David A Katz
Office:
51 West 52nd Street
10019
City:
New York
State:
New York
Country:
USA
Tel:
+1 212 403 1309
Fax:
+1 212 403 2309

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders Global Elite

David A Katz is a partner at Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz. Mr Katz is a corporate attorney focusing on the areas of mergers and acquisitions, shareholder activism and complex securities transactions. He has been involved in many major domestic and international corporate merger, acquisition and buyout transactions, strategic defence assignments and proxy contests, and has been involved in a number of complex public and private offerings and corporate restructurings. He also counsels boards of directors and board committees on corporate governance matters and crisis management.

What are the most common issues facing your clients at the moment?

Our clients, whether they are located in the US or internationally, are very concerned about the volatility and uncertainty manifested in the current political environment, whether that be Brexit, the current administration in Washington or the potential for significant trade wars. Our clients are also facing concerns about increased costs where there may be a limited opportunity to pass them along to customers. Therefore, cost-cutting opportunities through consolidating transactions are often quite beneficial.

What aspect of your work do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy interacting with my clients and gaining a better understanding of their businesses, while tackling the complicated issues that the client faces at that particular moment. My work requires me to analyse a particular situation, try to think three steps ahead, and then plan for the various contingencies. It is the challenge of navigating the complexity of a particular situation while seeking the best outcome for the client that I relish.

How are the Trump administration’s trade decisions impacting the field of mergers and acquisitions?

It is creating uncertainty in a circumstance where it is already difficult for clients to measure clearly the benefits that can be achieved from a well-structured and thoughtfully considered transaction. While uncertainty may create opportunities, it also tends to increase costs. When it becomes difficult to measure the benefits of a transaction and weigh the benefits against uncertain costs, clients are less likely to pursue a transaction. Trade protectionism can turn into isolationism, which will make it much harder to complete cross-border transactions. Greater regulation in this area can chill M&A activity and dampen enthusiasm for beneficial combinations.

Sources have frequently referenced rising price-earnings ratios as a concern. Do you expect there to be a stock market correction over the coming months?

Unfortunately, there is likely to be a significant stock market correction within the next year or two. The heightened volatility that we see in today’s markets can easily foster a prolonged downturn if external events on the world stage trigger widespread concern regarding economic opportunities. When individuals seek to have comfort in the markets and move towards “safer” opportunities, the financial markets are likely to suffer. When the correction comes, it is likely to take longer to recover than was the case during prior downturns.

What steps can be taken by companies to mitigate cybersecurity risks?

This is an area where companies must be proactive and not reactive. In my view, this means understanding the cybersecurity risks that a particular company faces and how they can be both avoided and mitigated. Despite best efforts, not every cyber risk can be planned for, so companies need to be ready to mitigate the risk when it manifests itself. Unfortunately, this is a constantly evolving environment and it can be very expensive to attempt to stay one step ahead of potential bad actors while enhancing the redundancy of a particular company’s various computer systems. Too many companies underinvest in this area until they are a victim and that needs to change.

What more can be done to improve gender diversity in the boardroom?

We all need to be more open to giving female board candidates their first board position. To the extent that companies are only willing to select women who have prior board experience, they are artificially limiting the pool of potential candidates. While prior experience can be beneficial, it can also be limiting and only by broadening the field of potential candidates can we achieve greater gender diversity in the boardroom and in the executive suite.

What impact are technological innovations having on the field of mergers and acquisitions?

Technology is making it easier to undertake complex due diligence much more quickly. At the same time, technology (and its intellectual property underpinnings) create additional risks to integration. There are tremendous opportunities to harness artificial intelligence to better understand risks and how to best mitigate them in the context of an M&A transaction. Every day new tools are created and it is up to the M&A professional to determine how to best harness the opportunity.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career in this field?

First and foremost, understand that you are in the client service business. Therefore, you need to understand who your client is and what they are seeking to achieve. It is the client’s goals that are paramount and you need to be constantly focused on the best path to achieving them. Never put your interests above the client’s and never stop thinking about different alternatives to achieve the client’s goals. Make sure that you are up to, and enjoy, the challenge – there are no shortcuts. Above all, maintain your integrity – you only get to lose it once (and then it is too late).

