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  1. M&A: large deals ($1bn+)
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Despite its relatively small size compared to its tier one competitors, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP has a tremendous record in high-profile and complex deals, including transactions for existing and new clients. The M&A practice attracts an impressive number of deals, both at a domestic and international level, and across a variety of industries. Despite not having an extensive international network (its only offices are in New York and London), it continues to work on a multitude of cross-border deals. In 2017, it advised Johnson & Johnson on its $30bn acquisition of Switzerland-based Actelion, a deal which involved Actelion spinning-off its drug discovery operations and early-stage clinical development assets into Idorsia, a newly created Swiss biopharmaceutical company; this was the largest transaction in Johnson & Johnson’s history. The firm continued to advise British American Tobacco on its landmark $97bn merger with Reynolds American, through the acquisition of the remaining 58% stake in the company. In other headline matters, it advised Unilever on the $143bn unsolicited offer from The Kraft Heinz Company to acquire the company; the proposal was subsequently withdrawn. It was also engaged by The Linde Group to advise on its pending $70bn merger of equals with Praxair. The firm’s ‘level of service is exceptional’ and it is ‘a cut above the rest’, according to one client. It ‘tailors guidance appropriately towards lawyers, executives and boards’ and ‘knows the law and business and how the two interact better than anyone’. The firm is awash with senior-level talent, including ‘phenomenal lawyer’ and presiding partner Faiza Saeed, Mark Greene, Richard Hall, Robert Townsend and Damien Zoubek, who ‘commands respect from a room’ and is ‘a real force in driving outcomes both legally and commercially’. George Schoen is an emerging name, having impressed with deals for major clients such as IBM. Thomas Dunn has ‘exceptional judgment’ and Erik Tavzel is also increasingly prominent, and Ting Chen, Aaron Gruber and Keith Hallam are among the next generation of top talent. Eric Schiele moved to Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

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A member of Wall Street’s elite law firms, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is routinely engaged in large-cap, headline-grabbing transactions. The firm consistently makes the upper ranks of US and global M&A league tables by value, and the firm estimates that its market share of US M&A since 2012 is over 20%. The team has ‘great lawyers’ that are ‘really smart’. It remains notable for its record in Asia-related transactions, having advised Syngenta on its $43bn acquisition by ChemChina, the Chinese state-owned chemical company, which completed in 2017. Inbound deals are a real forte of the firm, which leverages its expertise in finance, tax, executive compensation, antitrust and regulatory issues, including Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) matters. In another headline deal to close in 2017, it represented Baker Hughes in its $25bn combination with GE’s oil and gas business, a transaction that involved a partnership structure that enabled the two businesses to pool their operating assets into a new publicly listed partnership. In other large-cap transactions, it advised Emerson on its $29bn unsolicited proposal to acquire all the outstanding shares of Rockwell Automation, the industrial automation and information company. Moreover, it represented Reckitt Benckiser in its $17.9bn acquisition of Mead Johnson Nutrition. Other clients include Aetna, AstraZeneca, Comcast, ExxonMobil, Heineken, Lockheed Martin, MasterCard, PepsiCo, Roche and Shire. Global chairman of the M&A group George Bason earns the respect of peers and clients alike; William Aaronson and Louis Goldberg are global co-heads of the practice and the latter has a notable record in financial services M&A transactions. John Bick, Leonard Kreynin, Michael Davis, Oliver Smith and private equity expert John Amorosi are also recommended. All named partners are based in New York.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP maintained strong levels of activity in both strategic M&A and private equity buyouts in 2017. The firm sets the benchmark in private equity, thanks to key relationships with the likes of Blackstone and KKR, and it frequently leans on private equity deal technology and related expertise in its wider M&A practice. Operating across all industries, it has particular strength in financial services, utilities, industrials and manufacturing, retail, real estate, healthcare and technology. Clients highlight the team for its ‘first-rate’ expertise in ‘large M&A and strategic investment transactions with public companies’, and it continues to advise Microsoft on many of its major transactions. The department is also praised for its ‘great analytical skills, practical advice and timely delivery’, and ‘combination of skill and efficiency’. The firm’s strength in lender and borrower finance is a key asset, as is its abilities in tax, antitrust and employee benefits. Other clients include Best Buy, Hilton Worldwide, L-3 Communications, Mars, Melrose Industries and Walgreens Boots Alliance. In 2017, it advised ChemChina on its $43bn acquisition of Syngenta, the Swiss agrochemical and seeds company; this was the largest foreign acquisition by a Chinese company. The transaction involved in-depth CFIUS issues, antitrust filings in multiple jurisdictions and debt financings from London and Hong Kong. The firm also represented Invitation Homes in its $20bn merger of equals with Starwood Waypoint Homes; it had advised Invitation Homes ever since it was formed by Blackstone in 2012. Key partners include Alan Klein, who has ‘invaluable experience’ stemming from ‘a long career of advising on complex M&A transactions, particularly with international components’. Mario Ponce is another pivotal member of the team and Lee Meyerson is recommended for financial services sector transactions. Eric Swedenburg has ‘a great client base’ and ‘a solid backbone of experience’ and young partner Anthony Vernace ‘brings very strong project management skills, great judgment and a practicality to solving thorny issues’. Brian Stadler is the key name for real estate and REIT deals and William Curbow is one of the team’s more experienced members. Above-named attorneys are based in New York.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is a giant in US and global M&A, leveraging its strength in New York, Chicago, Boston, Houston, California and other offices around the US and the world. While being a major player in New York, it is also one of the dominant forces on the West Coast, with an immense record in large-cap M&A involving tech and other California-based companies. Like many of its Wall Street competitors, the firm typically has a high proportion of $1bn-plus deals that involve US corporations or US assets. It is also highly reputed for its expertise in takeover and activist defense work. Among a series of headline M&A deals in 2017, it advised Rockwell Collins on its $30bn acquisition by United Technologies. It also represented Gilead Sciences in its $11.9bn acquisition of Kite Pharma and assisted Intel with its $15.3bn acquisition of Mobileye. Further illustrating its expertise in cross-border deals, it advised WeWork Companies on its $4.4bn investment from SoftBank Group (Japan) and SoftBank Vision Fund (United Kingdom). Key partners include Stephen Arcano, Eileen Nugent, Howard Ellin, Peter Atkins, of counsel Lou Kling, who continues to impress in public M&A, and Chicago-based Charles Mulaney. Richard Grossman is a market leader in takeover and activist defense work, while Paul Schnell is recommended by clients for cross-border deals, including those involving Latin America. Palo Alto-based Kenton King is a dominant force on the West Coast, especially in the technology sector. Allison Schneirov is recommended for strategic M&A and private equity buyouts. Individuals are New York based unless stated otherwise.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP has a hugely impressive market share of marquee and transformational deals, and has a large number of senior dealmakers as well as an impressive pipeline of younger talent. The firm delivers ‘unsurpassed responsiveness, first-class advice and a deep bench on high judgment issues’. Eschewing growth through lateral hires, it has nurtured a cohesive group that has the benefit of decades of shared experience. For many clients, this makes the firm ‘top of class’ and ‘extraordinary’, with an ‘unrivalled depth of expertise in cross-border transactions’. With a large proportion of clients based outside of the US, the firm is consistently at the forefront of cross-border and multi-jurisdictional deals. It advised Praxair on its $73bn pending merger of equals with Linde, a deal involving US and German law and an all-stock merger leading to the creation of a new holding company incorporated in Ireland. In another headline deal, it advised Amazon.com on its $13.7bn acquisition of Whole Foods Market. Other clients include AT&T, Enbridge, Philips, United Rentals, Diageo, Delta Airlines and Nike. Managing partner of the M&A group Joseph Frumkin continues to be at the forefront of the market, including in energy and utilities, along with Francis Aquila and the ‘razor sharpAlison Ressler in Los Angeles. Keith Pagnani has made a big impression on the market thanks to a series of headline engagements, including the Praxair transaction; one client says he ‘brings demonstrable leadership to the negotiating table by combining business acumen and understanding of our industry with a very pragmatic, results-oriented approach’. Matthew Hurd is a major force in healthcare and life sciences deals, and George Sampas is noted for natural resources transactions. Eric Krautheimer is ‘a real M&A pro’, a ‘go-to lawyer’ who is ‘smart’ and ‘gets the deal done quickly’. Melissa Sawyer is another emerging talent along with Krishna Veeraraghavan, who is ‘one of the most intelligent attorneys’, ‘practical’ and ‘savvy’ according to one client. Named partners are New York based unless stated otherwise.

