Patton Boggs acquires lobbying firm of former Sens. Lott, Breaux

K Street’s biggest firm on Thursday acquired one of Washington’s fastest-growing lobbying shops.

Patton Boggs, the perennial lobbying powerhouse, acquired Breaux-Lott Leadership Group, the firm started in 2008 by former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) and ex-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.).

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The deal is one of the largest acquisitions on K Street, and brings together two of the biggest lobbying firms in Washington. Patton Boggs reported nearly $41 million in lobbying revenue in 2009, making it the top earner last year. Breaux-Lott reported $11 million, a 34 percent increase from 2008, according to The Hill’s analysis of congressional records.

“The combined expertise of Patton Boggs and Breaux-Lott Leadership Group makes the firm a ‘mandatory first stop’ for discerning corporate CEOs and general counsels facing complex problems that can be solved in the halls of Congress, the executive branch or the courtroom,” said Thomas Hale Boggs Jr., chairman of Patton Boggs. Both firms have made bipartisan lobbying a central part of their work.
Boggs called the acquisition a “strategic coup.”

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The deal brings to Patton Boggs the two former senators; their two sons, John Breaux Jr. and Chester Trent Lott; three public policy advisers; and three staff members. The Breaux-Lott firm will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Patton Boggs, said Ed Newberry, incoming managing partner at Patton Boggs.

“In terms of Patton Boggs, we have never made an acquisition like this before,” Newberry said.

Added Breaux: “This is the most compelling and unparalleled combination of talent and depth that Washington has to offer.”

The firms did not announce the terms of the deal, which involves the purchase of the business interest in Breaux-Lott Leadership Group, ongoing compensation and an incentive program, Newberry said.

Breaux-Lott represents some of the largest energy, financial and telecommunications companies in the world. Among the 32 firms listed on its website are AT&T, Nissan, Goldman Sachs, General Electric and Tyson Foods.

After more than three decades in Congress, Breaux retired in 2005 and joined Patton Boggs as senior counsel. Breaux had a record as a centrist Democrat and served as chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council. At Patton Boggs, Breaux specialized in healthcare and energy work.

Lott retired from the Senate in December 2007 and then started the firm with Breaux.

“This is a win-win deal for our clients as well as for Patton Boggs,” Lott said.
The two former senators were close with Boggs, and the two firms worked together over the last few years. The idea of a formal deal took root early this year but was not finalized until Thursday.

Newberry said there are fewer than a handful of overlapping or conflicting clients between the two firms.

The acquisition comes on the heels of Patton Boggs announcing several high-profile hires in the last year, including Kevin Martin, former Federal Communications Commissioner, and Suedeen Kelly, a former commissioner at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Patton Boggs has more than 600 lawyers in six offices in the United States and internationally. The firm registered to lobby on behalf of roughly 200 clients in the first three months of 2010.