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Thompson Hine Represents National Interstate in Vanliner Insurance Acquisition

Posted on 02 Jul 2010

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Thompson Hine LLP, one of the nation's leading business law firms, represented National Interstate and its principal insurance subsidiary, National Interstate Insurance Company, in the successful acquisition of Vanliner Insurance Company from UniGroup, Inc.

The $128 million acquisition, which closed yesterday, was ranked by top business information company Thomson Reuters as the nation's sixth largest merger and acquisition transaction for April, when the deal was announced. As previously discussed by National Interstate, the purchase price may be adjusted after closing based on Vanliner's final closing date balance sheet and certain financial guarantees. UniGroup has agreed to provide National Interstate with comprehensive financial guarantees related to the runoff of Vanliner's balance sheet following the close, whereby both favorable and unfavorable balance sheet development inures to UniGroup.

Thompson Hine has provided legal services to Richfield, Ohio-based National Interstate Corporation since the company was founded in 1989 and also handled its initial public offering in 2005. National Interstate Corporation is a specialty property and casualty insurance holding company with a niche orientation focused on the transportation industry.

The Thompson Hine transaction team was led by April Miller Boise, partner-in-charge of the firm's Cleveland office, who has extensive experience advising companies on complex business transactions including mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures. The team also included Tony Kuhel, corporate partner; James Koenig, tax partner; Alan Berliner, insurance partner; Charles Freed, a partner in the antitrust group; and a team of other lawyers and staff from across the firm's U.S. offices who advised on legal issues relating to employee benefits, intellectual property, real estate, executive compensation and employment matters.

The transaction represents National Interstate's first major acquisition. Dave Michelson, president and chief executive officer of National Interstate comments, "The breadth and depth of experience of the Thompson Hine team was crucial to the success of this deal. Having long relied on Thompson Hine for superior client service, we view them as a true partner in our business."

"We believe this is an excellent acquisition for National Interstate that supports their long-term strategic business objectives," says Boise. "It is particularly satisfying for us to support the growth of a thriving local business and long-term client." She adds that the transaction is just one example of the positive trends starting to emerge in merger and acquisition activity, locally and nationally.