Practice Areas & Industries: Sullivan & Cromwell LLP


Group Profile Lawyers in this Group Offices Locations for this Group

Practice/Industry Group Overview

Leader in Global M&A

Our lawyers bring to every client the same level of professionalism, attention to detail, creativity and commercial sensitivity. We represent major international corporations in their – and the world’s – largest and most visible transactions, and we represent smaller corporations whose transactions involve modest dollar amounts but, for them, enormous strategic significance.

Focus on Teamwork and Collaboration

Lawyers from multiple disciplines within the Firm work not only with each other and with our clients, but also with investment bankers, accountants, proxy solicitors and other advisers. This teamwork with our clients and our colleagues, a hallmark of S&C generally, is particularly important in the efficient execution of M&A transactions.

Approach Rooted in Transactional Realities

Our broad experience permits us to provide the best possible advice across the many issues that can arise in M&A, always guided by our clients’ commercial objectives. We are dedicated to meeting not only the needs of buyer and seller, but also to preserving the value of the entity being bought or sold by taking into account the needs and concerns of customers, employees, investors, lenders and other corporate constituents.

Leading M&A Experience

Sullivan & Cromwell consistently ranks at the top of the law firm league tables for M&A transactions as a result of our deep background of experience across industries, geography and transaction types. Over the past five years, S&C has been involved in eight of the top ten, representing a principal in three of the top five, announced M&A transactions worldwide and has continued to advise on high-profile cross-border and domestic transactions outside the United States.

S&C always seeks to understand our clients’ unique business needs and tailor our legal advice to the requirements of each specific engagement. Through this approach, S&C has remained the leading law firm for global M&A, advising principals in more than $1.46 trillion in total transaction value over the last five years (source: Bloomberg). S&C represents a wide range of clients in significant M&A transactions across myriad industries, including financial services, healthcare, technology and consumer goods, among several others. As clients face the challenge of tightened credit markets, the Firm has successfully created innovative ways of financing transactions and continues to act as counsel in many of the world’s largest deals.

Top Rankings in 2011 M&A

Consistent with our past record of top rankings, Sullivan & Cromwell led the field by value of M&A transactions announced worldwide in 2011 (sources: Bloomberg, Dealogic, mergermarket and Thomson Reuters). S&C also ranked as the #1 legal adviser by value for deals announced in the United States (Dealogic, mergermarket and Thomson Reuters), and as the #1 U.S. firm in Europe (Bloomberg, Dealogic, mergermarket and Thomson Reuters) during the period.

Recent Achievements

  • On January 10, 2012, mergermarket and the Financial Times named S&C “Latin America Legal Advisor of the Year” as part of their 2011 Americas’ M&A Awards. 
  • In November 2011, Law360 recognized New York partner James Morphy among its “MVPs” for M&A, honoring lawyers whose accomplishments in major transactions have raised the bar in corporate law in 2011. 
  • In November 2011, U.S. News & World Report recognized Sullivan & Cromwell as a tier one firm for M&A nationwide in its “Best Law Firms” survey. Clients praised the Firm’s M&A practice in the survey: 
    • “Sullivan & Cromwell is the best corporate law firm in the world.” 
    • “Sullivan & Cromwell is always ahead of the curve in terms of understanding developments in M&A law and they have a thorough understanding of all relevant precedents.” 
    • “Sullivan & Cromwell is the firm you want when you need the best M&A lawyers for a critical deal.”
  • On April 1, 2011, New York M&A partner and co-head of S&C’s Healthcare and Life Sciences practice, Keith Pagnani, was recognized as “Dealmaker of the Year” by The American Lawyer for his representation of Alcon’s independent directors committee (IDC) in Novartis’s $12.9 billion acquisition of the remaining publicly-held minority interest in Alcon. 
  • On January 18, 2011, Law360 named S&C’s mergers and acquisitions practice its “Corporate Finance Group of the Year” for 2010. 
  • In its January 2011 issue, The American Lawyer selected New York M&A partner Audra Cohen for its “45 under 45” list, an honor meant to identify the best of the best among young women lawyers in The Am Law 200. 
  • Since 2009, five of our M&A partners have been recognized as “Dealmakers of the Year” by The American Lawyer and nine have been recognized as “Dealmakers of the Week” by The Am Law Daily – more than any other firm.

Leading Advisory Roles in Global Credit Crisis

At the vanguard of critical issues and developments affecting financial institutions, S&C has remained the chosen firm of leading global financial institutions seeking non-traditional investments, sales and restructuring arrangements in connection with the global credit crisis.

Selected representations include: Barclays in its acquisition of Lehman Brothers’ North American investment banking and capital markets operations; J.C. Flowers in its investment in IndyMac; JPMorgan Chase in its acquisition of Washington Mutual; National City in its sale to PNC; and Wachovia in its merger with Wells Fargo.