Universally acclaimed as a domestic and global leader in M&A, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz remains at the forefront of $1bn-plus transactions from its sole office in New York. The firm, which is ‘in a class of its own’ in M&A, continues to attract a sizable market share of large-cap deals, takeover and activist defense work, proxy contests and special committee engagements. In 2017, it advised United Technologies on its $30.3bn acquisition of Rockwell Collins and represented Whole Foods Market in its $13.7bn acquisition by Amazon.com. Founding partner Martin Lipton continues to be at the forefront of technically challenging and transformational deals involving US corporations. The ‘standoutAdam Emmerich is a ‘fantastic lawyer’, as are David Katz, Steven Rosenblum and Andrew Nussbaum. Edward Herlihy, Daniel Neff, Andrew Brownstein and Igor Kirman are also formidable practitioners.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is building market share in the $1bn-plus deal segment. The firm has ‘great lawyers’ and is consistently praised for ‘entrenching itself in cross-border deals’, but it also has a fast-growing profile in domestic transactions. Now active across all key industries, it is especially notable for its market share of financial services and technology deals, and for a firm with no West Coast office it has a huge market share of deals on behalf of Silicon Valley tech firms, such as Google/Alphabet. Moreover, the firm’s unparalleled global standing in antitrust makes it a preferred firm for corporates that have an especially strong or dominant market share. Clients include Clariant, Henkel, Verizon Communications, Vale, General Motors, Stanley Black & Decker and 3M. The firm recently advised Google on its $1.1bn acquisition of part of HTC’s mobile division, which involved the transfer of thousands of HTC employees to Google and a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property. The firm’s record in technology M&A has helped it build formidable experience in employee retention and tax structuring. In another headline deal, it advised Clariant on its proposed $20bn merger of equals with Huntsman Corporation. Ethan Klingsberg has impressed in a string of deals for Alphabet/Google as well as other tech clients, and assisted Keysight Technologies with its $1.6bn all-cash takeover of Ixia. Glenn McGrory is building his profile in both domestic and cross-border deals, while senior name Victor Lewkow provides further gravitas and experience in complex transactions. Benet O’Reilly, Matthew Salerno, Neil Whoriskey, Christopher Austin and Paul Shim are also recommended. All named partners are based in New York.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP has invested heavily in its M&A practice over the last decade and recently welcomed Eric Schiele from Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. Clients now point to the ‘extremely high availability and deep bench’ at a firm that has ‘expanded its presence’ in key locations such as Houston, where ‘very strong lawyerAndrew Calder is at the forefront of energy M&A and private equity. Calder led the team that advised Energy Future Holdings on its $18.8bn sale to a newly formed subsidiary of Sempra Energy, which included its 80% indirect interest in Oncor Electric Delivery. The firm has a consistent pipeline of significant strategic M&A deals as well as takeover and activist defense engagements. In 2017, it advised Amsterdam-based AkzoNobel on its successful takeover defense against PPG’s $29.5bn merger proposal; this work included the successful defense against Elliott Management’s attempt to remove Antony Burgmans as chairman of AkzoNobel. In another marquee matter, it advised Huntsman Corporation on its $20bn all-stock merger of equals with Clariant. The firm’s ambitious lateral recruitment strategy continues to pay dividends with Jonathan Davis, a 2016 hire from Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, advising Mead Johnson Nutrition on its $17.9bn acquisition by UK-headquartered Reckitt Benckiser Group, one of the largest UK to US transactions in history. David Fox operates at the top of the market, as do Daniel Wolf, Sarkis Jebejian, David Feirstein, Peter Martelli and William Sorabella. Chicago-based Scott Falk is ‘a truly effective advocate’ who is ‘very effective at guiding the deal to meet the greater corporate goal’. Dean Shulman provides tax advice on M&A transactions and Washington DC’s Mario Mancuso is a formidable CFIUS specialist. Attorneys are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

