Each year, a significant chunk of the world's
dealmaking-major mergers and acquisitions, antitrust and
shareholder litigation, big name restructurings and
multi-billion-dollar real estate ventures-gets cranked through the
well-greased machine that is Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.
Manning the apparatus are a gifted few, whose compensation far
outstrips industry standards. While it may not be the biggest or
the highest revenue-maker as a firm, it is the most profitable
place in the world to practice law. Wachtell Lipton is one of the
smallest firms in the AmLaw 100, but it is continually one of the
top firms (and usually the top firm) when it comes to PPP, and it
stands above the going market rate for first-year associate
The New York Four
Founded in 1965 by four princes of NYU's Law
Review-Herbert Wachtell, Martin Lipton, Leonard Rosen and George
Katz-this resolutely New York firm still operates from a single
Manhattan office. Public-interest-law champion Katz died young, at
57, in 1989. The rest of the founders remain at the firm: Wachtell
and Lipton as partners and Rosen as Of Counsel. In 1982, Lipton-who
recently topped New York Magazine's list of the most
influential lawyers in New York-actually created the "poison pill,"
one of the most famous and enduring ways to protect shareholders'
History of Excellence
What sets the firm apart, even rivals concede, is that in
a city of razor-sharp competitors, no other quite matches what
Wachtell Lipton does. From its early days, the firm steered clear
of run-of-the-mill corporate matters, choosing messier, riskier
work. As such, Wachtell Lipton relies far less on bread-and-butter
clients and politely declines more plebeian (if nonetheless
profitable) engagements. The firm was one of the first to
link its fees to deal value, a model that became the aspiration of
most major M&A houses.
Historic matters for the firm include the death's door
resuscitation of Chrysler in the 1970s. The firm also played a key
role in the much-publicized acquisition of Getty Oil Company, in
which Texaco's "white knight" offer was heralded as one of the
greatest acquisitions in history. In more recent history, the firm
has seen great success with LBOs and IPOs, corporate restructurings
and other finance matters. It took the lead on what some observers
have called the most complex real estate deal in history: the
successful negotiation of a master development agreement for the
World Trade Center site following September 11th.
Hard Times = Cold Cash
Wachtell Lipton's more recent work reflects its dominance
as a corporate finance powerhouse as well as the economic climate's
provision of M&A and restructuring work. The firm represented
Bank of America as it acquired Merrill Lynch, co-advised the U.S.
Department of the Treasury when the government took over AIG, and
advised the Feds during the takeover of mortgage giants Freddie Mac
and Fannie Mae.
IN THE NEWS
Lucky Number Seven
Wachtell Lipton, as part of its continuing representation of Bank
of America on mortgage-related matters, reached a ground-breaking,
multifaceted settlement with MBIA resolving seven major litigations
and numerous business issues, another milestone in resolving issues
from the mortgage crisis.
and May 2013
Wachtell Lipton advised on all three of the largest private equity
multi-billion dollar buyouts this year-Dell, Heinz and BMC
Software. Wachtell Lipton advised Michael Dell in his pending $24.4
billion buyout of Dell with Silver Lake; the Transaction Committee
of the Board of Directors of Heinz in its $28 billion sale to
Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital; and BMC Software in its $6.9
billion sale to a private investor group led by Bain Capital and
Golden Gate Capital together with the Government of Singapore's GIC
Special Investment fund and Insight Venture Partners.
Dealmaker of the Year
Corporate Partner David K. Lam was named 2013 Dealmaker of the Year
by The American Lawyer for the $54 billion
spin-off of AbbVie from Abbott Laboratories and related financing
and restructuring. IFR declared AbbVie's bond issuance the "U.S.
Dollar Bond of the Year."
and February 2013
Resorting to Victory
The firm successfully represented Wynn Resorts and its board of
directors in preliminary injunction proceedings in state and
federal court arising out of a multi-billion-dollar share
redemption and the subsequent removal for cause of the redeemed
shareholder's principal from the board of the leading resort and
Unanimous for Goldman Sachs
The Wachtell Lipton trial team achieved a unanimous jury verdict
for Goldman Sachs in a federal action challenging its investment
and December 2012
Second Time's the Charm!
Wachtell Lipton advised Deutsche Telekom in its combination of
T-Mobile with MetroPCS at a $30 billion enterprise valuation after
previously advising Deutsche Telekom in its $39 billion agreed sale
of T-Mobile to AT&T. Wachtell Lipton also advised NYSE Euronext
in its merger with the IntercontinentalExchange after representing
NYSE Euronext in its $23.4 billion agreed merger with Deutsche