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Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

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London, New York

Stephen Burns

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Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Work Department



Stephen L. Burns is a partner in Cravath’s Corporate Department. His practice focuses on representing issuers and investment banking firms in connection with public and private offerings of securities, as well as representing various corporations on general corporate matters, including corporate governance and M&A matters. Mr. Burns was named Best Lawyers’ 2014 New York City “Lawyer of the Year” for Securities/Capital Markets Law. His work was also featured by the Financial Times in its annual FT North America Innovative Lawyers 2014 report.

Mr. Burns’s clients have included Crown Castle, Flowserve, IBM, Time Warner, Time Inc., Cox Enterprises, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan. He recently advised Crown Castle in its pending $600 million acquisition of Wilcon; its $1.5 billion acquisition of FiberNet; the $1.6 billion sale of CCAL, its Australian subsidiary, to a consortium of investors led by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets; its $1 billion acquisition of Sunesys; its $9.1 billion (including purchase options) acquisition of the rights to approximately 9,700 AT&T towers; its $4.8 billion (including purchase options) acquisition of the rights to approximately 7,100 T‑Mobile towers; and on over $14 billion in debt and equity financings since 2012. Mr. Burns also advised the underwriters in connection with Actavis plc’s recent offerings of $30 billion of debt and equity securities. In addition, he represented the underwriters in connection with recent offerings by American Axle, Chesapeake Energy, Dollar Financial, Expedia, Goodyear, Petco, Ply Gem, Ocean Rig and TeamHealth.


Mr. Burns joined Cravath in 1990 and became a partner in 1998.

Mr. Burns has been repeatedly cited as one of the country’s leading practitioners in securities law by, among others, Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business from 2007 through 2016; Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business from 2008 through 2017; The Legal 500 from 2007 through 2014 and in 2016; IFLR1000 from 2007 through 2017; and The Best Lawyers in America from 2007 through 2017. He was also recognized by The Legal 500 for his skill in M&A: Mega‑Deals in 2008 and for his transactional work in the telecoms and broadcast industry in 2014 and 2016.


Mr. Burns received a B.B.A. with distinction from the University of Oklahoma in 1987 and a J.D. with honors from the University of Texas School of Law in 1990, where he was named to the Chancellor’s honor society and was an Associate Editor of the Texas Law Review.

United States: Finance

Capital markets: debt offerings

Within: Capital markets: debt offerings

At the top of the market for securities offerings’, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP is widely lauded for its ‘deep and well-qualified bench, from associate to senior partner level’. The New York-based practice continues to garner big-ticket mandates from both issuers and underwriters, and its diverse experience ensures it is regularly called upon by clients across all industry sectors. Craig Arcella is ‘undoubtedly a market leader’ and has been at the helm of a raft of headline deals recently, including advising the underwriters in Shire Acquisitions Investments Ireland’s $12.1bn senior debt offering, which was used to help fund Shire’s acquisition of Baxalta. William Whelan, another high-profile name, assisted the underwriters with two senior debt offerings by Express Scripts Holding worth a combined $6bn. Andrew Pitts also advised on several trophy deals, including acting for Royal Dutch Shell in two registered debt offerings totaling $12bn. Stephen Burns, William Fogg and up-and-coming partner Johnny Skumpija are also recommended. Kris Heinzelman retired in 2016.

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Capital markets: equity offerings

Within: Capital markets: equity offerings

The ‘first-class’ group at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP is widely lauded as ‘one of the best firms for underwriters’, but the New York-based team is also noted for advising issuers and continues to build on its company-side presence. Finance co-chair William Fogg is an ‘immensely talented lawyer’ and highly sought after by underwriters; he and Johnny Skumpija acted for the sales agents both in Freeport-McMoRan’s $1.5bn at-the-market offering, and in its $540m secondary at-the-market offering. North America capital markets head Andrew Pitts had a banner year and led on a slew of issuer and underwriter-side mandates, including advising Valvoline on its $759m IPO. Up-and-coming partner Scott Bennett also put in a strong performance; he acted with Pitts to advise the underwriters, led by Barclays, on Phillips 66 Partners’ $663m offering. Stephen Burns, LizabethAnn Eisen and William Whelan are also recommended. Kris Heinzelman retired in 2016.

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United States: Media, technology and telecoms

Telecoms and broadcast: transactional

Within: Telecoms and broadcast: transactional

At Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, the well-regarded Robert Townsend leads the practice, which focuses on advising telecoms companies such as Rogers Communications and Crown Castle on M&A, restructurings, high-profile financing transactions, tax and IP issues. Eric Schiele and Faiza Saeed are advising Time Warner on its acquisition by AT&T; they are also assisting Yahoo! with Verizon’s $4.8bn acquisition of its operating business. Stephen Burns, Damien Zoubek and Johnny Skumpija are key names to note; Skumpija advised Cox Communications on a $1bn debt offering. All attorneys mentioned are based in New York.

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