For a firm that did not originate in New York, Latham & Watkins LLP has an incredibly impressive profile in what is the key deal hub for the US and in many ways the world. It also has considerable M&A strength in other major US cities and across its impressive international network. Domestically, its strength on the West Coast is especially notable, particularly in semiconductor and life science industry deals, and it also has considerable strength in Chicago and in Houston. Internationally, it has invested heavily in building up its strength in Europe and Asia. This has positioned the firm as a go to for large-cap domestic and cross-border deals, and clients include the likes of Siemens, Broadcom, Virgin America, Emerson Electric, Anadarko Petroleum, Energy Transfer Partners and ICU Medical. The firm advised Siemens on its $4.5bn acquisition of Mentor Graphics and represented Virgin America in its $4.43bn reverse triangular merger with Alaska Air Group. The Silicon Valley office continued to lead the advice to Broadcom on its $5.9bn acquisition of Brocade Communications Systems, the fiber channel storage area network switching and IP networking company. And a multi-jurisdictional team continued to advise FMC Technologies on its $13bn cross-border merger of equals with French company Technip. New York’s David Allinson leads the M&A department along with Chicago-based ‘great M&A attorneyBradley Faris and Luke Bergstrom in Silicon Valley. Orange County’s Charles Ruck is a leader in big-ticket pharmaceuticals and life sciences deals. New York’s Mark Gerstein is another class act, as are fellow New York partners Adel Aslani-Far and Ted Sonnenschein, and William Finnegan in Houston, who recently advised Energy Transfer Partners on its $21.3bn sale to Sunoco Logistics Partners. Peter Harwich joined from Allen & Overy LLP in September 2017.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP continues to increase its market share of large-cap, headline-making transactions and has steadily transitioned from a ‘sometimes player to a consistent player’. The team provides ‘a really excellent service’ and ‘keeps the transaction smooth even with all of the complications that inevitably creep in’. The firm is ‘a strong performer’ that delivers ‘very good business acumen and pragmatism’. The arrival of ‘great lawyerScott Barshay from Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in 2016 has propelled the firm to greater heights, and the celebrated dealmaker was sought out by The Kraft Heinz Company to advise on its proposed $143bn acquisition of UK-based global consumer goods company Unilever. Barshay also led the team that advised Qualcomm on the $130bn takeover offer from Broadcom, the Singapore-based developer and global supplier of digital and analog semiconductor connectivity products. Another major player is Robert Schumer, who is ‘still one of the best M&A lawyers out there’ and continues to impress in large-cap deals; he advised Canadian fertilizer giant Agrium on its $36bn merger of equals with Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, the world’s largest crop nutrient company. The firm’s leading litigation practice provides additional firepower in contested deals and shareholder activism. Its high-quality finance practice also provides the M&A group with additional connections to leading banks. Moreover, the private equity buyouts side of the practice continues to grow considerably, most notably with Taurie Zeitzer leading the firm’s relationship with Apollo Global Management, which has created yet another pipeline of large-cap deals. In public M&A, Jeffrey Marell has made an impression working alongside Barshay and in acting as lead partner on deals. The up-and-coming Justin Hamill is a big name in entertainment deals and Steven Williamsknows how to manage a transaction’ and ‘remove much of the stress from the client’s perspective’. David Klein has ‘strong business sense’ and Ariel Deckelbaum is also recommended.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is experienced handling large-cap and transformative deals as well as hostile takeovers, takeover defense and activism defense work. The team operates at ‘a very high level’, is ‘time efficient’ and ‘has an ability learn from past experiences’. ‘Billings are reasonable for the high level of service and expertise’, according to one client. The firm has one of the world’s leading restructuring and bankruptcy practices and, as a result, has a leading presence in distressed M&A deals and transactions linked to bankruptcies. In 2017, the firm advised Reynolds American’s transaction committee of the board of directors on the company’s $60.6bn sale to British American Tobacco, and assisted Scripps Networks Interactive with its $14.6bn merger with Discovery Communications. It also advised Procter & Gamble on a recent proxy contest with an activist investor. Corporate department chairman Michael Aiello is ‘practical’, ‘pragmatic’ and ‘has earned an enormous amount of respect’. Frederick Greenbrings level-headedness and business savvy that multiplies his legal expertise’, with one client suggesting that his attributes were integral to keeping an especially tense and vulnerable transaction on course. Howard Chatzinoff and Michael Lubowitz are also key names, and Jackie Cohen is ‘responsive, available, always calm with a very high level knowledge and experience’, and is ‘open minded and able to work on international transactions with an ability to manage all sorts of cultural expectations’. Matthew Gilroy is another emerging talent, and Marc Silberberg and Paul Wessel are praised by clients for their expertise in M&A-related tax and executive compensation respectively. All named partners are based in New York.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has a relatively compact M&A department compared to some of its competitors, yet it maintains an impressive market share of headline and complex deals. The firm has a particularly strong profile in certain industry segments, notably technology, telecoms, media, healthcare, financial services and private equity. Its longstanding private equity expertise has helped it bring innovative forms of deal technology to the strategic M&A segment and align itself with novel forms of financing. In 2017, the firm made a big splash in the media sector, advising Tribune Media on its $6.6bn sale to Sinclair Broadcast Group and Time Inc on its $2.8bn sale to Meredith Corporation. Moreover, the firm advised Discovery Communications on its $14.6bn acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive and Verizon Communications on its $3.1bn all-stock acquisition of Straight Path Communications, beating off AT&T in an especially intense bidding war. The firm continues to represent biopharmaceutical giant Allergan on a regular basis, and advised it on its $2.47bn acquisition of medical technology company Zeltiq. The ‘great team’ has ‘broad expertise from deal strategy to SEC/regulatory, board advice and tax’. The department is ‘very collegial’, ‘always accessible’ and ‘worth every penny’. The firm is recommended for ‘more complex and public company M&A deals’ and clients believe that it provides ‘a leg up over counterparties in deals’ and ‘is more user-friendly than others’. Chair of the corporate department, Jeffrey Rosen is ‘strong on big, complex deal negotiations and on tax-related matters’. Paul Bird straddles strategic M&A and private equity buyouts, is ‘a trusted voice at board meetings’ and is ‘always thoughtful and calm under pressure’. Co-head of the M&A group William Regner is a ‘phenomenal lawyer’, is ‘business savvy and practical’, ‘relates well to C-suite and board members’ and ‘gives highly sophisticated advice in a way that is easy to understand and act on’. Fellow co-head of the M&A group Gregory Gooding is a leader in financial services deals. Technology, telecoms and media expert and regular adviser to Verizon Michael Diz is ‘good on M&A and complex negotiations’. Andrew Bab and Kevin Rinker are noted for healthcare deals, with the latter also recognized for private equity buyouts expertise. Jonathan Levitsky is active in the media sector and was the lead partner on the previously mentioned Discovery Communications transaction.

