Cleary Gottlieb Wins Law360 2020 M&A Practice Group of the Year

December 15, 2020

Cleary Gottlieb has won Law360’s M&A Practice Group of the Year award for its significant role in many major deals in 2020.

The firm’s M&A team was recognized among the leading groups for its work advising International Flavor & Fragrances (IFF) in its $45.4 billion megamerger with Nutrition & Biosciences Inc., the nutrition and biosciences business of DuPont de Nemour Inc. Cleary worked with IFF on the deal, which used the relatively uncommon and tax-favorable reverse Morris trust structure. Cleary partner Paul Shim said, “Reverse Morris trusts are among the most complicated forms of M&A structures. Prior to 2019, it was the most talked-about but least executed form of transaction. In fact, back then you could count on your fingers and toes the number of deals that had actually been consummated using that structure.”

Law360 noted Cleary as advisor to Tech Data in its $6 billion sale to Apollo. Cleary worked with Tech Data’s board of directors when a rival bid from Berkshire Hathaway dropped in during the go-ship period. Cleary partner David Leinwand said, “You seldom see action during the go-shop period. During ours, though, Berkshire Hathaway dropped in with a bid that was higher and had very few conditions.” Ultimately Apollo agreed to increase its own offer. 

Law360 also noted Cleary’s work for Google on several deals throughout the year, including a its $2.1 billion acquisition of FitBit and $2.6 billion acquisition of Looker Data Sciences, and highlighted Cleary’s work for Schibsted ASA, the majority shareholder of Norwegian marketplace site Adevinta ASA, in Adevinta’s competitive $9.2 billion acquisition of eBay Inc.’s classified ads business. Cleary partner Benet O’Reilly said, “I think ultimately one of the things that eBay liked about the Adevinta proposal was that it had a big stock component. That was particularly attractive at that time given some of the uncertainties from COVID.”

This award is one of two Law360 Practice Group of the Year awards that the firm has received for 2020. To read Law360’s full profile on Cleary’s M&A group, click here.