The Texas Lawbook Interviews John Goodgame as Top M&A Dealmaker for the First Half of 2015

Opening with “John Goodgame is having a very good year,” The Texas Lawbook’s article “A Word with John Goodgame: The Top M&A Dealmaker in 1H 2015” profiles the work and thinking of Akin Gump oil and gas partner Goodgame, who has led or co-led 11 transactions so far this year with a total deal value of $5.5 billion.

The article notes that his clients are primarily in the midstream sector and lists among their transactions smaller-value deals such as Bison Midstream’s $35 million acquisition of Summit Investments and his largest transaction, Energy Transfer Partner’s (ETP) $1.94 billion deal with subsidiary Sunoco, co-led with Houston office head Chris LaFollette.

In discussing deal size, Goodman noted that a smaller deal can be just as complex as a billion-dollar transaction: “Contrary to what people might think, big deals can be simple, and small deals can be very complex. One reason for that is, just because a deal is relatively small doesn’t mean that it is small to the party you are representing.”

He added, “That having been said, larger deals often involve whole companies, and that’s where things get really more complex. The larger the transaction, the more likely you are to have additional work streams to manage in connection with the acquisition itself—SEC reporting, bank or other financings and related capital markets transactions.”

Regarding the current market, Goodgame notes, “If oil and gas prices stay weak, we will likely be in a more distressed situation in the upstream and midstream businesses; I expect that it will not be a seller’s market. That will likely mean that representing sellers will be a lot harder, both in terms of negotiation and also in the fact that the assets or businesses sold will not generate the value that the sellers had once hoped.”

Looking ahead, Goodgame states that clients believe M&A activity will increase if oil and gas prices stay low: “We will continue to see distress situations develop or worsen, especially in the most upstream-exposed sectors – E&P, oil field service and gathering & processing. Even if we’re not talking distress, we will probably continue to see consolidation as industry players search for efficiencies and cost reductions.”

He added, however, “I, for one, hope that this scenario doesn’t occur, though. I’d rather see my clients and their industry do deals in a market where they’re making money as opposed to one where they’re trying to protect against a loss or failure.”