In 2017, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP launched a new Houston office, providing the firm with even greater credibility in energy M&A. As part of the development of the office, the firm hired energy M&A specialist Tull Florey from Baker Botts L.L.P.. The firm has an especially strong record in domestic M&A and is a growing force in cross-border deals, including those involving Europe, Asia and Latin America. It is also widely recognized for its expertise in corporate governance, proxy contests, takeover defense and activist defense. In 2017, the team advised CalAtlantic Group on its $9.3bn merger with Lennar Group. It also represented Lazard Frères & Co as financial adviser to Johnson & Johnson in its $30bn acquisition of Actelion, the Swiss rare drug maker. In the energy sector, it advised energy infrastructure client The Williams Companies on a $11.4bn financial repositioning transaction with Williams Partners to improve Williams Partners’ cost of capital and to simplify its capital structure. Washington DC’s Stephen Glover is an ‘all-round great practitioner’ who inspires confidence in peers and clients. New York partner Barbara Becker is a ‘great lawyer’, known for her expertise in large-cap M&A, hostile takeovers and activist defense work. Dallas-based Jeffrey Chapman is another prominent figure, along with Palo Alto partner Joseph Barbeau, New York’s Dennis Friedman and Jonathan Layne in Los Angeles.

Jones Day’s geographic coverage across the US and overseas provides a virtually unrivalled platform for corporate client relationships and a high volume of deals. Detroit, Minneapolis and Miami are all relatively new domestic offices that have helped the firm expand its client portfolio still further. Its full-service approach is also a draw to many corporates, with its strong teams in intellectual property, labor law, government regulatory matters and many others contributing to the success of the M&A group. Clients regard the team as ‘outstanding’, ‘first rate in its responsiveness’, with one hailing it ‘the best’. Clients also highlight its ability to understand industry drivers and operate a ‘partnering’ approach, while knowing when to allow in-house teams to run the transaction or ‘assume the lead if warranted by the deal dynamics or subject matter’. The firm has impressed in real estate, life sciences and technology transactions, and continues to be at the forefront of financial institutions and chemical sector deals. Energy is another growing area for the team. In 2017, it continued to advise regular client Reynolds American on its $49bn sale to British American Tobacco and represented Linear Technology in its $14.8bn sale to Analog Devices. Moreover, the firm advised private equity firm Carlyle on its $4bn sale of Signode Industrial Group to Crown Holdings. Global chair of M&A Robert Profusek has immense experience and is frequently engaged on big-ticket deals. Cleveland’s Lyle Ganske is noted for takeovers and shareholder activism defense, while James Dougherty has fine record in real estate and chemicals deals and takeover defense work. Randi Lesnick has tremendous big-ticket deal experience in the consumer and retail and technology sectors, and Silicon Valley’s Daniel Mitz is a leader in tech deals. Houston partner Jeffrey Schlegel is ‘consistently outstanding’ in energy transactions and newly promoted partner Benjamin Stulberg is ‘outstanding’ in public M&A. Attorneys are New York based unless stated otherwise.

Shearman & Sterling LLP does not have the size of team of some of its competitors but nevertheless maintains a significant market share of marquee domestic and cross-border deals. In 2017, it advised CVS on its $69bn acquisition of Aetna, an industry transforming transaction for the healthcare sector. Demonstrating its expertise in cross-border deals, it also advised Swiss pharmaceuticals company Novartis on its $3.9bn acquisition of Advanced Accelerator Applications, the Nasdaq-listed French cancer specialist company. Moreover, it continued to represent General Electric in its $32bn acquisition of Baker Hughes, which was combined with GE Oil & Gas to create a new public company listed on the NYSE. The firm also continues to impress in complex spin-offs and carve-out transactions. Other notable clients include Altice USA, Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, Dow, ExxonMobil, Fairfax Financial Holdings, Nokia, Temasek and WebMD Health. Head of the global M&A group George Casey is an outstanding practitioner in large-cap cross-border and domestic deals, and in headline carve-outs and spin-offs. Scott Petepiece, the head of the firm’s New York M&A group, has a fine record in M&A, private equity buyouts and transactions involving sovereign wealth funds. Senior partner Creighton Condon led the team that advised CVS on its landmark acquisition of Aetna and continues to work on many of the firm’s marquee transactions. John Marzulli led the team working on General Electric’s acquisition of Baker Hughes. Robert Katz is another key partner, and Brien Wassner joined from Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP. All named partners are based in New York.

White & Case LLP impresses with its domestic and global credentials and is engaged in a high volume of large-cap M&A transactions. Clients highlight the firm’s ‘solid counsel in many jurisdictions due to its global presence’ making it ‘head and shoulders above’ many others on cross-border deals and ‘a powerhouse among M&A law firms’. Clients also praise the ‘innovative approach’, ‘depth and breadth of the M&A practice’, ‘outstanding judgment with a thorough understanding of relevant market and industries’ and ‘seamless and outstanding client service’. It is ‘more responsive, creative and practical than many other firms’, according to one client. In addition, the team’s experience in private equity, makes it especially adept in competitive auction situations. In 2017, the firm advised power generation company Calpine Corporation on its $17bn sale to Energy Capital Partners and a consortium of investors. It continued to advise health benefits giant Anthem on its landmark $54.2bn acquisition of global health insurance service company Cigna Corporation; the firm’s work involved headline disputes with Cigna in the Delaware Court of Chancery over payment of a $1.85bn reverse termination fee and other claims relating to alleged breaches of the merger agreement. Further demonstrating the firm’s experience in energy and infrastructure, it advised Sempra Energy on its $18.8bn acquisition of Energy Future Holdings, which indirectly owns 80% of Oncor Electric Delivery. John Reiss is global head of M&A and ‘ensures that the firm works seamlessly across multiple offices, jurisdictions and practice areas’. Global co-head of the private equity practice Oliver Brahmst and head of the Americas corporate and M&A practice Gregory Pryor are also high-profile names. Dan Dufner is ‘extremely responsive, creative and flexible’, ‘an extraordinary counselor’ with ‘skill, sound judgment, loyalty and dedication’. Morton Pierce brings further senior level gravitas and Michael Shenberg is recommended for power sector deals. Silicon Valley’s global head of technology M&A William Choe is ‘top notch’, ‘invests time into understanding clients’ businesses and strategy’, ‘is commercially savvy’ and ‘provides effective communication’. Denise Cerasani is ‘second to none’ and has ‘best-in-class judgment’; she is noted for her experience with financial advisers. Clients also praise the strength of the firm’s tax team in M&A transactions. Named partners are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP is ‘one of the premier New York M&A shops’, is ‘one of the top M&A firms in the country’ and is ‘involved in some of the most significant deals around’, according to clients. It is praised for its ‘tremendous service’ and ‘unfailingly excellent, always-responsive, thoughtful and creative, and business-sensitive legal advice’, and for is ‘deep bench of experts’ who ‘understand clients’ businesses’. It continues to underline its credentials in the pharmaceutical, healthcare, real estate and media sectors, and looks after clients such as Aleris Corporation, Ascential, Ctalent, Coach, Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Humana, Koch Industries and Morgans Hotel Group. It advised Sinclair Broadcast Group on its $6.89bn acquisition of Tribune Media Company, and represented Knight Transportation in its $6bn all-stock merger with Swift Transportation Company. The firm has ‘tremendous partners’, including Philip Richter, who is ‘a very knowledgeable M&A lawyer’ and ‘the best I have used’, according to one client. Robert Schwenkel is another leader in M&A and private equity, and Christopher Ewan, Steven Steinman and Washington DC’s Brian Mangino are other pivotal members of the practice. Steven Epstein and Matthew Soran are ‘extremely responsive, deeply knowledgeable about M&A, are willing to work through difficult subjects and are creative in addressing problems’.

