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Don Lents serves as Senior Partner & Chair Emeritus of the firm. His practice focuses on corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, securities law and general corporate matters with particular emphasis upon responsibilities of boards of directors, multinational and domestic mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, anti-takeover planning, and related matters. He is co-author of a treatise on Missouri Corporation Law and Practice and of articles on various corporate law issues. He has been an adjunct professor at the Washington University Law School.

Mr. Lents served for a number of years as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and was the Chair of the Firm from 2004 through 2014. He previously served as head of the firm’s Transactions Practice and chair of the Corporate Department. He also was the partner in charge of the firm’s London office from its opening in 1982 through 1984.


Civic Involvement & Honors

    • Chambers USA, Corporate/M&A
    • The Best Lawyers in America© 2020
    • The Best Lawyers in America© 2020
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Professional Affiliations

    • American Bar Association
    • American Law Institute
    • American Law Institute
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Representative Experience

Among the matters in which Mr. Lents has played a principal role are representation of:

  • Anheuser-Busch in connection with its $1+ billion investment in Grupo Modelo of Mexico and its $300+ million investment in CCU of Chile
  • William S. Barnickle & Company, a 47% shareholder of Petrolite Corporation, in connection with its accomplishment of the sale of Petrolite to Baker Hughes Incorporated for approximately $720 million
  • Emerson Electric Co. in connection with its $450 million acquisition of Vermont American Corporation, its $200 million acquisition of Hazeltine Corporation, its spin-off of ESCO Electronics Corporation, its divestitures of BI Technologies, Chromalox and Xomox, and a number of other transactions during the past 30+ years
  • Furniture Brands International, Inc., in connection with its bankruptcy restructuring, the $400+ million redemption and sale of Furniture Brands stock owned by Apollo Investment Funds, L.P. and Lion Advisor, L.P. and its spin-offs of the Converse and Florsheim shoe companies
  • Ralston Purina Co. in connection with its $500 million sale of Continental Baking Company to Interstate Baking Company, subsequent negotiations relating to Ralston’s holdings of 40+% of the stock of Interstate, and its spin-offs of Agribrands International, Inc., and Energizer Holdings, Inc. Mr. Lents also served as co-counsel to Ralston Purina in connection with its $10+ billion sale to Nestlé S.A.
  • Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, as financial advisor to Union Planters Corporation with respect to its $1+ billion acquisition of Magna Group and a number of other transactions
  • WorldCom, Inc., in connection with its $14.4 billion acquisition of MFS Communications Company, Inc., its $1.2 billion acquisition of CompuServe Corporation, and its $475 million exchange of assets with America On Line
  • Sigma-Aldrich Corp. in connection with its $425 million sale of its B-Line Systems business to Cooper Industries, Inc.
  • Sverdrup Corporation in connection with its approximately $200 million sale to Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc.
  • Agribrands International, Inc., Brown Group, Inc., Centerre Bancorporation, Emerson Electric Co., Energizer Holdings, Inc., ESCO Electronics Corp., Harmon Industries, Laclede Gas Company, Leggett & Platt, Incorporated, McDonnell Douglas Corporation, NS Group, Inc., Ralston Purina Co., Sigma-Aldrich Co., Stifel Financial Corp., Wetterau Incorporated, WorldCom, Inc., and others in connection with their adoption of Shareholder Rights Plans (or "poison pills")
  • Representation of the independent directors of CPI Corporation, DT Industries, LaBarge, Inc., Maritz Inc., McCarthy Construction Company and Thermadyne Holdings Corporation, among others, with respect to various matters.