James E. Abbott is a partner and the Co-Head of the Business Transactions Group at Seward & Kissel. Jim has practiced law since 1984. He joined Seward & Kissel as a partner in 2007.
Jim represents public and private companies, private investment funds, investment management firms, financial institutions, business owners and managers in connection with a variety of business transactions, financings and general corporate matters. Representative transactions include mergers and acquisitions, private equity, debt and venture capital transactions, seed capital arrangements, joint ventures, strategic alliances, PIPEs and other public and private securities offerings.
In 2019, The M&A Advisor recognized Jim with its 2019 Leadership Award, and inducted him into its Hall of Fame. In 2018, The National Law Journal recognized Jim as an M&A Trailblazer, among only 27 attorneys nationally who it determined were “movers and shakers in the legal industry who have made an impact in their sector through new types of strategies or innovative matters.” In ranking Seward & Kissel’s Business Transaction Group as Highly Regarded for Corporate/M&A, Chambers USA ranked Jim Abbott a Leading Individual and reported that “clients are full of praise” for Jim, “saying that he always puts client satisfaction as a primary objective, brings a lot of experience to deals, and can explain legal items in everyday business terms.” In recommending the Seward & Kissel Business Transactions Group among the firms ranked in the middle market M&A category, The Legal 500 ranked Jim in its “Hall of Fame” category and reported that “Co-business transactions group leader Jim Abbott is very helpful with the overall strategic advice and guidance he provides. Jim gets actively engaged in the entire process, providing superior service, and not only is he personable and affable, but he can subtly drive a very hard bargain.” Jim is among the corporate lawyers recognized by New York Super Lawyers, and is ranked AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 by Martindale-Hubbell. Jim is also ranked as a Notable Practitioner by IFLR1000
Jim has been a regular speaker and author on a variety of topics, including acting as an editor for IM Deals® (a blog covering investment management industry transactions), being a contributor to the Best Practices of the Best Dealmakers book, writing a chapter on “Mergers, Consolidations and Conversions Under the New York Limited Liability Company Law,” in the New York Limited Liability Companies and Partnerships book, and writing or being quoted in articles appearing in numerous financial and legal publications. He has been a moderator or panelist at many industry events, including the “M&A: The Art of the Deal” session sponsored by the New York Chapter of Financial Executives International, a presentation entitled “Earnouts: Recent Developments and Three Rules of the Road” at the JEGI Media & Technology Conference, a panel discussion entitled “Global Coverage: What’s Hot About India” at the M&A Advisor Annual Middle Market M&A Conference, and at the Wharton Entrepreneurial Speaker Series event entitled “When Selling Your Business Avoid Losing Millions From These Common Mistakes”.
Jim received a B.A. degree, magna cum laude, from Colgate University in 1981 and a J.D. degree from New York University School of Law in 1984, where he was a member of the Moot Court Board. Jim is admitted to practice in New York and is a member of the New York State Bar Association (International Law and Practice Section, Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States).
Jim has advised clients on numerous transactions, including:
- iM Global Partner, a French-based global asset management network, in connection with numerous transactions, including its acquisition of Litman Gregory and its minority stake investments in Polen Capital, Dolan McEniry, Dynamic Beta, Sirios Capital, Scharf Investments, Asset Preservation Advisors, Richard Bernstein Advisors and Berkshire Asset Management
- Numerous international shipping and offshore drilling industry public company merger transactions, including the merger of Ocean Rig UDW with Transocean Ltd. and the merger of Euronav NV with Gener8 Maritime, Inc.
- Growth Catalyst Partners, a leading middle market private equity firm, in connection with multiple platform and bolt-on acquisitions, including three simultaneous acquisitions to launch risk services company Sigma7
- Estancia Capital Partners, a financial industry-focused private equity firm, in connection with numerous acquisitions including of bank deposit networks Reich & Tang Deposit Networks and Total Bank Solutions
- Dozens of sell-side transactions for private company clients, including the sale of MedLit Graphics to private equity-backed TCG Legacy and the sale of Topo Research to Gartner
- UBM plc (LSE: UBM-LN), a London-based global marketing services and communications company, in connection dozens of acquisition and disposition transactions, including its $920 million tender offer acquisition of CMP Media Inc.
- Co-authored, “2022 Seed Transactions Deal Points Study,” Seward & Kissel (June 7, 2023)
- Co-authored, “Seward & Kissel Releases Business Transactions Group 2022 Year in Review,” Seward & Kissel (February 2, 2023)
- Co-authored, “2021 Seed Transactions Deal Points Study,” Seward & Kissel (May 19, 2022)
- Co-authored, “Seward & Kissel Releases Business Transactions Group 2021 Year in Review,” Seward & Kissel (January 31, 2022)
- Co-authored, “2020 Seed Transactions Deal Points Study,” Seward & Kissel (May 26, 2021)
- Co-authored, “Seward & Kissel Releases Maritime Practice 2020 Year in Review,” Seward & Kissel (March 1, 2021)
- Co-authored, “2019 Seed Transactions Deal Points Study,” Seward & Kissel (June 24, 2020)
- Co-authored, “Business Transactions Group Year in Review 2019,” Seward & Kissel (February 24, 2020)
- Wealth Management M&A Discussion: What is the landscape for wealth management M&A in the current environment? Seward & Kissel (February 9, 2023)
- Macro Headwinds in 2022: How has the GP Stakes industry been affected? Seward & Kissel (January 26, 2023)