Hogan Lovells US LLP’s national coverage was greatly enhanced by the arrival of a prominent team from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, led by Richard Climan, Keith Flaum and Jane Ross, to its Silicon Valley office in 2017. The team brings a wealth of technology sector experience, having advised on many of the largest transactions involving West Coast-based tech companies. Before joining the firm, Flaum advised Oracle on a series of transactions, including its $9.3bn acquisition of NetSuite. The firm is also strong in real estate deals, especially those involving REITs, as well as in aerospace, defense and government-related transactions. The automotive, healthcare and life sciences sectors are also key for the firm, and it is looking to grow its presence in relation to energy, natural resources and infrastructure; to this end it hired energy sector specialist Greg Hill into its Houston office from Locke Lord LLP in 2017. Major clients include Oracle, Dell Technologies, Lockheed Martin, Novartis, Honeywell, Allergan, Daimler and General Electric. The firm advised JBG Companies on its $8.4bn merger with Vornado Realty Trust to create JBG Smith Properties, the largest public real estate company in Washington DC. It also represented Orbital ATK, an aerospace and defense technologies company, in its $9.2bn sale to global security company Northrop Grumman. Clients praise the team for its expertise in ‘complex cross-border deals’, its ‘sterling and unmatched service’, its ability to act as ‘true collaborators and counselors’ and for ‘never letting the legal cart drive the business horse’. New York and Washington DC based global head of the M&A practice William Curtingets impossible deals done’ and is commended for his ‘experience, creativity, availability and business understanding’. Joseph Gilligan is co-chair of the US M&A committee and New York’s Alex Johnson is a key name in media and private equity transactions. New York partner Adam Golden is recommended for healthcare and life sciences deals, and Glenn Campbell (Baltimore) and Elizabeth Donley are also pivotal members of the team. David Bonser is a leader in real estate and REIT transactions. Attorneys are Washington DC based unless stated otherwise.

Mayer Brown takes on a considerable volume of large-cap domestic and cross-border M&A. The firm has an especially strong presence in Chicago, but also has key M&A practitioners in New York, Houston and elsewhere. Life sciences, financial institutions, energy, technology and gaming are among its most active industries. Recent work includes advising CIBC on its $3.8bn cash and stock acquisition of PrivateBancorp and its subsidiary The PrivateBank, a middle-market commercial bank with $17.7bn in assets, and representing TransCanada in the $2.2bn sale of its power business assets in the northeast of the US. It also advised The Hartford Financial Services Group on its $1.45bn acquisition of Aetna’s US group life and disability business. Other clients include Ally Financial, AT&T, Caesars Entertainment, Cargill, Caterpillar, Dow, ExxonMobil, Macquarie, Wells Fargo and Yum! Brands. William Kucera and Jodi Simala are chairs of the M&A practice, which also includes Frederick Thomas and Marc Sperber. Andrew Noreuil is another frequent adviser on large-cap M&A transactions, as are New York-based David Alberts and Philip Brandes. Attorneys are Chicago based unless stated otherwise.

Morrison & Foerster LLP is at the forefront of technology, telecoms and media deals, thanks partly to its Tokyo presence and its relationships with the hugely acquisitive SoftBank and several other blue-chip Japan-listed companies. The US team, led by San Francisco partner and co-chair of the global M&A practice Robert Townsend, has worked on a series of acquisitions and investments for SoftBank, including advising OneWeb and SoftBank on OneWeb’s proposed $13bn merger with Intelsat, which also involved SoftBank’s agreement to invest $1.7bn into the combined entity. Much of the firm’s senior M&A talent is concentrated in Northern California, but its other US offices - including New York and Washington DC - have notable strength. The firm recently advised Israel-based Mobileye on its $15.3bn acquisition by Intel. In another significant transaction, the firm advised Global Logistics Properties on the proposed $11.64bn privatization of GLP by way of scheme of arrangement, with Nesta Investment Holdings acquiring all the issued and paid-up ordinary shares. Energy, life sciences and healthcare, hospitality and real estate are other active sectors for the M&A team. Other key clients include Axalta Coating Systems, Axium Infrastructure, DST Systems, ON Semiconductor, Sprint, Unilever, Visa and VMware. The team is ‘extremely helpful in M&A’ and is praised for its ‘excellent response times’, ‘business acumen’ and ‘team depth’. It has ‘a wide range of experiences in M&A’ and ‘knows how to wear a business hat and a legal hat’. Other key partners in the team include New York’s Spencer Klein, known for his expertise in life sciences and healthcare, and government industry-related M&A specialist Lawrence Yanowitch in Northern Virginia. San Francisco-based chair of the global corporate department Jackie Liu is ‘highly efficient, practical and business minded’. Eric McCrath in San Francisco is ‘a skillful negotiator who understands client service’, and Washington DC’s David Slotkin is recommended for real estate M&A.

Bracewell LLP impresses in energy M&A, most notably in relation to master limited partnerships (MLPs). The firm has a hugely impressive record in upstream and midstream oil and gas deals. In 2017, it continued to advise Great Plains Energy on its $14bn stock-for-stock merger of equals with Midwest utility company Westar Energy. It also represented DCP Midstream LLC, a 50/50 joint venture between Phillips 66 and Spectra Energy, in the combination of all its assets and debt with DCP Midstream Partners LP, creating the largest gathering and processing MLP in the US. Other clients include Apache, Chevron, Evercore, HPS Investment Partners, Kinder Morgan and Pembina Pipeline. Managing partner Gregory Bopp, William Anderson, Cleland Dade, Jason Jean, Troy Harder, Gary Orloff, Alan Rafte and Charles Still are all key members of the M&A practice and all are based in Houston.

