Melissa A. Leonard

Partner

Cleveland
T +1.216.861.7986
F +1.216.696.0740
New York
T +1.212.589.4281
F +1.212.589.4201

Overview

Melissa Leonard is co-leader of the Mergers and Acquisitions team, and concentrates her practice on mergers and acquisitions and financing transactions, with substantial experience representing private equity, venture capital and public company clients. Her financing experience includes senior secured and unsecured financings, mezzanine financings, project and structured finance, real estate development financings, debt restructurings, and hedging transactions. Melissa represents private equity and venture capital clients in both control and non-control transactions and in various stages of financing and capital formation. Clients trust her as a strategic adviser to represent their interests and to obtain the results they are seeking.

Select Experience

Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Led Lordstown Motors Corp., a designer and manufacturer of electric vehicles, in its business combination with DiamondPeak Holdings Corp., a special-purpose acquisition company. The transaction resulted in a pro forma implied equity value for the combined company of $1.6 billion. The combined company is listed on the NASDAQ.
  • Led Big River Steel, the owner and operator of North America's newest and greenest steelmaking plant, in its joint venture with United States Steel Corporation (U.S. Steel). U.S. Steel purchased a 49.9% ownership interest in Big River Steel's scrap recycling and steel production company with the option to acquire the remaining 50.1% within the next four years. Transaction value: approximately $700 million. (Implied enterprise value: $2.325 billion.)
  • Fifteen months following the initial purchase, led Big River Steel in connection with the exercise of U.S. Steel in its option to acquire the remaining 50.1% of the equity of Big River Steel for approximately $774 million.
Financing
  • Represented a client in its $269 million senior and mezzanine loans from a Fortune 100 bank.
  • Represented a plastic fabrication company in its $228 million senior and $26 million subordinated debt facilities.
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Experience

Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Led Lordstown Motors Corp., a designer and manufacturer of electric vehicles, in its business combination with DiamondPeak Holdings Corp., a special-purpose acquisition company. The transaction resulted in a pro forma implied equity value for the combined company of $1.6 billion. The combined company is listed on the NASDAQ.
  • Led Big River Steel, the owner and operator of North America's newest and greenest steelmaking plant, in its joint venture with United States Steel Corporation (U.S. Steel). U.S. Steel purchased a 49.9% ownership interest in Big River Steel's scrap recycling and steel production company with the option to acquire the remaining 50.1% within the next four years. Transaction value: approximately $700 million. (Implied enterprise value: $2.325 billion.)
  • Fifteen months following the initial purchase, led Big River Steel in connection with the exercise of U.S. Steel in its option to acquire the remaining 50.1% of the equity of Big River Steel for approximately $774 million.
  • Advised Advance Publications' Condé Nast subsidiary in the spinoff of Lucky magazine's print and digital components. Lucky combined with e-commerce platform BeachMint to create a new independent company, The Lucky Group.
  • Represented Advance Publications, Inc. in connection with its Series D Preferred Stock financing of NewsCred, Inc. for approximately $25 million.
  • Represented the management of Matrix Financial Solutions in its sale to publicly traded Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc. for $201 million.
  • Advised the selling shareholder of Pearce Services Inc. in its sale to private equity firm Willcrest Partners for an undisclosed amount. 
  • Advised Morgenthaler Private Equity on the sale of its portfolio company, Satellite Logistics Group, to JF Hillebrand for an undisclosed amount. 
  • Advised CBIZ Inc., a business services company, in its sale of CBIZ Wealth Management to Mariner Wealth Advisors for an undisclosed amount.
  • Represented CBIZ in its acquisition of certain assets of Akron's Tegrit Group. The terms of the deal were not announced.
  • Advised Blue Point Capital Partners on its recapitalization of The Hilsinger Co. for an undisclosed amount.
  • Advised Morgenthaler Private Equity in its acquisition of Bowles Fluidics Corp. and in its add-on acquisition of DLH Industries Inc. 
  • Represented Morgenthaler Private Equity in its sale of Enginetics Corp. to Standex International Corp. for an undisclosed amount.
  • Advised GED Integrated Solutions Inc., a portfolio company of Brockway Moran Partners, in its sale to GED Acquisition Inc., a portfolio company of Altus Capital Partners. 
  • Advised MPE CASE Lab Inc. in its acquisition of Polytek Development Corp. 
  • Advised City Carting Holding Co. Inc. in its acquisition by Tunnel Hill Partners L.P.
Financing
  • Represented a client in its $269 million senior and mezzanine loans from a Fortune 100 bank.
  • Represented a plastic fabrication company in its $228 million senior and $26 million subordinated debt facilities.
  • Represented a designer, manufacturer and distributor of eyewear and eye care accessories, supplies and equipment in its $114.5 million senior and $25.8 million subordinated debt facilities.
  • Represented a manufacturer of liquid mold rubbers and liquid casting materials in its $88.5 million senior credit facility.
  • Represented a Slovenian bank in a syndicated $50 million loan to a developer and supplier of luxury electronic table gaming products.
  • Represented a United States bank in a $40.5 million loan to a manufacturer of industrial ovens and environmental chambers.
  • Represented a national provider of technology and outsourcing solutions to the insurance industry in its $100 million credit facility administered by BMO Capital Markets Corp.
  • Represented a service provider to the insurance industry in its $57 million credit facility arranged by a Fortune 500 global financial services company.
  • Represented a service provider to the insurance industry in its $73 million credit facility led by an institutional lender with a Fortune 500 bank as collateral agent.
  • Represented a United States bank in a $20.8 million real estate development project loan.
  • Represented a provider of luxury watch rental services in its $20 million credit facility with a specialty finance company.
  • Represented a United States bank in a $19 million real estate development project loan.
  • Represented Developers Diversified Realty Corp. in its $1.25 billion credit facility led by JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A. and in its $800 million credit facility led by KeyBank National Association.
  • Represented Big River Steel and its affiliates in structuring, negotiating and closing debt financing for the development of a $1.2 billion Greenfield steel mini-mill under construction in Northeast Arkansas.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • The Best Lawyers in America© (2021)
    • Ohio: Leveraged Buyouts and Private Equity Law

Memberships

  • American Bar Association
  • Ohio State Bar Association
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association

Community

  • Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA): Board of Trustees

Admissions

  • Ohio, 1995
  • [Not admitted in New York]

Education

  • J.D., University of Michigan Law School, 1994, cum laude
  • B.S., Miami University, 1992, summa cum laude