Merger and acquisition activity in the third quarter continued at a relatively brisk pace in Q3 as tech companies drove consolidation. But while the deals helped lined the pockets of Silicon Valley investors, executives and engineers, the wave of deal activity has also been a boon for one of New York's most prolific law firms.
The technology sector continued to see vigorous M&A activity in the third quarter, with 51 deals of $100 million or more announced, according to Dealogic. That was good news for a number of law firms, though the biggest winner may well have been Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz even though the New York firm does not have an office in Silicon Valley.
Wachtell's Mark Gordon advised Analog Devices (ADI) on its $14.8 billion agreement to combine with Linear Technology (LLTC) , while Andrew Brownstein and Benjamin Roth represented Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) on its $8.8 billion deal to sell non-core software assets to Micro Focus International (MCRO) . Brownstein and Roth helped Hewlett-Packard Co. on its split last year into HP Enterprise and HP (HPQ) .
The firm, which ranked No. 4 on The Deal's third quarter M&A league tables, also landed a role in the highest-profile tech deal of the quarter, if not the richest. Martin Lipton, Daniel Neff and Steven Rosenblum represented Verizon Communications (VZ) on its $4.83 billion agreement to buy Yahoo!'s (YHOO) operating businesses. Wachtell had advised the telecom giant on its $130 billion purchase of the 45% interest in Verizon Wireless owned by Vodafone (VOD) in 2014.
The Yahoo! deal was a feeding frenzy for lawyers. Rashida La Lande and Daniel Angel of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher (Ranked No. 8 on The Deal's list) represented the buyer on intellectual property and technology transactions issues, while Thomas Barnett, Miranda Cole and James O'Connell of Covington & Burling were antitrust counsel and Winston & Strawn's Scott Landau handled employee benefits and executive compensation matters.
The target tapped Marc Packer, Michael Mies and Michael Hoffman of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (No. 1), which had worked for Yahoo! for many years and helped it fend off a $45 billion hostile bid from Microsoft (MSFT) in 2008. Silicon Valley consigliere Larry Sonsini of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (No. 12) also advised the target, while Karen Ballack of Weil Gotshal & Manges (No. 3) worked on on intellectual property matters. A special committee of Yahoo independent directors used Faiza Saeed and Eric Schiele of Cravath, Swaine & Moore (No. 13). Saeed was chosen as the next presiding partner at Cravath just a few weeks before Verizon and Yahoo! signed their agreement, which is now under pressure thanks to an email hack at Yahoo!.
Wilson advised two longtime clients on their sales. Martin Korman, Bradley Finkelstein and Douglas Schnell represented Rackspace Hosting (RAX) on its $4.3 billion agreement to sell to Apollo Global Management (APO) and Searchlight Capital Partners, while Larry Sonsini, Korman and Finkelstein counseled NetSuite (N) on its agreement to sell to Oracle (ORCL) Wilson's Steve Bochner was lead issuer counsel on Rackspace's 2008 IPO, while Jeffrey Saper advised NetSuite on its 2007 IPO.
And Daniel Mitz, a partner at Jones Day (No. 6) in Palo Alto who practiced at Wilson before moving to Sun Microsystems Inc. in 2002, printed two big semiconductor deals in the third quarter. He advised Linear on the Analog deal and Intersil (ISIL) on its $3.2 billion agreement to sell to Renesas Electronics Corp., a Japanese chip company.
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