Principal Financial Group’s $1.2 Billion Acquisition of Wells Fargo & Company’s Institutional Retirement & Trust Business

Lazard acted as the financial advisor on the transaction to Principal. Debevoise & Plimpton LLP acted as legal counsel to Principal on the acquisition.

Principal Financial Group® (Nasdaq: PFG) executed a definitive agreement with Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) to acquire its Institutional Retirement & Trust business. At closing, Principal® will assume ownership of Wells Fargo’s defined contribution, defined benefit, executive deferred compensation, employee stock ownership plans, institutionaltrust and custody and institutional asset advisory businesses and serve a combined 7.5 million U.S. retirement customers.

Through this acquisition, Principal will double the size of its U.S. retirement business by the number of total recordkeeping assets, while bringing on attractive institutional trust and custody offerings for the non-retirement market. In addition to increased scale, Principal will gain a strong foothold with mid-sized employers as more than two-thirds of Wells Fargo’s institutional retirement assets are in plans ranging from $10 million to $1 billion. Principal expects to be well-positioned to deliver a broader set of solutions and capabilities to its customers, strengthen investments in digital technologies and automation, and recognize materially significant synergies and efficiencies.

As of December 31, 2018, the respective Wells Fargo retirement businesses had $827 billion in assets under administration served by approximately 2,500 employees in locations across the U.S., Philippines and India. There are four major employee centers in: Charlotte, N.C.; Minneapolis/Roseville, Minn.; Waco, Texas; and Manila, Philippines.

The Debevoise team is led by partner Thomas M. Kelly (Picture) and includes partners Lawrence K. Cagney, Jeffrey P. Cunard and Gregory J. Lyons; counsel Alison M. Hashmall and Michael G. Stern; and associates Katherine M. Arango, Nariné A. Atamian, Courtney Bradford Pike, Danjie Fang, Samuel D. Krawiecz, Clare K. Lascelles, Khrystyna Rayko, Jonathan Steinberg and Alana Simone Walker.

Involved fees earner: Nariné Atamian – Debevoise & Plimpton; Courtney Bradford Pike – Debevoise & Plimpton; Lawrence Cagney – Debevoise & Plimpton; Jeffrey Cunard – Debevoise & Plimpton; Danjie Fang – Debevoise & Plimpton; Alison Hashmall – Debevoise & Plimpton; Thomas Kelly – Debevoise & Plimpton; Samuel Krawiecz – Debevoise & Plimpton; Clare Lascelles – Debevoise & Plimpton; Gregory Lyons – Debevoise & Plimpton; Khrystyna Rayko – Debevoise & Plimpton; Alana Simone Walker – Debevoise & Plimpton; Jonathan Steinberg – Debevoise & Plimpton; Michael Stern – Debevoise & Plimpton;

Law Firms: Debevoise & Plimpton;

Clients: Principal Financial Group;

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Author: Ambrogio Visconti