If there’s anyone who knows the ins and outs of mergers and acquisitions, it’s Michael Hollingsworth. They’ve been his focus since he began practicing in 1996, after earning his LLM in tax from the University of Alabama’s School of Law. Today, he’s a managing partner and the co-chair of M&A at Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough, serving business clients throughout the United States. He’s been in the role for over 16 years now, and it seems each year he’s brought in more M&A transactions than the last. This past year was their biggest ever, with 206 closed transactions with an aggregate consideration of $15.5 billion. And while M&A is still his foremost, and favorite, responsibility, he wears a lot of hats at Nelson Mullins.
Most of his M&A clients are middle-market PE-backed companies in the fields of health care, technology, manufacturing and distribution, and business services, along with PE firms themselves. Currently, and thanks to Michael’s sharp expertise, Nelson Mullins conducts more deals on a volume basis than any other group in the southeastern U.S., a huge differentiator in the market. “Our secret sauce is that we’re viewed in the marketplace as very practical and businesslike in our approach. It sounds simple, but it’s one of the reasons we get business.” That approach is also why Michael has been ranked among the top lawyers in the country, including Georgia Trend's Georgia’s Most Effective Lawyers, the International Who's Who of Mergers & Acquisitions Lawyers, and as one of the 84 most client-oriented attorneys in the country in M&A by BTI Consulting, among many more. He’s also been named to the Atlanta 500 in Atlanta Magazine from 2018 through 2021, and one of the Most Admired CEOs in Atlanta Business Journal. In addition, Michael is on the board of the Woodruff Art Center in Atlanta and was awarded the Pearl Award from the Circle of Friends/Living Water for Girls Organization.
Besides driving business, Michael has also been instrumental in growing Nelson Mullins itself. When he joined in 2006, there were 380 lawyers, and today there are 930, nearly triple the amount from when he started, with 150 people joining the M&A team alone. Michael attributes this incredible growth to the entrepreneurial spirit of the firm, which allows a lot of autonomy for its attorneys, as well as their consistent financial growth. In just the first two months of 2022, they’ve managed to open five new markets.
It’s not just his own firm Michael likes to see grow, though. “One of the things I like about working with middle-market clients is helping them manage their business a bit more easily,” he says. “I get satisfaction out of strategizing with entrepreneurs to help them grow their companies. It’s the personal connection, and it’s getting to see the direct results of helping them achieve their goals.”
Managing Partner, Co-Chair Mergers & Acquisitions
Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough
Click on the magazine to download a copy.