Chris Howard originally joined Pierce Atwood in 1982, rejoining the firm in 2001 as a partner in the Business Group. Before rejoining the firm, Chris served a five-year term as chief administrative officer and general counsel at American Skiing Company, where he managed all of ASC's capital markets transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and resort development transactions. He serves on the firm's Management Committee and is the former head of its Business Practice Group. Chris has a unique combination of technical legal skills and hands-on business and finance experience, which enables him to integrate these disciplines into strategies that match client objectives and provide clients with a competitive advantage.

Chris' practice has three areas of focus:

  • Corporate finance and transactional representation: Chris' work involves all aspects of corporate, securities, and commercial law, focusing on representing entrepreneurs and middle-market companies in a wide variety of transactional settings.
  • Resort and hospitality industry: Chris continues to be active in the hospitality sector with projects ranging from resort acquisition and disposition to numerous hotel developments to representation of Maine's first gaming development.
  • General counsel representation: In addition to his work as American Skiing Company's general counsel, Chris' experience includes acting as "external" general counsel for several large to midsize companies including two of Maine's largest insurance companies. Chris' forte is in managing complex commercial transactions and development projects in time-sensitive environments, and in accessing all sectors of the capital markets. While at American Skiing, Chris was responsible for more than $1 billion in U.S. capital markets in financings ranging from as small as $30 million to as large as $350 million, structured the acquisition of SKI, Ltd., and the Steamboat Springs, Heavenly and Canyons resorts, and directly oversaw the development of seven major hotels ranging from 150,000 square feet to 580,000 square feet. Chris was one of the moving forces behind the successful launch of Maine Employers Mutual Insurance Company, now one of the state's largest property and casualty insurers. Chris acted as both its counsel and interim CEO in connection with its initial start-up.

Honors & Distinctions

  • Recognized in Chambers USA for Corporate/M&A law
  • Included since 2007 in The Best Lawyers in America® for Mergers & Acquisitions Law, and was named "Lawyer of the Year" in Portland, Maine for Mergers & Acquisitions Law in 2015

Professional Activities

  • Member, Maine State Bar Association, American Bar Association

Civic Activities

  • Board member, Maine North Atlantic Development Office
  • Immediate Past Chairman, Maine Governmental Facilities Authority
  • Founding Board member, The Cromwell Center for Disabilities Awareness
  • Former Board member Maine Maritime Museum
  • Board member, Presumpscot River Land Trust
  • Board member, Mercy Hospital

Practice Areas

Representative Experience

  • Representation of Dixville, LLC in connection with the acquisition, expansion and redevelopment of the Balsams Resort in New Hampshire.
  • Representation of St. Croix Tissue, Inc. in financing the $130 million development of a manufacturing plant at the Woodland Mill in Baileyville, Maine. Closed $40 million in New Market Tax Credit financing on December 30, 2013 (including federal and state new markets allocation, and qualification under the “targeted populations” rules), as first step in a 4-tier capital structure. Additional tiers include $7.5 million of State of Maine moral obligation conduit bond financing, $79 million in senior debt and $10 million in sponsor equity.
  • Representation of Cuddledown in connection with its acquisition by Potpourri Group.
  • Representation of The Olympia Companies, a New England-based hotel developer, in connection with the acquisition, development, and financing of hotels and related mixed-use projects throughout the eastern United States, including projects located in New England, North Carolina, Florida, and Illinois.
  • Representation of State Line Scrap Co., Inc., a large metals recycling business, in connection with the sale of its business to Prolerized New England Company LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. This representation included the successful sale of a large, multi-facility metals recycling operation, including disposition of assets located in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
  • Representation of Waterville Valley Holdings, LLC, a company sponsored by the Sununu family, in connection with the acquisition of the Waterville Valley Ski Resort in Waterville Valley, NH from Booth Creek Holdings, and the debt and equity financing required for the acquisition.
  • Representation of The Waldron Group in connection with the acquisition, disposition, and financing of its portfolio of companies.
  • Acted as lead counsel to Hannaford Bros. Co. in its $175 million acquisition of Victory Markets, a 20-store grocery store chain located primarily in Massachusetts.
  • Represented a Texas-based deep water equipment manufacturer in several strategic acquisitions, including the acquisition of a Massachusetts-based manufacturer of deep sea mineral exploration/transaction equipment in a transaction valued in excess of $50 million.

Representative Experience

  • Representation of a potential purchaser of controlling interest in a $4.9 billion coal and petroleum coke gasification facility located in the southwest.
  • Representation of Burgess Biopower in the financing of its 75 MW biomass power plant located in Berlin, New Hampshire. Representation included total project finance of $200 million in senior debt provided through Prudential and Pac Life, $63.5 million in New Market Tax Credit subordinated debt, $55 million in Section 1603 grant-secured debt, and project equity provided by the Sponsor, Cate Street Capital, Starwood Capital and Gestamp Energy. Advised with respect to EPC agreement, off-take power purchase agreement with PSNH and all project-related agreements.
  • Representation of Cate Street Capital, Inc. in connection with acquisition, disposition and financing of their portfolio of companies, including private placements, structured finance, tax advantaged finance, and traditional M&A activity.  The Cate Street portfolio includes Clean Runner (process equipment manufacturing); Red Desert (water reclamation facility); Sunlight Partners (solar technology development); Thermogen Industries (biocoal manufacturing); Purified Plastics (recycling and manufacturing facility); Burgess Biopower (75 MW renewable power generation facility) and Organic Nutrition Industries (renewable proteins).

Representative Experience

  • Representation of Mercy Hospital in connection with its affiliation with Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems.
  • Representation of Goold Health Services, a Maine-based provider of Medicaid fee for service pharmacy benefits management services in its acquisition by Emdeon, Inc.
  • Global representation of Maine Guaranteed Access Reinsurance Association in connection with the organization of this state-mandated reinsurance program for the high risk segment of Maine’s individual health insurance market

Representative Experience

  • Representation of Advantage Capital Partners, a new markets tax credit allocatee, in organizing and establishing a NMTC-based loan pool leveraging federal and state of Maine new market tax credits in order to make investments in multiple businesses. Closed multiple investments on behalf of this investment fund, including $10 million in Putney, Inc., a veterinary pharmaceutical company, and $27 million in JSI Store Fixtures Incorporated, a merchandise display system manufacturer.