Dechert LLP has continued to expand its team in the US and globally. In 2017, partners Nazim Zilkha, Gareth Clark and Jeff Norton joined the New York office from White & Case LLP, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and Linklaters LLP respectively. London, Hong Kong and Singapore have also recently benefited from lateral hires. The firm advised GMéxico Transportes, a subsidiary of Grupo México, on its acquisition of the Florida East Coast Railway from Fortress Investment Group and individual shareholders. It also advised H&E Equipment Services on its proposed $1.2bn acquisition of Neff Corporation. The firm continues to make an impression in financial services and healthcare deals and is a growing force in technology. Other clients include ECN Capital, MSD Partners, Select Medical Corporation, Lazada, Lexmark, Ipsen and GIC. Mark Thierfelder is chair of the firm's corporate and securities group, while experienced Philadelphia partner Henry Nassau has ‘spectacular judgment’ and is recommended for board and company representation. Jonathan Kim, Derek Winokur, Christian Matarese and Markus Bolsinger are also key members of the team, along with Latin America expert Howard Kleinman. Former chairman of the firm Barton Winokur is a ‘brilliant lawyer and negotiator’. Attorneys are based in New York unless stated otherwise. Former partner Carmen Romano has retired.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP has increased and diversified its presence in the large-cap M&A space. Dean Sattler was promoted to partner in 2017 and adds greater weight to the firm’s standing in public company transactions, including the representation of financial advisers. The firm ‘has assembled a leading team in power and energy’, ‘shows unparalleled service and dedication to clients’ needs’ and its ‘value for money is extremely high’. Advising financial advisers has become a key forte of the practice, in part thanks to the firm’s longstanding relationships with bank clients. In 2017, Sattler led the team that advised Raymond James & Association as financial adviser to Mobileye on its $15.3bn acquisition by Cyclops Holdings, a subsidiary of Intel. The firm also continued to advise Eldorado Resorts on its $2bn acquisition of Isle of Capri Casinos. It remains active in cross-border deals, especially involving Latin America. The firm provides ‘a top-notch service’, ‘super-fast responses’, ‘fantastic advice’ and ‘A-list industry knowledge’. Los Angeles-based Kenneth Baronsky is ‘extremely knowledgeable, very well connected, super responsive and thinks out of the box’. New York partner John Franchini is ‘a clear leader and trusted M&A adviser in the power and energy sector’ and is ‘extremely thoughtful, creative and strategic’. New York’s Scott Golenbock is also recommended, as are Los Angeles-based Adam Moses and Casey Fleck, the latter having joined from Latham & Watkins LLP in 2017.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP’s further international expansion, most notably in Asia, has positioned the US M&A team for additional growth in cross-border deals. The team benefitted from a buoyant strategic M&A and private equity buyouts market in 2017 and its strong focus on financial services, technology, life sciences, healthcare, energy, and media and entertainment. One of the largest law firms in the US by headcount, it has a good record in domestic deals and is frequently sought out by non-US based multinationals for inbound acquisitions. Furthermore, the firm’s breadth, which includes strong intellectual property, employment, employee benefits and regulatory teams, is a significant draw to clients. It recently advised Iron Mountain on its $1.32bn agreement to acquire the US operation of IO Data Centers; this was the firm’s first M&A engagement from Iron Mountain. It also advised Harron Communications on its $1.4bn sale of the Metrocast cable systems brand to Atlantic Broadband, a subsidiary of Cogeco Communications. The firm has especially strong M&A teams in New York, Philadelphia and Boston, backed up by further talent in California and Texas. The team is ‘incredibly responsive’, ‘deeply knowledgeable’, ‘hugely value for money’ with the firm providing ‘well-reasoned and practical advice’. Philadelphia’s Richard Aldridge and Boston partner Laurie Cerveny lead the team and the latter is praised for being ‘very practical, smart and responsive’. Charles Engros is a ‘first-rate M&A specialist and outstanding relationship partner who always goes the extra mile’. Robert Dickey is ‘outstanding in his technical competence and service-oriented nature’. Boston partner Steven Browne is ‘a terrific lawyer’, ‘an excellent communicator and negotiator’ with ‘in-depth knowledge’ and ‘business acumen’. Steven Navarro and Orange County-based James Loss are also recommended. Partners are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Proskauer Rose LLP has an impressive standing on both the East and West coasts, with Los Angeles managing partner and co-head of the global M&A group Michael Woronoff being one of the most prominent M&A lawyers in California. The firm continues to impress in large-cap transactions, including those in the healthcare and life sciences, leisure and hospitality, technology, consumer products, real estate and sports sectors. It recently advised long-time client Celgene on its $9bn acquisition of Juno Therapeutics, and assisted Morgan Stanley as the financial adviser to Starwood Waypoint regarding its $20bn merger of equals with Invitation Homes. The firm has a fine record in cross-border deals, especially those involving Latin America; in this regard Carlos Martinez is a key partner. Other key clients include Accor, Ascena Retail Group, Arkema, Discovery Communications, Grifols and a series of prominent private equity houses. The ‘top-notch’ team provides ‘a service and advice that is consistently outstanding’. Ron Papa is co-head of the global M&A group and Robert Cantone is praised for his ‘knowledge, demeanor and professionalism’, with one client saying he is ‘one of the finest lawyers in the United States’. Jeffrey Horwitz has an outstanding record in real estate, leisure and hospitality deals, and Daniel Ganitsky is another prominent member of the team, especially in cross-border deals. Named attorneys are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Ropes & Gray LLP is gaining further ground on its rivals, particularly through the build-out of its New York office and its growing presence on the West Coast. In 2017, the firm hired Bay Area giant Paul Scrivano as global head of the M&A practice. He brings considerable experience in technology sector deals, most notably in the semiconductors space. Nationwide the firm remains a leader in life sciences and healthcare, and in the asset management sector. It has also made considerable headway in representing financial advisers to M&A transactions, particularly following the recruitment of John Sorkin in 2015. He and his team have cemented stronger relationships to key investment banks, enabling the firm to increase its market share of financial adviser roles, but also gain recommendations and referrals from influential bankers. It continues to be recognized as a leader in private equity, which frequently leads to prime strategic M&A engagements, and is able to provide support in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) matters, tax, data privacy, intellectual property and executive compensation. It advised cornerstone client Bain Capital on a Bain-led consortium’s $18bn acquisition of Toshiba Memory from Toshiba Corporation, reported to be the largest Japanese deal since 2011 and the largest private equity and leveraged finance deal ever in Asia. A team led by Scrivano advised Mentor Graphics on its $4.5bn acquisition by Siemens Industry. In another major deal, the firm advised Multi Packaging Solutions on its $2.28bn acquisition by WestRock, one of the world’s leading paper and packaging providers. Other clients include Bright Horizons, Covidien, Dunkin’ Brands Group, Habit Restaurants, Marquee Brands, Pfizer, Planet Fitness and Reebok International. Other key partners include New York and Boston based Jane Goldstein, who is co-head of the M&A group, Christopher Comeau, who is recommended for large-cap life sciences deals, and chair-elect Julie Jones, who covers both private equity buyouts and strategic M&A. Paul Kinsella is also recommended for life sciences, pharmaceuticals and biotech transactions. New York-based Othon Prounis and Carl Marcellino are also noted for their mix of strategic M&A and private equity. Named partners are based in Boston unless stated otherwise.

