John Welge is the Leader of the firm's M&A and Corporate Finance Practice Group. He leads the legal negotiation and execution of cross-border transactions and middle-market mergers and acquisitions for individuals and corporate clients buying and selling businesses in the U.S. and across the world. Mr. Welge also advises his clients on a broad range of business law issues including corporation and limited liability company structure and formation, venture capital and private equity investments, leveraged buy-outs, private stock offerings, joint ventures, employment agreements, supply agreements, license agreements, and statutory matters under Missouri and Delaware corporate law.  To obtain the best business, financial, and legal outcome for his clients, Mr. Welge also leverages his prior experience as a CPA with Big 4 and national accounting firms.

Mr. Welge has led deal teams on significant, multimillion-dollar transactions for several global clients, including Emerson Electric, Monsanto, Energizer, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Schnitzer Steel, and Watlow Electric. His extensive cross-border experience includes transactions in England, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Romania, China, Israel, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and India. His clients span a broad range of industries including process controls, network power, food manufacturing, auto recycling, telecommunications, high fashion retail, community banking, and healthcare. A trusted business advisor, Mr. Welge develops long-term relationships with his clients by gaining a deep understanding of their businesses and their concerns, and taking a client service-oriented approach to solving their legal issues. Many of his clients have turned to Mr. Welge as their go-to counsel for decades.

Outside of his legal practice, Mr. Welge serves as the board treasurer and an active board member of Operation Food Search, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization in St. Louis that operates a food bank to nourish and educate those in need.

Prior to joining the firm in 1994, Mr. Welge was an associate with an international law firm in Houston, Texas. 

Civic Involvement & Honors

    • The Best Lawyers in America®, 2018-2020
    • The Legal 500 United States 2017-2018: M&A: middle-market (SUB-$500M)
    • The Legal 500 United States 2017-2018: M&A: middle-market (SUB-$500M)
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Representative Experience

2016 Completed and Ongoing

  • Lead counsel for Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE: EMR), U.S.-based global leader in network power, process management, industrial automation, climate technologies and appliance and tools businesses, on multiple domestic and cross-border acquisitions, divestitures and joint ventures
  • Represent PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in the formation and continuing operation of a joint venture in India to operate back-office functions for affiliated accounting entities from various countries
  • Represent Kordsa Global Endustriyel Iplik ve Kord Bezi Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S. in its bid to acquire a US-based business, including review and analysis of issues with respect to approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)
  • Represent privately-held Watlow Electric Manufacturing Company in the potential acquisition of a company located in Milan, Italy
  • Represent Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCHN) in the analysis and structuring of a potential joint venture in the automotive parts industry
  • Represent successful individual executive in the buy-out of her stock holdings from company she founded, along with negotiation of ongoing employment and consulting relationships
  • Represent Waterloo Bancshares, Inc. in the Regulation D underwritten private placement of $6.3 million of common stock
  • Represent a private family investment company in the acquisition of separate related Illinois businesses for approximately $4 million
  • Represent several Midwest community banks on corporate and banking regulatory matters

Completed 2011-2015

  • Represented Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE: EMR) as lead counsel in all aspects of structuring, negotiation, execution and implementation of $99 million acquisition by merger of Israel-based Spectronix Ltd., developer of sensors and fire and gas detection systems for the civilian market and systems for detecting and containing explosions in military vehicles; Spectronix was publicly held and listed on the Tel Aviv stock exchange prior to becoming a subsidiary of Emerson Electric Co. by the merger
  • Lead counsel on multiple middle market cross-border acquisitions and divestitures for Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE: EMR) throughout the world, including most recently in the U.S., India, Israel, Canada, Mexico, England, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Brazil and Chile, with continuous representation for more than 20 years.
  • Represented privately-held AstenJohnson, a global manufacturer of paper machine clothing, advanced and filtration fabrics, filaments, paper machine equipment, and custom rebuild solutions since 1790, in the acquisition of Eagle Nonwovens, Inc.
  • Representing multiple clients in various transactions of various sizes in India, including experience with respect to foreign direct investment, funds transfer, share transfer, entity structuring and governance, formation of offshore holding companies, India Companies Act requirements, and similar matters specific to Indian transactions
  • Represented Waterloo Bancshares, Inc. in the acquisition of Prairie National Bank, a national bank in Effingham and Stewardson, Illinois with approximately $52 million in assets
  • Represented Huckle Media LLC in the sale of its multi-site community newspaper business in southern Minnesota, including 10 community newspapers, 17 websites, shopping guides, a digital agency and a commercial printing facility, to Adams Publishing Group, LLC
  • Represented Gilster-Mary Lee Corp. in the sale of its Duncan Hines branded cake mix and brownie mix manufacturing facilities to Pinnacle Foods Group LLC (NYSE: PF)
  • Represented U.S. private individual in sale of 36 retail stores in Mexico to First Cash Financial Services, Inc. (Nasdaq: FCFS), leading provider of specialty consumer financial services and related retail products
  • Represented American Railcar Leasing, a leader in the leasing and sale of specialized railroad tank and covered hopper railcars, in a $623 million joint venture for the purchase and leasing of railcars, entered into with American Railcar Inc. (Nasdaq: ARII), leading North American designer and manufacturer of hopper and tank railcars
  • Represented Energizer Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: ENR) in its $300 million acquisition of American Safety Razor in a Section 363 sale in Federal Bankruptcy Court in Delaware
  • Represented owners of Cejon, Inc. in sale to Steven Madden, Ltd. (Nasdaq: SHOO), retailer of footwear and fashion handbags and accessories
  • Represented privately-held Watlow Electric Manufacturing Company in the acquisition of Semiconductor Tooling Services, Inc., based in San Jose, California.