J.T. Atkins

Managing Director

J.T. Atkins has been an investment banker for more than 30 years, specializing in mergers and acquisitions, restructurings and bankruptcies and leveraged finance transactions.  Mr. Atkins has worked for companies in many industries including, among others, business services, transportation, telecommunications, media/entertainment, manufacturing, consumer products, retailing, oil and gas, power and energy, pulp and paper, health care, food and beverage, chemicals, financial institutions, textiles, retailing, real estate, educational services, infrastructure services and technology.

Mr. Atkins is the head of Cypress Associates LLC, an advisory firm specializing in mergers and acquisitions, private placements of debt and equity, corporate restructurings and recapitalizations and litigation advisory services/expert witness representations.  As part of activities on behalf of clients, Cypress provides advisory services to acquirors and sellers of assets, debtors, creditors and other parties-in-interest.  Cypress acts as placement agent in arranging financing for clients seeking to obtain financing for growth or acquisitions.  Cypress also works with attorneys for its clients in providing expert witness reports and supporting testimony.

Cypress’ clients include Fortune 500 as well as middle market companies, large mutual funds and insurance companies, debtors, creditors and financial sponsor and strategic buyers.  At Cypress, Mr. Atkins has been the senior banker representing clients that include, among others, InterActive Corp., Energy Transfer Partners, Inergy GP, Onex Corporation, Heritage Propane, Allegheny Energy, du Pont, ConAgra, AT&T Wireless, HealthSouth, Wilmington Trust Company, FAO Inc., Leonard Green & Partners, the New York State Common Pension Fund, Chem Rx Corp., Case Pomeroy & Co., the equity owner of Venture Industries, the bondholders of Sunnyside Cogeneration Associates, the creditors of Vacaville Recreation Corporation, the special committees of the Board of Directors of Gart Sports Company, The Aristotle Corporation and Ascendia Brands, and to the Beloit Liquidating Trust and the High Voltage Engineering Liquidating Trust.  Mr. Atkins is also the liquidating trustee of the Orion Refining liquidating trust in which Mr. Atkins oversaw the sale of the Trust’s ownership of convertible preferred stock of Valero Corporation and the sale of a significant financial asset to Goldman Sachs.  Mr. Atkins also acted as an advisor to American Rock Salt Co. in its private placement of $100 million Senior Notes.

Before forming Cypress, Mr. Atkins was a managing director with CIBC World Markets in the Corporate and Leveraged Finance group, which he joined as a result of CIBC’s acquisition of Oppenheimer & Co. in 1997.  At CIBC, Mr. Atkins was co-head of the Restructuring and Bankruptcy advisory group as well as participating in the firm’s fairness opinion practice.  Mr. Atkins was the senior team leader in many publicly announced transactions, including the sale of GP Strategies to Veronis Suhler, the squeeze-out acquisition of Mercom Cable by ABRY, an affiliate of Bain Capital, the restructuring and sale of Sunnyside Cogeneration to Constellation Power, the restructuring and sale of Great Lakes Pulp and Fibre, the reorganization and sale of Okeelanta Power, an affiliate of PG&E, to the Fanjul family following the successful settlement of litigation against Florida Power and Light, the restructuring of  Mobile Energy, an affiliate of Southern Company and the restructuring of Ramtron Corporation’s convertible preferred stock.  Prior to the CIBC acquisition, Mr. Atkins was a Managing Director in Oppenheimer’s Corporate Finance department beginning in 1995.  At Oppenheimer, Mr. Atkins worked on both merger and acquisition, financings and restructuring advisory assignments.  Mr. Atkins’ transactions, among others, included the management buyout of Heritage Propane from Golder Thoma Cressey and Prudential, the squeeze out mergers of General Physics by National Patent, and of Faulding Inc. by Faulding Limited, the restructuring and sale of American Fiber Resources, an affiliate of Ahlstrom Engineering, to Cerberus Partners and the restructuring of Robbins Resources, an affiliate of the Foster Wheeler Company.  Mr. Atkins also assisted clients including Heritage Propane in the private placement of debt securities and the public issuance of MLP units.

Before joining Oppenheimer, Mr. Atkins was a Managing Director in the Merger and Acquisition department at Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin starting in 1991.  At Houlihan Lokey, Mr. Atkins ran the New York office’s M&A group, overseeing the sale of Petrolane Partners to Suburban Propane, an affiliate of Quantum Chemical, the go private merger of textile manufacturer Alba Waldensian and the restructuring of Synergy Gas.

From 1985 to 1991, Mr. Atkins was in the Mergers and Acquisitions group at PaineWebber Inc.  Mr. Atkins started as an Associate, becoming a Managing Director in 1990.  At Paine Webber, Mr. Atkins worked on many middle market and large capitalization transactions, including the acquisition by Campeau Corp. of Allied Stores, the leveraged buyouts of Martha White Flour and White Lily Foods, the sale of H.J. Wilson to Service Merchandise, the sale of Bally’s to Golden Nugget, the bid by Martin Sosnoff for Caesar’s Palace, the bid by Centaur Partners for the Pennwalt Corporation and the acquisition of National Intergroup.  Much of the acquisition work involved arranging debt and equity financing on behalf of PaineWebber’s clients.  Mr. Atkins also was named co-head of PaineWebber’s Restructuring group in 1989, overseeing the restructuring of Federated Stores on behalf of the senior creditors and the restructuring of Ames Department Stores of behalf of certain trade creditors.

