President Bush today (Friday 3 October) signed a historic bill aimed at bailing out ailing US financial institutions and providing assistance to financially stretched homeowners.
The $700bn financial rescue package was approved earlier today by the US Congress less than a week after a previous version had been rejected.
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher was among the first US law firms to respond publicly. The firm’s newly minted financial markets crisis group had already scheduled an online briefing open to clients and the media for Friday afternoon.
The briefing began just minutes after the House of Representatives had voted 263 to 171 in favour of the revised bill and before President Bush signed the bill in the Oval Office.
Michael Bopp, formerly associate director of the US Office of Management and Budget and a partner in Gibson Dunn’s Washington, DC office moderated the briefing, which also featured partners Chuck Muckenfuss, Susan Grafton and Paul Issler.
Bopp said there were three key questions among the many the bill raised both for potential sellers of asset and government contractors: Who gets to sell assets, which sets of assets get sold and how will the process be managed?
“The need to get involved in the process starts now,” Bopp added.
Muckenfuss echoed Bopp’s advice to anyone interested in becoming involved in the process. He warned that the regulations had been made, “on the fly” and that it was imperative for any potential sellers to get involved as quickly as possible.
“This is going to be very chaotic and those who get in line first will have a better shot,” added Muckenfuss.
Gibson Dunn’s financial markets crisis group was launched on 25 September as a response to the recent dramatic economic events in the world’s financial markets. As The Lawyer reported earlier this week (www.thelawyer.com, 30 September), a growing number of other firms, including Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, K&L Gates and Mayer Brown have set up individual crisis groups to help their clients get to grips with the ongoing turbulence in the financial markets.