For large-cap energy sector deals, Vinson & Elkins LLP virtually stands alone. It has the client base and extensive senior resources to handle multiple deals at any one time. Primarily split between Houston and New York, the team is praised for its ‘commercial approach’ and ‘ability to drive a process forward’. It is ‘always incredibly responsive and flexible to meet the client’s needs’, ‘shows dedication to getting things over the finish line’ and ‘has a pool of top-quality lawyers to draw from, including at the associate level’. It has particular expertise in the exploration and production space, and has made an additional impression in representing special purpose acquisition companies. Clients include AltaGas, Chisholm Energy, Devon Energy, Huntsman, Jonah Energy, MORSCO, Rice Energy, Southwest Airlines and a number of big-name private equity houses. It advised Sunoco Logistics Partners on its $20bn merger with Transfer Partners, creating one of the largest MLPs in the world. It also advised Rice Energy on its $8.2bn merger with EQT Corporation, creating the largest domestic natural gas producer in the US. Key partners in the team include senior name Keith Fullenweider, Matthew Strock and New York-based James Fox. Stephen Gill and Lande Spottswood are up-and-coming names. Jeffrey Floyd provides ‘sage guidance’ and ‘focuses on the issues that really matter’. Attorneys are based in Houston unless stated otherwise.

Allen & Overy LLP remained active in large-cap M&A in 2017 and continues to impress in cross-border deals, especially those in the TMT, life sciences, energy and financial institutions sectors. Software is an especially strong industry for the New York office, which recently advised SAP on its $2.4bn acquisition of Callidus Software, the Dublin-headquartered and Nasdaq-listed cloud-based solutions company. The New York team also had a key role advising Worldpay Group on its $9bn merger with New York-listed payments company Vantiv. Moreover, the firm represented global healthcare company Fresenius Kabi in its $4.3bn acquisition of Akorn, a Nasdaq-listed manufacturer of prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical products. Other clients include Associated British Foods, GlaxoSmithKline, Total, Thomson Reuters, Thai Union and Exponent. Key New York partner Eric Shube is head of the US corporate practice. Peter Harwich moved to Latham & Watkins LLP in September 2017.

Baker Botts L.L.P. has a notable record in large-cap M&A, thanks in part to its illustrious client base of Texas-based companies and its position as a global leader in the energy and oil and gas space. Clients give the firm ‘high marks for its level of service’ and praise its ‘industry knowledge, business acumen, responsiveness, appropriateness of advice and value’. In addition to energy deals, the firm has seen a notable uptick in private equity-driven M&A and also TMT deals. Clients include Liberty Media, Mediacom Communications, AES Corporation, AT&T, Delta Topco, Chesapeake Energy, Halliburton, Hunt Oil, Shell Midstream Partners, Williams Partners and SunPower. It advised Liberty Interactive on its $1.12bn acquisition of General Communication, and assisted Starz with its $4.4bn sale to Lions Gate Entertainment, one of the largest entertainment sector deals in recent years. Co-chair of the firm-wide corporate department David Kirkland is a big name in Houston, especially in the oilfield services sector, while New York-based fellow co-chair Mike Bengston ‘brings a dynamic blend of experience, service, knowledge of the industry and value’. Renee Wilm is another key figure in New York, especially in the technology, telecoms and media space. A team including energy M&A specialist Tull Florey joined Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in May 2017.

Baker McKenzie LLP has an extensive international network, making it a prime candidate for major cross-border deals, most notably within the pharmaceuticals, healthcare, manufacturing, technology and consumer goods sectors. Clients include Abbott Laboratories, Accenture, Bayer, Cardtronics, FedEx, McDonald’s, Motorola Solutions, Quest Diagnostics, Sika, Symantec, Unilever and Walgreens Boots Alliance. The firm advised Abbott Laboratories on the $1.12bn sale of its medical products to Japanese healthcare company Terumo. It also represented Konica Minolta in its $1bn acquisition of Ambry Genetics. Matthew Gemello is chair of the North America corporate and securities practice and has a fine record in technology deals. Chair of the global M&A practice Michael DeFranco has worked on a range of cross-border deals, including for FedEx. Olivia Tyrrell, David Malliband, and New York partner Alan Zoccolillo are also recommended. Partners are based in Chicago unless stated otherwise.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP has an impressive record in public company M&A, shareholder activism, hostile transactions, proxy contests and corporate governance engagements. The firm has an especially strong standing in pharmaceuticals, medical devices and healthcare deals, and in financial services transactions. Clients include Mantle Ridge, Pershing Square Capital Management, The Howard Hughes Corporation, Ashford Hospitality Trust, Marcato Capital Management, AngioDynamics, The Medicines Company and The Renco Group. It advised investment firm Mantle Ridge on its investment in transportation company CSX, represented hedge fund Pershing Square in its $4bn investment into Automatic Data Processing, and advised Ashford Hospitality Trust on its $1.27bn unsolicited proposal to acquire FelCor Lodging Trust. Richard Brand is co-chairman of the firm’s corporate group and has an excellent record in public M&A and shareholder activism matters. William Mills is recommended for healthcare deals. Both partners are based in New York.

