O’Melveny Worldwide

John Laco is a seasoned corporate lawyer with 30 years of experience advising public and private companies and financial investors.

He works with some of the best-known Southern California companies global private equity and institutional investors along the full investment cycle, from negotiating initial investments and acquisitions to subsequent tack-on acquisitions, financings, and portfolio company growth counseling.

John is also a boardroom level counselor who provides C-level executives, in-house counsel, and boards of directors with experienced corporate advice on fiduciary duties, corporate structuring, stockholder agreements, complex commercial arrangements and transformative strategic undertakings.

He offers deep knowledge of business and legal issues in the manufacturing, retail, infrastructure, agriculture, aerospace, and technology sectors, and is a founding member of O’Melveny’s Water Industry Practice.

John leads O’Melveny’s Equity Investment Committee, an internal group managing the investment of more than US$180 million of the firm’s retirement funds. He is the Chair of the O’Melveny Scholarship Program, which provides college scholarships and mentors to fifth graders at LAUSD’s O’Melveny Elementary School, with the goal of encouraging each “O’Melveny Scholar” to succeed academically and pursue a college education.

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  • Representing Guess?, Inc. in general corporate matters, board advice, complex commercial arrangements, mergers, acquisitions and other strategic transactions and securities law matters
  • Representing the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board in connection with portfolio company investment and disposition transactions, including the acquisition of Broetje Apple Orchards and Woodspur Farming, the NYSE initial public offering of GNC and private equity transactions, including multiple late stage venture and growth investments for Teachers’ Innovations Platform
  • Representing a high-net worth family business in complex commercial arrangements
  • Representing Mitsui USA in multiple portfolio company investment transactions
  • Representing Panavision in general corporate matters, board advice, acquisitions and recapitalization transactions
  • Representing Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners in acquisitions and complex commercial arrangements
  • Representing LaGuardia Gateway Partners LLC in general corporate matters, board advice, and complex commercial arrangements with respect to the revitalization of New York’s LaGuardia Airport
  • Representing Renewable Resources Group in portfolio company investments and dispositions, complex commercial arrangements and water law transactions
  • Representing Sun World International in the sale of its table grape business to Famous Vineyards
  • Representing A&S Glass Fabrics (dba Fabri Cote) in its acquisition by Fenner Precision Polymers, a division of the Michelin Group
  • Representing Vance Street Capital in portfolio company investments, including the acquisition of R.S.T. Instruments Ltd., and multiple add-on acquisitions
  • Representing First State Investments in its investment in the Rialto Bioenergy Facility and other complex commercial arrangements
  • Representing Global Infrastructure Solutions Inc. in its formation, equity capitalization and the leveraged management buyout of Structure Tone and related companies, in addition to representing GIS in other acquisition transactions and general corporate matters
  • Representing Carros Sensors Ltd., a portfolio company of The Carlyle Group, PAI Partners, and Schneider Electric, in the sale of BEI Precision Systems & Space Company, Inc., and Systron Donner Inertial, Inc., as well as other disposition transactions and general corporate matters
  • Representing a high-net worth family in a complex divisive reorganization of a family business
  • Representing California Resources Corporation in water law transactions and issues
  • Representing Plasticolor in general corporate matters and mergers and acquisitions
  • Representing Brookfield Asset Management in private equity transactions, including its acquisition of a 49% equity interest in the TraPac port terminal operations at the Port of Los Angeles from MOL
  • Representing a sovereign wealth fund in agriculture investments in the United States
  • Representing Colony Capital in private equity transactions
  • Representing Macquarie Infrastructure Partners in its acquisition of a 49% stake in NYK Ports LLC, operator of the Yusen Terminals in the Port of Los Angeles, from Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha
  • Representing Mitsubishi Corporation in multiple portfolio company investment and disposition transactions
  • Representing MacSteel Global B.V. in the sale of its U.S. operations, MacSteel Service Centers USA, to Klöckner USA, a subsidiary of Klöckner & Co SE
  • Representing Willdan Group, Inc. in general corporate matters, board advice, and acquisition matters, including the acquisition of publicly traded Lime Energy Company
  • Representing Crescent Capital in portfolio company investment and recapitalization transactions
  • Counseling Rosendin Holdings, Inc. in general corporate matters, board advice and legal structure, and stockholder matters
  • Representing Global Communication Semiconductors in a California recapitalization preceding reincorporation into the Cayman Islands
  • Representing Beachpoint Capital in portfolio company investments, complex commercial arrangements and recapitalization transactions
  • Representing American Capital, Ltd. in dozens of leveraged buy-out investments, portfolio company dispositions, portfolio company “add-on” acquisitions and recapitalization transactions, including sales of Axygen BioScience to Corning, Fleischmann’s Vinegar Company to RLJ Capital, and United Food Group to The Yucaipa Companies
  • Representing Castle & Cooke in the acquisition of Inland Cold Storage
  • Representing DIRECTV in the acquisition of 180 Connect, Inc.
  • Representing management of Elo Touch Solutions in connection with its sale by The Gores Group to funds managed by Crestview Partners
  • Representing an electric automobile manufacturer in a successful California fairness hearing and rescission offer, and merger transactions
  • Counseling the Special Committee of the Board of a NASDAQ listed company in connection with “interested party” transactions
  • Representing private companies in multiple strategic acquisition transaction acquisitions

International Experience

  • John has substantial experience working on international mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures, in both Asia and Europe.


Bar Admissions

  • California


  • Loyola Marymount University, J.D., 1992: Loyola Law Review, Editor and Staff Member; Order of the Coif; American Jurisprudence Award, Torts/Legal Writing
  • University of Notre Dame, B.S.E.E., 1987
  • Lead Engineer/Manager, Northrop, Reliability Engineering Group, 1987-1989

Honors & Awards

  • Named a “Super Lawyer” in a survey conducted by Law & Politics Media Inc. and published in Los Angeles Magazine (2014-2015)
  • Recognized as a leading lawyer for private equity buyouts by The Legal 500 United States (2010-2011)
  • Recognized as a leading lawyer for private equity by the International Financial Law Review 1000 (2011)

Professional Activities


  • “Preparing to Go Public” and “What is Going Private?” chapters for Handbook for Corporate Officers and Directors, RR Donnelley Financial 


  • Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce


  • “Water Utility Perspective: Developing Advanced Data Sharing and Analytics,” Establishing a Cloud-Based Water and Energy Data Platform Workshop (June 2016)