Benefit Plans in M&A: Transitioning Pension, Savings and Welfare Plans

Best Practices to Avoid Liability for Underfunding, Plan Defects and Unintended Benefits

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Recorded event now available

This CLE webinar will provide perspectives and experiences to help counsel navigate through employee benefit issues in mergers and acquisitions that are often overlooked and that can materially affect the value of a transaction. To avoid unexpected liability, benefits counsel must be familiar with the complicated rules that apply to the transition of benefits and be proficient in implementing them.


Because of their potential significant cost, the treatment of employee benefits is typically one of the key components of any merger and acquisition activity. Counsel must identify potential liabilities when transitioning employee benefit plans, avoid unanticipated liabilities and understand how the benefit plan liabilities will affect the transaction.

Among other important topics covered will be the treatment of single-employer defined-benefit pension plans. Such plans often carry significant unfunded termination liabilities that can impact the acquirer’s balance sheet and produce joint and several liabilities for the controlled group of the plan sponsor.

Employers will also be faced with liabilities stemming from subsidized health and life insurance benefits for retirees. Disputes over such retiree welfare benefits have resulted in significant litigation over the past two decades. If such plans are improperly amended or terminated, employers can be exposed to substantial liability.

Listen as our experienced panelists provide best practices for avoiding significant M&A liabilities with regard to benefits subject to ERISA. Participants in this CLE webinar will come away with the information and perspectives crucial to ensuring this important issue is addressed appropriately.


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What are the potential liabilities when transitioning employee benefit plans?
  • What are best practices to avoid unanticipated liabilities?
  • How will the benefit plan liabilities affect the transaction?


Michael R. Bergmann, Counsel
Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Bergmann counsels clients on employee benefits, ERISA and executive compensation matters. A significant portion of his practice is devoted to advising major public companies on employee benefit and executive compensation arrangements in the context of M&As as well as on an ongoing advisory basis. He also has extensive experience with the SEC rules governing executive compensation disclosure and the tax rules imposing limits on the deductibility of executive compensation.

Alessandra K. Murata, Partner
Goodwin Procter, Menlo Park, Calif.

Ms. Murata’s practice focuses on advising public and private companies, boards, private equity clients, asset managers and members of management on executive compensation and benefits issues arising in the context of mergers, acquisitions, initial public offerings and other extraordinary corporate events, including private equity and leveraged buyout transactions.

Ian L. Levin, Partner
Schulte Roth & Zabel, New York

Mr. Levin’s practice concentrates on executive compensation and employee benefits, with a focus on the employee benefit aspects of M&As and issues arising from the investment of pension plan assets. He represents both executives and companies with respect to the negotiation and drafting of executive employment agreements and advises as to the design and establishment of virtually all types of employee benefit arrangements. He also advises clients on fiduciary and plan asset requirements of ERISA.


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Program Materials

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Program Materials

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CLE Credits

Many states grant CLE credits for on-demand streaming audio programs and recorded events. Our programs are pre-approved in many states. Refer to our state CLE map for state-specific information.

Customer Reviews

I appreciated the speakers' extensive knowledge on the subject.

Amanda Gerstnecker

Meyer, Unkovic & Scott

Good materials plus well prepared presenters and a good level of detail.

John H. Merkle

Fredrikson & Byron

Strafford's on-line session was easy to attend and the topic was timely.

Jessica Lermond

Chartis Claims

The seminar reinforced information and explained issues in a clear manner without being either too elementary or too technical.

Mary Bowden

SC&H Group

The program covered topics that are of significant concern to many of my clients and I enjoyed the good discussion of the case law supporting the various points made.

Larry Crabtree

King & Ballow

Employment & ERISA Advisory Board

Susan E. Bernstein

Special Counsel

Schulte Roth & Zabel

Judith (Jude) Biggs


Holland & Hart

Joshua Davis


Goulston & Storrs

Barbara E. Hoey


Kelley Drye

Jeffrey Hollingsworth


Perkins Coie

Diana L. Hoover


Hoover Kernell

Paul J. Kennedy


Littler Mendelson

Marcia Nelson Jackson


Wick Phillips

William C. Martucci


Shook Hardy & Bacon

Laura Foote Reiff


Greenberg Traurig

Eugene Scalia


Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

Peter Steinmeyer


Epstein Becker & Green

Teresa R. Tracy


Freeman Freeman Smiley

Todd D. Wozniak


Greenberg Traurig

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