Clifford Chance stands out for its work on cross-border deals, particularly involving Latin America. The firm is ‘a very good one-stop shop and among the best’, according to clients. In a matter involving Asia and Latin America, a team led by David Brinton advised China-based CITIC Agri Fund Management on its $1.1bn acquisition of Dow AgroSciences’ corn feed business in Brazil. Sarah Jones, a leader in consumer goods and retail, led a team that advised The Coca-Cola Company and Coca-Cola FEMSA on their $580m acquisition of AdeS Alimentos de Soja, a South American soy-based beverage business, from Unilever. In other headline deals, the firm represented The National Titanium Dioxide Company (Cristal) in its $1.67bn disposition of its global titanium dioxide business to US-listed Australian company Tronox. It also advised Hearst Business Media on its acquisition of CAMP Systems International from private equity firm GTCR. The firm continues to build its profile in private equity, in part thanks to the presence of Kevin Lehpamer, who is ‘very measured, knowledgeable and understands clients’ requirements’. Key sectors for the practice include energy and infrastructure, consumer and retail, healthcare, and media and technology. Another key partner is Benjamin Sibbett, known for his healthcare and media sector expertise; he led the team on the previously mentioned Hearst Business Media transaction. Joseph Cosentino re-joined the New York office from Greenberg Traurig LLP in 2017, further boosting the team’s public company deal expertise. John Healy is also recommended. All named partners are based in New York.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP continues to make an impression in inbound and outbound transactions, thanks in part to its high level of M&A expertise in multiple jurisdictions, especially in Europe and Asia. In the US, it has ‘very high quality across the board’, with one client saying it delivers ‘advice and expertise to rival any other firm’. This helps it to deliver ‘raw legal ability and commercial and strategic advice in equal measure’, which is reinforced by its ‘international strength’. It advised BASF, the German chemical company, on its $7bn acquisition of Bayer’s seed and non-selective herbicide business. It also advised Henderson Group on its $6bn all-stock merger of equals with Janus Capital Group. Peter Lyons, US regional managing partner, is ‘an extremely impressive heavy hitter’ and has ‘an ability to see the bigger picture’, allowing him to provide ‘strategic and tactical advice’. Matthew Herman and Mitchell Presser are also highly regarded, and Aly El Hamamsy’s ‘experience, ability and straightforward style make him a very good go-to lawyer for US M&A’. Omar Pringle was elevated to the partnership in 2017, and Doug Bacon joined Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s Houston office.

Greenberg Traurig LLP has a sizable department, with senior M&A practitioners operating from many of its 29 US offices. This geographic reach helps the firm service a diverse client base spanning a wide range of industries. On top of this, it is also noted for its expertise in cross-border M&A, particularly involving Latin America. In this regard, Miami-based vice chair of the firm Patricia Menéndez-Cambó has an outstanding reputation. The firm has developed an especially strong record in technology, healthcare, life sciences and pharmaceuticals transactions, and clients include the likes of AstraZeneca, Hard Rock International, Ryder System, Arlington Capital Partners, Macquarie Bank, TerraForm Power, Ocelot Partners and The Stars Group. Dennis Block, the New York-based senior chairman of the global M&A practice, recently led a team that advised the corporate governance and conflicts committee of the board of directors of TerraForm Power on the committee’s review of strategic options and the proposed $1.7bn merger and sponsorship transaction with Brookfield Asset Management. The firm’s growing presence in private equity saw it advise Medina Capital on its $2.8bn joint venture with international private equity house BC Partners. Alan Annex in New York, Chicago-based Peter Lieberman and Fort Lauderdale partner Bruce March are joint chairs of the corporate practice.

O'Melveny & Myers LLP is noted for growth company and tech M&A, especially involving West Coast-based companies. The firm also has a great deal of experience in US-Asia transactions. In 2017, it advised DigitalGlobe, a global provider of high-resolution Earth-imagery products and services, on its $3.6bn acquisition by MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates. It also represented Healthcare Trust of America in its $2.75bn acquisition of Duke Realty Corporation’s medical office building assets and medical development platform. In another large-cap transaction, it advised Sabra Healthcare Reit on its $7.4bn all-stock merger with Care Capital Properties. Silicon Valley’s Warren Lazarow is co-chairman of the global corporate department and Newport Beach-based Jay Herron is head of the global M&A and private equity practice. Paul Sieben is another senior name in Silicon Valley, while New York’s Tobias Knapp is a key figure on the East Coast, particularly in the technology sector. Paul Scrivano has joined Ropes & Gray LLP.

Paul Hastings LLP has an impressive record in domestic and cross-border M&A, including US-Asia deals. It has an especially strong M&A practice in media, entertainment, technology and life sciences, and is gaining greater prominence in representing financial advisers to M&A transactions. With strength in California, Chicago, New York, Houston and other key centers, the firm is able to capture a significant market share of large-cap M&A involving North American parties. The New York team was recently augmented by the arrival of Robert Leung, Mike Huang and Stefan dePozsgay from Boies Schiller Flexner LLP. Clients include Goldman Sachs, CDH Investment Partners, Eli Lilly, as well as Samsung, which the team advised on its $8bn acquisition of Harman International Industries, the largest Korean outbound M&A transaction on record. San Diego-based global chair of the M&A group Carl Sanchez, Los Angeles partners David Hernand and Robert Miller, head of the New York M&A practice David Shine and New York partner Samuel Waxman are also names to note. San Francisco’s Steve Camahort recently advised Goldman Sachs as financial adviser to Amazon on its $13.7bn acquisition of Whole Foods.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP reinforced its already strong M&A practice with a series of lateral hires, including Cody Carper and Kfir Abutbul who joined in Houston from Kirkland & Ellis LLP, and Kevin O’Mara who joined in New York from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. The firm has well-established reputation in energy sector deals but also continues to impress in financial services, technology, telecoms and media. In 2017, the firm continued to advise Level 3 Communications on its headline $34bn sale to CenturyLink and represented Allied World Assurance in its $4.9bn merger with Fairfax Financial Holdings. It also advised Assurant on its acquisition of The Warranty Group. Clients praise the firm’s insurance M&A expertise, its ‘flexibility’, ‘excellent response times and excellent industry knowledge’. Other clients include Endurance Specialty Holdings, Jay Alix, Zurich Insurance, The Sterling Group, The Allstate Corporation and a number of prominent private equity houses. Notable partners include heads of department David Boston and Steven Seidman and chairman of the firm Thomas Cerabino. Gregory Astrachan is recommended for domestic and cross-border insurance deals, bringing ‘an exceptionally responsive service, experience, clear guidance and a sense of humor to the most difficult situations’. Houston partner Michael De Voe Piazza is another leader in energy deals. Named attorneys are New York based unless stated otherwise.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati’s investment in representing start-ups and technology companies has enabled it to work on a multitude of large-cap deals in the emerging growth company sector. The firm advised AppDynamics, an application intelligence software company, on its $3.7bn acquisition by Cisco. It also represented traffic visibility solutions provider Gigamon on its $1.6bn sale to Elliott Management. Michael Ringler has emerged as a leading dealmaker in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area. Larry Sonsini is a towering figure in Silicon Valley.

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