A powerhouse in restructuring, M&A, private equity and
litigation, Weil, Gotshal & Manges has long been one of the
world's leading law firms. Buoyed by its role as the go-to
bankruptcy firm, Weil has been a fixture at the top of law firm
rankings, including The American Lawyer's "A-List" and
To New York and Beyond
Weil was founded in New York in 1931 and now overlooks the
City's playground, Central Park, from its Fifth Avenue office. With
more than 1,200 lawyers scattered throughout Europe, the United
States, Asia and the Middle East, the firm bases over half of its
20 offices overseas and has a tradition of jumping on expansion
opportunities (e.g., heading off to Warsaw shortly after the fall
of the Iron Curtain). Recent additions to the real estate portfolio
are offices in Munich, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing and Dubai. The
growth has only spurred the firm's successes, as it continues to be
one of the highest-grossing law firms.
Weil fields one of the most respected and effective
restructuring departments in the world-the firm was integral in the
high-profile reshufflings of WorldCom and Enron (which earned the
firm over $150 million in fees) and has held prominent roles in the
largest insolvencies in history, which include General Motors and
Restructuring talk would hardly be complete without mention of
the linchpin of the financial meltdown: Lehman Brothers. As the
renowned Wall Street bank went under, Lehman Brothers retained
Weil's Harvey Miller to handle its Chapter 11 filing with a debt of
$613 billion, the largest in history.
In what is potentially the largest corporate restructuring in
American history, Weil has counseled AIG in connection with the
company's divestiture and restructuring program, brought to
national attention by several recapitalizations footed by the U.S.
Treasury and the Federal Reserve. The firm's Securities Litigation
practice also represented AIG in connection with inquiries by
congressional committees, congressionally-appointed commissions and
panels, and federal agencies-including the SEC, the DOJ, multiple
state attorney generals' offices, the U.S. Office of the Special
Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the U.K.
Serious Fraud Office, the U.K. Financial Services Authority-arising
out of AIG's subprime-related losses, receipt of emergency funding
by the federal government in late 2008, and compensation issues.
The DOJ, SEC, U.K. SFA and the U.K. FSA all closed their
investigations without initiating any proceedings against AIG (or
any of its current or former employees).
At the Court, in the Field and on the Ice
While raking in the restructuring dollars, Weil has also built a
fierce sports and entertainment practice on the shoulders of
partner James Quinn. He eliminated the NBA's antitrust immunity
through a lawsuit filed on behalf Oscar Robertson. He later
negotiated basketball's first collective bargaining agreement.
Quinn and fellow litigator Bruce Meyer were brought in by the
National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) to help restart
talks between the NBA and players' representatives, in an attempt
to end the 149-day lockout that was threatening the 2012
professional basketball season. The lockout followed the expiration
of the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NBA
and the NBPA, then the players' union. Quinn and Meyer were
involved in a series of "behind the scenes" meetings with NBA
officials, culminating in a Friday-night-into-Saturday-morning
session that resulted in the agreement ending the lockout and
saving the 2012 NBA season. Meyer led the team for the final
marathon negotiating session that resulted in the deal, announced
from a conference room at Weil's New York office.
Not content to reshape just one professional sport, Quinn then
opened the door to NFL free agency by winning a jury verdict
favoring the players in McNeil v. NFL. Not surprisingly, NFL
players turned to Weil during lockout for the 2011-2012 season. In
addition to its work on the free agency and collective bargaining
landscape, Weil has also handled the sale of NHL's Tampa Bay
Lightning and MLB's Texas Rangers to new owners and represents
individual athletes in employment negotiations.
From the fields to the air waves: the firm has advised on an
impressive range of media-related deals in the last few years,
including its representation of General Electric in its $37.25
billion joint venture with Comcast for ownership of NBCUniversal
and Comcast's cable channels and regional sports networks; Citadel
Broadcasting Corporation in its merger with Cumulus Media, Inc.;
China Media Capital on its agreement with News Corporation to
acquire a controlling stake in three Chinese television
channels-Xing Kong, Xing Kong International and Channel [V]
Mainland China-and its Fortune Star Chinese movie library; and
DIRECTV in its $28.5 billion merger with Liberty Entertainment,
But the firm's corporate expertise covers other industries as
well, including financial institutions, technology, transportation
and even art. Weil has been the go-to counsel for some of the
biggest names in these industries, including Sotheby's (in its $300
million senior notes offering), Facebook (in its acquisition of
Parse, a provider of cloud-based software developer kits for mobile
devices), and Centerbridge Partners (in its $1.1 billion
acquisition of P.F. Chang's).
IN THE NEWS
Weil is representing Facebook in its $16 billion acquisition of
WhatsApp, a provider of a cross-platform mobile messaging
application that allows a client to exchange messages without
having to pay for short messaging service (SMS).
The More the Merrier
In April, Weil announced that Assistant Director of the FTC Bureau
of Competition Jeff Perry will join the Washington office as
partner in the Global Antitrust/Competition Practice. Also in
April, partner Andrew Wilkinson (Business Finance &
Restructuring) joined the London office; in February, counsel Adam
Safwat (White Collar Defense & Investigations) joined the
Washington office; in January, partner Albert Cho (Private Funds
Group) joined the Hong Kong office and partner Chris McLaughlin
(Banking & Finance) joined the London office; and in November,
partner Courtney Marcus (Banking & Finance) rejoined the Dallas
Loved by lululemon
Weil successfully represented lululemon athletica in securities
class action litigation brought against the company in connection
with its decision to pull certain merchandise from stores due to an
unacceptable level of sheerness. Rejecting the plaintiff's
allegations regarding falsity, scienter, and loss causation, the
Southern District of New York dismissed all claims.
Defending E-Book Publishers in the SDNY
Weil achieved a significant victory for Simon & Schuster, Inc.
("S&S") by securing the dismissal in a putative antitrust class
action filed by a group of independent bricks-and-mortar bookstores
against S&S, other major e-book publishers, and Amazon.com,
alleging claims of unlawful agreements and monopolization in
violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Ruling on motions to
dismiss filed by S&S and the other defendants, Judge Rakoff in
the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York found
that the plaintiffs' complaint was insufficient to support their
antitrust claims and dismissed it with prejudice.
American Airlines and US Airways Join Forces
Weil represented American Airlines and its affiliates in
their chapter 11 cases, including American's approximately $18
billion merger with US Airways Group which was effected pursuant to
a plan of reorganization. The recent merger and plan consummation
marked the successful conclusion of one of the highest-profile
corporate restructurings in the country that delivered a full
recovery to creditors and an extraordinary distribution to AMR's
existing shareholders, a first for a major airline bankruptcy.
Did You Say $29 Billion?
Weil is representing Applied Materials Inc., a Santa Clara,
California-based leader in semiconductor equipment manufacturing,
in its merger with Japan-based Tokyo Electron Ltd., to create a new
company with a combined market capitalization of approximately $29
billion (2.8 trillion yen).