As part of his work in both mergers and acquisitions and restructuring, throughout his career Mr. Atkins has been involved in numerous litigations and settlement negotiations where he has actively assisted attorneys in examining strategies, analyzing discovery materials, providing both fact and expert testimony and both performing and supporting valuation analyses.  Mr. Atkins has been deposed more than 60 times and has testified on dozens of occasions, including numerous times in Delaware Chancery and Federal courts.  Mr. Atkins has been qualified as an expert in both acquisition and bankruptcy related litigations. Specifically, Mr. Atkins has been qualified as an expert in valuation, damages, solvency analysis, evaluating leveraged acquisitions, capital structures, the development and analysis of projections, the reasonableness of fees paid to participants in certain merger and acquisition transactions, feasibility of restructuring plans, the evaluation of management’s ability to operate distressed companies and the fairness of sale processes in bankruptcies.  Mr. Atkins also was the lead negotiator in the $225 million settlement of the Okeelanta Power litigation with Florida Power and Light, the $53 million settlement for Mobile Energy from Kimberly Clark and the $29 million settlement for American Fiber Resources from Ahlstrom Engineering.

Cypress is currently retained in seven large and active commercial litigations, in which Mr. Atkins is the designated expert for four of them.  Since 2007, Mr. Atkins has been deposed as an expert witness in In re Venture Holdings Company LLC (Fed. Bank. Ct. ED Mi. 2003), Benihana of Tokyo, Inc. et al. v. Benihana, Inc. (Del. Ch. Ct. 2004), In the matter of Internet Shopping Network LLC et al. and Kirk Loevner (Fla. Arb. 2004), U.S. Bank National Association v. U.S. Timberlands Klamath Falls LLC et al. (Del. Ch. Ct. 2004), CC Investors III, LP, et al. v. Alfred C. Eckert (NJ Sup. Ct. 2005), In re Musicland Holding Corp., et al. (S.D.N.Y. 2006), Enbridge Energy Company, Inc., et al. v. United States of America (S.D. Texas 2006), In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation (E.D.N.Y. 2005), Gearreald et al.  v. Just Care Inc. (De. Ch. Ct. 2010), G-2 Trading LLC v. Inergy, GP, LLC et al. (De. Ch. Ct. 2010), CrossCountry Energy LLC vs. El Paso Corp. et al. (Del. Ch. Ct. 2011), In Re Bank of America Corp. Securities, Derivative and ERISA Litigation (S.D.N.Y. 2009), In re McAfee Shareholder Litigation (Sup. Ct. Cal. 2010), Eagle Materials Inc. V. United States of America (N.D. Texas 2011), In re Epicor Software Corporation Shareholder Litigation (S.C. Ca. 2011), Kumiva Group, LLC v. Garda USA Inc. (NY Sup. Ct. 2008), Novack v. GCI Commerce, Inc. et al. (Sup. Ct. Mass. 2011), In re: Activision Blizzard, Inc. Stockholder Litigation (Del. Ch. Ct. 2013) and Elting v. Shawe. (Del. Ch. St. 2014) and provided expert testimony at trial in In re Venture Holdings Company LLC, Benihana of Tokyo, Inc. et al. v. Benihana, Inc., et al., In the matter of Internet Shopping Network LLC et al. and Kirk Loevner, U.S. Bank National Association v. U.S. Timberlands Klamath Falls LLC et al., CC Investors III, LP, et al. v. Alfred C. Eckert, Gearreald et al.  v. Just Care Inc., Richard L. Marshall and Patsy L. Marshall, Transferees, et al. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Richard L. Marshall and Patsy L. Marshall, Transferees, et al. v. Commissioner (U.S. Tax Ct. 2011), Novack v. GCI Commerce, Inc. et al. (Sup. Ct. Mass. 2011) and Pacific Management Group et a. v. Commissioner (U.S. Tax Ct. 2007).

Mr. Atkins also provides instruction for attorneys on how to work with investment bankers in rendering fairness opinions, for which attorneys receive CLE credit.

Prior to joining PaineWebber, Mr. Atkins was an attorney from 1982 to 1984 at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in the merger and acquisitions department. 

Mr. Atkins received his B.A. with Highest Honors from the University of Virginia in 1979 and J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1982.   Mr. Atkins was a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Economics at Harvard College from 1980 to 1982.

Mr. Atkins also served on the Board of Directors of the general partner of Heritage Propane Partners, L.P., a public company (now Energy Transfer Partners), between 1996 and 2000.  As a Board member, he served as the sole member of Heritage Propane’s special committee in evaluating more than a dozen intercompany transactions between Heritage and its general partner.  Mr. Atkins also was co-chairman of Heritage’s special committee in evaluating the fairness to Heritage’s unitholders of its merger with U.S. Propane LLC in 2000.

Mr. Atkins is a member of both the American Bankruptcy Institute and the Turnaround Management Association.  Cypress’ affiliate, Cypress Partners LLC, is a FINRA registered broker-dealer.  Mr. Atkins holds Series 7, 63 and 24 licenses with FINRA.