mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, governance, securities, international expansion and general corporate matters. He is well known for his ability to understand the human side of transactions and keep peace during stressful negotiations.

With deep roots in agriculture, Jim draws on his industry knowledge and analytical skills to help clients find their best solution. He was raised in a small farming community in California and gained hands-on experience in the food and agribusiness industry as a plant manager for Sunkist. As a lawyer, he has guided some of the world’s best-known food and agriculture companies, investors and financers. This distinct background allows Jim to understand his clients’ operations with an insider’s perspective.

Jim represents large public and private companies in varied industries and has served as lead counsel on significant transactions, including acquisitions involving AMC Theatres, Freightquote.com, Applebee’s and Russell Stover Candies. He is a former member of Husch Blackwell’s Executive Board.

“Jim’s brilliant. I look for his counsel in more than just securities and exchange issues. He’s been extraordinarily valuable to our company.”

CEO, International Restaurant Company


Industry

Services

Recognition

  • The Best Lawyers In America®Corporate Law, Mergers and Acquisitions Law, 1995-2021; International Mergers & Acquisitions, 2020-2021; Kansas City Corporate Law "Lawyer of the Year," 2010; Kansas City Mergers and Acquisitions Law "Lawyer of the Year," 2015
  • BTI Client Service All-Stars, 2017
  • Chambers USA, Corporate/Mergers & Acquisitions Law, 2010-2019; Senior Statesman, 2020
  • IFLR1000, M&A; Capital Markets: Debt (Nationwide), Notable Practitioner, 2018-2019
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent

Education

  • J.D., University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
    • Order of the Coif
    • UCLA Law Review
    • UCLA-Alaska Law Review, Editor
  • B.A., University of California, Los Angeles
    • summa cum laude

Admissions

  • Missouri

Languages

  • Spanish, Conversant
Featured Experience

Multinational Transaction Realigns Client's U.S. and EU Interests

In a four-party transaction that realigned an entire manufacturing industry across the United States and Europe, Jim and his team led the client through a series of acquisitions, joint ventures and exclusive supply arrangements. The team skillfully and diplomatically coordinated the interests of Swedish, German, Italian and U.S. parties, the workers’ councils at plants in Germany and Italy, the Italian government and the EU competition commission. The result? The successful simultaneous closing of three transnational acquisitions and approval by the EU competition commission of the longest exclusive supply agreement allowed at that time.


Additional Experience
  • Advised Illuminet on $1.3 billion sale to VeriSign Inc.
  • Served as outside general counsel for Triumph Foods LLC, a leading pork processor in the United States.
  • Represented AMC Theatres in $1.1 billion acquisition of Carmike Cinemas and $1.2 billion purchase of Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group.
  • Advised Freightquote.com on $400 million sale to C.H. Robinson.
  • Represented Russell Stover Candies, Inc. in $1.6 billion sale to Lindt & Sprüngli AG. Transaction spanned two continents, included multiple manufacturing and retail facilities, involved significant U.S. and international tax planning, and included key antitrust approvals.
  • Represented Applebee's International Inc. in $1.2 billion acquisition by IHOP Corp. In connection with this transaction, Applebee's entered into securitization transaction with respect to its U.S. franchise agreements, U.S. company-owned restaurants and U.S. intellectual property rights.
  • Counseled American Italian Pasta Co. in $1 billion merger with Ralcorp Holdings Inc. Negotiated merger agreement, prepared tender offer documents and all public company filings, and advised board of directors on all aspects of sale.
  • Represented Monterey Gourmet Foods Inc. during acquisition by Korean company Pulmuone Holdings Co. The $50 million transaction was structured as tender offer followed by short-form merger.
  • Handled dozens of restaurant chain and grocery chain acquisitions.
  • Counseled industry leading agribusiness investment company Oppenheimer Industries Inc. in structuring livestock and ranching investment partnerships.
  • Represented Lansing Trade Group, LLC in its acquisition by The Andersons through complex cash-and-stock deal valued at $305 million.
Speaking Engagements | September 5, 2018
Speaker, "Be In The Know: Legal Tips for Your Ag Start-Up," The National Agricultural Law Center webinar

Joe Thompson and Jim Ash presented "Be In The Know: Legal Tips for Your Ag Start-Up," at the National Agricultural Law Center webinar.

News Releases | August 15, 2019
Husch Blackwell Places 143 Lawyers in 2020 BL Rankings' Best Lawyers in America®

The firm has eight "Lawyers of the Year" and 11 attorneys appearing on the list for the first time.

News Releases | June 03, 2019
Sixteen Husch Blackwell Attorneys Recognized in 2019 IFLR 1000 United States

The 2019 edition of the IFLR 1000 represents the second year IFLR has ranked top financial and corporate law firms and lawyers on a state-by-state basis.

News Releases | April 29, 2019
Chambers USA 2019 Ranks Husch Blackwell in 10 Areas of Law; 33 Attorneys Recognized

Attorneys in 10 offices across the firm's footprint are recognized in the 2019 edition of Chambers USA

News Releases | October 16, 2018
Husch Blackwell Represents Lansing Trade Group in $300 Million Sale

Husch Blackwell represented Lansing Trade Group, LLC in its acquisition by The Andersons, Inc.

News Releases | October 12, 2018
Husch Blackwell Represents Green Plains in Ethanol Plant Divestitures

Husch Blackwell represented one of the world’s leading producers of ethanol in its sale of three plants across three states.

News Releases | September 05, 2018
Husch Blackwell Places 10 Attorneys in 2018 IFLR 1000 United States

Ten Husch Blackwell attorneys have earned rankings in the IFLR 1000, a directory of leading transactional attorneys. The firm also earned rankings in three state jurisdictions.

News Releases | August 15, 2018
Husch Blackwell Places 143 Lawyers in 2019 BL Rankings' Best Lawyers in America®

The Best Lawyers in America® has listed 143 Husch Blackwell attorneys in its 2019 directory. The firm has eight "Lawyers of the Year" and five attorneys appearing on the list for the first time.

News Releases | May 03, 2018
Chambers USA 2018 Ranks Husch Blackwell in 10 Areas of Law; 37 Attorneys Recognized

Husch Blackwell is well represented in the 2018 Chambers USA directory.

Outside the Office

Jim and his wife are active supporters of Graceland University.

They frequently host students who are unable to travel home for the holidays. The couple also often houses the golf team and women’s soccer team for Kansas City-based matches.

Presidential Appointment

A highlight of Jim’s career has been his appointment by President Obama in 2015 to the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD).

The seven-member board counsels the director of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on research and agriculture issues relevant to food insecurity in developing countries. The board also advises senior leaders within USAID on ways to connect U.S. agriculture to foreign aid in an effort to create viable agriculture economies in other nations.

Jim and his family are personally committed to addressing world hunger. As a member of BIFAD, he is able to directly contribute to the development of sustainable food capacities in struggling countries.

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