Iron-catalyzed ortho C−H arylation and methylation reactions of pivalophenone N−H imines are reported. The pivaloyl N−H imine proved an excellent directing group for the arylation with diarylzinc reagents in the presence of an iron-diphosphine catalyst and 2,3-dichlorobutane at room temperature. A similar catalytic system also allowed methylation with Me3Al at 70 °C. The pivaloyl imine of the product could be readily converted to a cyano group, thus allowing convenient preparation of ortho-functionalized benzonitriles.
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