Hawkins Served as Counsel to Four Bond Buyer Deal of the Year Winning Transactions


Hawkins is proud to have served as counsel on four financings that won The Bond Buyer deal of the year award for 2020. 

Winner of the Midwest Region Deal of the Year award was The Buckeye Tobacco Settlement Financing Authority’s $5.53 billion offering.  According to The Bond Buyer, the deal “was not only the largest deal of 2020 but arguably also the most complex, the refinancing avoided an expected near-term default, and the $3.8 billion 2055 maturity is among the most actively traded bonds in the high-yield market.” The Hawkins team, led by Howard Zucker, served as underwriters’ counsel and included Roger Bagley and Jamison Sadlon-del Pozo.

Winner of the Northeast Region Deal of the Year was the New York Power Authority’s $1.1 billion offering of tax-exempt and taxable revenue bonds. The offering featured $791.6 million of green bonds, making it the largest public power green bond transaction to date. This transaction was also one of the first New York state financings and one of the first public power deals to come to market after the corona virus induced market shutdown in March. It was the largest public power deal of 2020.  Hawkins served as co-bond counsel and included Bruce Van Dusen and Samuel Litton.

Winner of the Health Care Deal of the Year was the $1.16 billion Bon Secours Mercy Health offering.  The offering involved conduit issuers in three states, a direct corporate offering, and a total of five series of tax-exempt and taxable bonds.  The transaction and the disclosure approach utilized paved the way for other nonprofit health care systems coming to market later in the year.  Hawkins acted as counsel to the underwriters.  The Hawkins team was led by John Renken and included Lisa Hagan and Alexis Harrington.  

Winner of the ESG/Green Financing was The Ford Foundation’s $1 billion social bond transaction. The proceeds of the bonds will be used for grant making to support social justice, human services, arts and cultural organizations. The financing represented the first-ever social bond offering by a U.S. nonprofit foundation in the taxable corporate bond market. The Hawkins team, which served as underwriters counsel, was led by Steven Donovan and included David Handler and Niles Murphy.

When judging entries, The Bond Buyer’s editorial board evaluated a range of factors, including: creativity, the ability to pull a complex transaction together under challenging conditions, the potential for the deal to serve as a model for other financings and the public purpose of the deal. The Bond Buyer launched the Deal of the Year awards in 2002.  Hawkins is honored to have participated in 25 Deal of the Year transactions.