Chris Howard has a unique combination of technical legal skills and hands-on business and finance experience, enabling him to integrate these disciplines into strategies that match client objectives and provide clients with a competitive advantage. His forte is in managing complex commercial transactions and development projects in time-sensitive environments, and in accessing all sectors of the capital markets.
Chris' practice has four 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 handles projects in the hospitality sector ranging from resort acquisition and disposition to numerous hotel developments to representation of Maine's first gaming development.
- General counsel representation: Chris' experience includes acting as "external" general counsel for several large to midsize companies including two of Maine's largest insurance companies. 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.
- Insurance: Chris has an extensive resume representing insurers, reinsurers, agencies, captives and self-funded plans in insurance regulatory and transactional matters. He has a long history of assisting some of Maine’s largest insurers and agencies with their capital raising, transactional and regulatory needs, maintaining a close relationship with the Maine Bureau of Insurance.
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. While at ASC, 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 serves on the firm's Management Committee and is the former head of its Business Practice Group.
- Recognized by Chambers USA for Corporate/M&A law
- Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® for Mergers & Acquisitions Law (2007-present)
- The Best Lawyers in America® “Lawyer of the Year” for Mergers & Acquisitions Law in Maine (2015 & 2022)
- Maine State Bar Association
- American Bar Association
- Former chairman, Maine Governmental Facilities Authority
- Founding board member, The Cromwell Center for Disabilities Awareness
- Board member and former Chair, Mercy Hospital
Chris serves as general counsel for clients including:
- CEI Capital Management, LLC
- CVG, Inc.
- Cianbro Corporation
- Count & Crush
- Maine Employers Mutual Insurance Company (MEMIC)
- Maine Guaranteed Access Reinsurance Company (MGARA)
- MMG Insurance Company
- The Olympia Companies
- Questech Corporation
- Thos. Moser Cabinetmakers
- Woodard & Curran
Chris’ regular clients include:
- Alfond Scholarship Foundation
- Boughton Hotels – The Colony Hotel
- Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems
- Eimskip USA
- Fathom Management – James Brady – The Press Hotel
- Harold Alfond Foundation
- H.M. Payson & Co.
- New England Ocean Cluster
Chris’ representative experience includes:
- Representation of Bagel Boy Baker in Lawrence, Mass. in sale to PE-backed strategic buyer.
- Representation of Cianbro Group of Companies in strategic acquisitions of contracting firms in Connecticut and Florida.
- 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.
- 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 four-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 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 Lucas Tree in series of strategic acquisition.
- Representation of Varney Agency, Inc. in a series of strategic acquisitions throughout the Northeast.
- Representation of Gibbs Wire & Steel, a Connecticut-based manufacturer of precision products in sale to PE-backed strategic buyer.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Mercy Hospital in connection with its affiliation with Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems.
- Representation of Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems in connection with its affiliation with Maine Coast Memorial Hospital.
- Representation of Goold Health Services, a Maine-based provider of Medicaid fee for service pharmacy benefits management services in its acquisition by Emdeon, Inc.
Latest Updates in Business
- Representation of Icelandic shipping company Eimskip in its U.S. trade and related matters.
- Counsel for New England Ocean Cluster.
- Counsel for Soli DG, manager of Portland International Marine Terminal.
- U.S. counsel for Hiddenfjord, Faroe Island-based importer of salmon to the U.S.
Latest Updates in Arctic & North Atlantic
- 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, New York, North Carolina, Florida, and Illinois.
- 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, New Hampshire from Booth Creek Holdings, and the debt and equity financing required for the acquisition.
- Representation of Fathom Management in connection with the development of the Press Hotel in Portland, Maine, and numerous other hospitality and development projects.
- Representation of Balsams Resort Holdings, LLC in connection with the acquisition, expansion and redevelopment of the Balsams Resort in New Hampshire.
Latest Updates in Hospitality & Tourism
- Global representation of Maine Guaranteed Access Reinsurance Association (MGARA) in connection with the organization of this state-mandated reinsurance program for the high risk segment of Maine’s individual health insurance market. Continues to serve as counsel and executive support.
- Advised MGARA through its Section 1332 State Innovation Waiver with CMS.
- Chris was one of the moving forces behind the successful launch of Maine Employers Mutual Insurance Company (MEMIC) and served as interim Chief Executive Officer during its start-up and first several months of operation.
- Representation of MMG Insurance in numerous capital transactions involving its mutual holding company structure.