For the past 13 months, Ballard Spahr partner Gregory L. Seltzer has been working with the City of Philadelphia on the proposed $1.86 billion sale of the largest city-owned gas utility in the country, Philadelphia Gas Works. There were financial and political complexities to the deal, including the need to get both City Council's and the Public Utility Commission's approval of it.

"From a legal perspective, this deal looks like and will read a lot like any big deal any law firm has done," Mr. Seltzer said. "But the complications of it are the political aspects of the deal."

The City's financial advisers received initial bids from more than 30 potential buyers; Mr. Seltzer said he decided to require bidders to submit not only their final price, but a detailed markup of a purchase agreement as well. He stated, "I didn't want to be negotiating key contract terms after we got a price and a buyer got a sense they were out in front in terms of price. Then we took the last three or four weeks to use the competitive tension and the desire for this asset against the bidders. We pitted them against themselves and negotiated."

Mr. Seltzer and a team of 15 other Ballard Spahr lawyers worked closely on the transaction with labor and employment partner Shannon Farmer, real estate partner Joanne Phillips, and employee benefits partner Brian M. Pinheiro. The real estate part of the deal was particularly complex, involving $40 million in real estate assets as well as easement issues related to the underground infrastructure.

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Business and Finance
Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation
Labor and Employment
Mergers and Acquisitions/Private Equity
Public Finance