Early in his career, before attending law school at the University of Minnesota, attorney Ryan Hoch earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and spent a year working for the CPA firm Arthur Andersen & Co. It was good preparation for his current role leading the energy division legal team at CHS, a global, diversified agribusiness with about 11,000 employees.
He is also the lead attorney for CHS’ mergers and acquisitions, in agribusiness, energy and financial services around the world. One significant, recent deal he handled was the $70 million sale of 33 convenience stores to Houston-based Par Pacific Holdings.
Regarding mergers and acquisitions, Hoch said the major challenge is typically “handling all of the moving parts, being able to understand each business you are buying or selling and what are the specific complexities with those businesses, especially as you are drafting documents, and reviewing due diligence with them.
“In negotiating, you need to understand the business you’re looking at, what your client wants to get out of the transaction and structuring it to their advantage.”
During his time at the company, he’s also helped oversee legal matters on a number of large facility projects, including one $400 million upgrade project. He’s handled a number of other M&A deals and infrastructure projects in the $100 million-plus category, including critical transportation infrastructure and M&A transactions in the agriculture, energy and financial services industries around the world.
Since joining CHS in 2006, Hoch considers one of his most significant accomplishment to be assembling the firm’s energy division legal team, which had been decentralized, and establishing a strong relationship with the energy business leadership.
“Energy projects were spread among various attorneys across the company. We want to have a consistent legal voice across CHS’ entire energy business.” That includes refineries producing a number of products, like lubricants and propane, and one of the nation’s largest private trucking fleets.
Hoch’s pro bono activities include serving on the board of the Association of Corporate Counsel, and volunteering with Legal Corps, providing free legal advice to low income people. “I get to work directly with clients, many of them who are just starting businesses, and help them fulfill their dreams.”
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