Jeff Mattson


[email protected]

Phone: (312) 360-6312

Fax: (312) 360-6520

"If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter." - Blaise Pascal


"The practice of M&A and corporate law provides repeated opportunities to cut through complex issues for our clients. At Freeborn, we display our core value of effectiveness every day, by explaining complex issues - ranging from deal structure to tax effects to indemnification to closing risk - in clear and concise terms."



Jeff Mattson is a Partner, Co-Leader of the Firm's Corporate Practice Group, and Chair of the Firm's M&A Team.

Jeff represents private companies, private equity funds, family offices and public companies in mergers and acquisitions, entity formation, private placements and other general corporate matters. He serves clients in a broad range of industries, including retail, food and beverage, insurance, chemicals, transportation, healthcare, manufacturing and service businesses. In his career, Jeff has developed extensive M&A experience, closing over 350 M&A transactions. Approximately 50 of such M&A transactions have been Section 363 sales under the Bankruptcy Code, assignments for the benefit of creditors, or other distressed transactions. He also advises companies on private placements, start-ups, equity compensation and joint ventures.

Before joining Freeborn, Jeff was Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Gerald Stevens, Inc., a start-up retail company that was listed on NASDAQ. He previously served as Securities Counsel for NYSE-listed W. R. Grace & Co.

Representative Matters

Representative Matters

  • Sale of a software application development business, based in India and the U.S., to a U.S. competitor.

  • Sale of a distributor of specialized tools to a public company with a competing business (seven years after representing the ownership group in its acquisition of this distribution business).

  • Represented a printing business in the purchase of a printing facility from one of its competitors.

  • Sale of partners’ interests in a food ingredients brokerage business to the remaining partner.

  • Sale of a health care data analytics company to a public company competitor.

  • Represented a start-up internet service provider in multiple acquisitions as part of its roll-up strategy.

  • Sale of a consumer goods brokerage services provider to one of its competitors.

  • Sale of a leading manufacturer of nurse call stations to a diversified public company.

  • Represented a manufacturer and distributor of aircraft parts in the acquisition of a legacy aircraft parts business from an aircraft engine manufacturer.

  • Represented a professional partnership in the sale of two of its divisions.

  • Represented a family office in the sale of its successful start-up in the Illinois video gambling industry.

  • Represented a London-headquartered public company in a combined stock and asset purchase of four corrugated packaging facilities in Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

  • Represented an Oregon-based manufacturer of audio and video equipment in a sale to a large family office.

  • Served as U.S. counsel for a London-based company in connection with the sale of a division that manufactures and distributes aircraft equipment in the U.S. and in Europe.

  • Sale of a manufacturer of high-performance automotive parts to a private equity firm.

  • Sale of a minority interest in a franchisor of fresh fruit bouquet retail stores to a private equity fund.

  • Represented multiple management groups involved in sales of portfolio companies from one private equity firm to another private equity firm, including sales of a leading supplier of mobile storage solutions, a manufacturer of snack products, a manufacturer of coatings for the printing industry and a provider of boiler room products and systems.

  • Represented a private equity fund in the sale of a leading provider of vehicle service contracts.

  • Represented a national fast-casual restaurant franchise in the sale of a minority interest to a San Francisco-based private equity firm.

  • Represented a Chicago-based private equity firm in connection with its financing and acquisition of a leading American precious metal dealer.

  • Represented a Chicago-based private equity firm in connection with the financing and platform acquisition of a leading provider of outsourced electronics repair service programs.

  • Numerous sales under Section 363 of the US Bankruptcy Code, including the sale of a telecommunications company that was named “Large Transaction of the Year” by the Chicago/Midwest Chapter of the Turnaround Management Association.

  • Acted as lead counsel for a Class 1 Railroad in connection with the $380 million acquisition of three railroads and a vessel transportation company.

  • Sale of a Midwest-based specialty chemical business to a private equity fund.

  • Sale of a family-owned packaging business to a strategic buyer.

  • Represented a Chicago-based mezzanine fund and New England steel company in connection with the sale of substantially all of such company’s assets to a publicly traded strategic buyer.

Honors & Awards

Honors & Awards

  • Martindale-Hubbell legal ability/ethical standards rating (“A-V”) - Highest possible rating
  • Illinois Leading Lawyers - 2020 (cited in multiple years)

Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Association for Corporate Growth (ACG)
  • Illinois Venture Capital Association

Speaking Engagements

  • Presenter, “Selling a Middle-Market Business to a Private Equity Fund - Advice from Both Sides of the Table,” Chicago Bar Association’s Business Transactions Committee (March 4, 2021).
  • Presenter, "M&A 101: Legal Issues in the Sale of a Business," National Assocition of Presort Mailers 2019 Annual Conference (February 2019).
  • Co-presenter, "Drafting and Negotiation of Executive Employment Agreements," Chicago Bar Association (April 2015).
  • Presenter, "When to Consider a Private Equity Deal and How to Make It Work," Webinar (June 2013). 
  • Presenter, "What’s the Deal? Managing Merger and Acquisition Risk,” Marsh's Academy of Risk (October 2010).
  • Presenter, "Distressed M&A: Trends in 2010," (February 2010).
  • Presenter, "Role of the CFO," Heartland Angels (November 2009).