Mary Kate Hogan – Xplor Technologies
Shifting from private practice to an in-house legal role at Clearent in 2020 opened new areas of practice for Mary Kate Hogan.
Though she’d enjoyed working with a variety of clients and supporting M&A and had a passion for corporate law, she discovered working in-house provides more opportunities, including the chance to know her client better and have a role in business operations.
Hogan initially focused on contracts and compliance with Clearent, which provided payment processing services including integrated payment solutions and software as a solution, or SaaS, products. Then, she was called on to help the company merge with Transaction Services Group.
The combined companies—now called Xplor Technologies—have since broadened their services, crossing oceans and continents as they grow.
“I’ve based my career around doing the right thing. It’s interesting, stimulating and important to reach decisions and conclusions that are good for everyone,” Hogan says. “It’s always best to take a product, service, or relationship and figure out how to make the pie bigger instead of squabbling over who gets what.”
The 2021 merger was slightly different from typical M&A as Clearent and TSG were both subsidiaries of Advent International. As well as operating on different continents, Clearent and TSG specialized in payment processing and software solutions for different niches, too.
Clearent, founded in 2005 and acquired by Advent International in 2018, focused on providing payment processing services to small and medium-sized companies and software solutions to businesses offering field services, such as HVAC, maintenance, lawncare and cleaning. It also focused on personal services, such as dry cleaning.
TSG, founded in 1994 and acquired by Advent International in 2019, focused its software solutions in areas including childcare, education, fitness and well-being, such as boutique fitness centers. Now, Xplor Technologies serves more than 78,000 businesses in 140 countries while processing more than $31 billion in payments.
Hogan brought M&A experience to Clearent, albeit as an outside counsel working with clients in private practice.
“It was one of the first times I’ve had intimate internal knowledge of the company as opposed to just knowledge of the markets it serves and the M&A market generally,” Hogan says. “The most challenging part of this merger was the international breadth of the deal.”
Hogan’s role in the M&A process included working with Clearent’s business units to assess risk in the merger, and she learned that while Clearent and TSG offer similar services, the regulatory environments between the U.S. and Europe, Asia and Australia are quite different.
For instance, Clearent (and now Xplor Technologies’ North America services) use a standard U.S. model of having a partner bank that registers with the credit card networks while also being subject to federal and state banking and finance regulations.
In Europe, the company works more directly with regulators for compliance and is also subject to data and privacy rules in the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations.
Hogan also ensured that the Clearent and TSG restructurings in connection with the merger worked efficiently in the differing tax structures in the U.S. and overseas.
With the merger complete, Hogan says she’s now part of the team responsible for the onboarding and integration of Clearent and TSG’s operations in North America. This includes advising on HR matters, negotiating real estate leases, reviewing marketing pieces and communications, and drafting and vetting contracts. Hogan will also advise any upcoming U.S.-based M&A.
A corporate calling
Born in St. Louis, Hogan says she always wanted to become a lawyer because she loves reading, arguing and negotiating. In fact, her older siblings weren’t always fond of her negotiating abilities because she was able to talk her way out of punishments and obligations they hadn’t been able to.
Hogan earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Southern California in 2010 while minoring in peace and conflict studies and environmental studies.
She then switched coasts for law school, earning her J.D. from New York University School of Law in 2013. While there, Hogan also served as a research assistant for Professor Helen Hershkoff on the Wright & Miller Federal Practice and Procedure Treatise, which covers federal civil, criminal and appellate procedure.
While she recalls law school focusing on litigation, Hogan says she knew she wanted to work in corporate law throughout her time at NYU. After graduation, she joined the firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher—where she’d been a summer associate in 2012—as an associate. In February 2016, Hogan returned to her hometown of St. Louis to become an associate with the firm of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner.
“I moved back to St. Louis because my family is here,” Hogan says, adding she enjoys catching the St. Louis Blues of the NHL with her father. She also loves reading even after doing it all day for work, preferring mysteries and fiction in her leisure time. Hogan has also taken up boxing workouts, which she says is both mentally and physically stimulating.
“You have to think so much you forget about how miserable you feel,” she jokes.
She joined what was then Clearent in January 2020, and though it’s been a hectic two years, Hogan says coming in-house has been rewarding because she can work with all the Xplor Technologies business units and see projects and initiatives through.
“I’m impressed by how hard everyone works,” Hogan says. “I work with people who are passionate about what they do and who are also always trying to do the right thing. I can be there to help anticipate and solve problems, but I’m not putting out fires every day, either.”
View this feature in the Vanguard Spring IV 2022 Edition here.
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