Sullivan & Cromwell Bolsters Tech M&A Team with Top Dealmakers from Skadden

A well-known American law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell, announced that it has hired two top dealmakers from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. The new hires are expected to greatly improve Sullivan & Cromwell's tech-focused dealmaking capabilities in their Palo Alto office. Their background includes advising Elon Musk during his turbulent $44 billion acquisition of Twitter.

Although Sullivan & Cromwell boasts a storied M&A franchise, the firm has historically lacked a robust tech-focused team in its Palo Alto location, according to firm representative Ringler. The addition of these two seasoned dealmakers marks a strategic effort to address this gap. Ringler, who was pivotal in Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, initially advised Musk to terminate the deal in a July 2022 filing, citing breaches of the merger agreement by Twitter. However, following a lawsuit from Twitter, Musk ultimately completed the acquisition in October 2022, rebranding the social media platform as X.

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Both Sullivan & Cromwell and Skadden are ranked among the top U.S. law firms for M&A advisory services. In 2023, Skadden was the principal advisor on 205 deals worth $221 billion, making it the fifth largest in terms of announced global deals, according to data from the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG). Sullivan & Cromwell, on the other hand, was ranked ninth, advising on 113 global deals with a total value of $157 billion.

The new hires, Ringler and Jones, bring a wealth of experience to Sullivan & Cromwell. They recently represented cybersecurity firm Splunk in its $28 billion acquisition by Cisco Systems, a transaction that stands as Cisco’s largest-ever and received unconditional antitrust approval from EU regulators in March. Additionally, the duo represented engineering software vendor Ansys in its $35 billion acquisition by chip designer Synopsys. While specific clients were not disclosed, Ringler and Jones expressed great enthusiasm about their move to Sullivan & Cromwell, indicating a promising future for the firm’s tech M&A practice. The legal landscape for mergers and acquisitions is shifting, with leading U.S. and international law firms advising on fewer deals overall. However, the value of these transactions has increased as global M&A activity surged in the first quarter of 2024, according to LSEG figures.

Founded in New York, Skadden is renowned for its expertise in M&A, having been a principal advisor on numerous high-value transactions. Sullivan & Cromwell, also a heavyweight in the legal industry, continues to expand its reach and influence in the competitive M&A market. With these strategic hires, Sullivan & Cromwell is well-positioned to strengthen its presence in the technology sector and capitalize on the increasing demand for legal expertise in high-value mergers and acquisitions.