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Capital Markets: Debt and Equity

David A Katz is a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York City, an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law, a senior professional fellow at New York University Center for Law and Business, and an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University Law School. Previously, he was an adjunct professor of management at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. Mr Katz is a corporate attorney focusing on the areas of mergers and acquisitions, shareholder activism and complex securities transactions, has been involved in many major domestic and international corporate merger, acquisition and buyout transactions, strategic defence assignments and proxy contests, and has been involved in a number of complex public and private offerings and corporate restructurings. He also counsels boards of directors and board committees on corporate governance matters and crisis management.

Mr Katz has taught mergers and acquisitions at New York University School of Law for over 15 years and co-teaches a joint law and business short course on mergers and acquisitions at Vanderbilt University Law School.

In 2004, he was chosen by The American Lawyer as one of the 45 highest performing members of the private bar under the age of 45; in 2005, 2012 and 2015, he was selected by The American Lawyer as a Dealmaker of the Year; in 2015, he was named by NACD Directorship as one of the 100 most influential players in corporate governance for the fourth consecutive year and for the sixth time overall; in 2013 he was named Lawyer of the Year by Global M&A Network; in 2014 and each of the five prior years he has been named Who's Who Legal's Mergers and Acquisitions Lawyer of the Year, in 2014 was also named Who’s Who Legal’s Corporate Governance Lawyer of the Year and in 2015 he was named Who's Who Legal's Corporate Governance and M&A Lawyer of the Year; and in 2015 he was elected by the American College of Governance Counsel as an inaugural class fellow.

Mr Katz is a member of the American Bar Association, section on business law, where he is co-chair of the committee on mergers and acquisitions task force on the dictionary of M&A terms and a member of the committee on mergers and acquisitions subcommittee for acquisitions of public companies. Mr Katz is co-chair of the Tulane Corporate Law Institute and is also a member of the federal securities laws committee, the New York State Bar Association and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Mr Katz is a member of the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals and the National Association of Corporate Directors. He sits on the board of directors of The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and is a member of the advisory board at the John L Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. He writes a bi-monthly column on corporate governance for the New York Law Journal.

Mr Katz is a graduate of Brandeis University and New York University School of Law.

WWL says: David Katz is a seasoned expert in securities law and is regularly engaged to advise on high-value capital market transactions.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Capital Markets which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Corporate: Merger & Acquisition

David A Katz is a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York City, an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law, a senior professional fellow at New York University Center for Law and Business, and an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University Law School. Previously, he was an adjunct professor of management at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. Mr Katz is a corporate attorney focusing on the areas of mergers and acquisitions, shareholder activism and complex securities transactions, has been involved in many major domestic and international corporate merger, acquisition and buyout transactions, strategic defence assignments and proxy contests, and has been involved in a number of complex public and private offerings and corporate restructurings. He also counsels boards of directors and board committees on corporate governance matters and crisis management.

Mr Katz has taught mergers and acquisitions at New York University School of Law for over 15 years and co-teaches a joint law and business short course on mergers and acquisitions at Vanderbilt University Law School.

In 2004, he was chosen by The American Lawyer as one of the 45 highest performing members of the private Bar under the age of 45; in 2005, 2012 and 2015, he was selected by The American Lawyer as a Dealmaker of the Year; in 2015, he was named by NACD Directorship as one of the 100 most influential players in corporate governance for the fourth consecutive year and for the sixth time overall; in 2013 he was named Lawyer of the Year by Global M&A Network; in 2014 and each of the five prior years he has been named Who's Who Legal's Mergers and Acquisitions Lawyer of the Year, in 2014 was also named Who’s Who Legal’s Corporate Governance Lawyer of the Year and in 2015 he was named Who's Who Legal's Corporate Governance and M&A Lawyer of the Year; and in 2015 he was elected by The American College of Governance Counsel as an inaugural class fellow.

Mr Katz is a member of the American Bar Association, section on business law, where he is co-chair of the committee on mergers and acquisitions task force on the dictionary of M&A terms and a member of the committee on mergers and acquisitions subcommittee for acquisitions of public companies. Mr Katz is co-chair of the Tulane Corporate Law Institute and is also a member of the federal securities laws committee, the New York State Bar Association and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Mr Katz is a member of the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals and the National Association of Corporate Directors. He sits on the board of directors of The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and is a member of the advisory board at the John L Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. He writes a bi-monthly column on corporate governance for the New York Law Journal.

Mr Katz is a graduate of Brandeis University and New York University School of Law. 

WWL says: David Katz is renowned for his exceptional work handling significant national and cross-border transactions.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Corporate which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Corporate: Corporate Governance

David A Katz is a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York City, an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law, a senior professional fellow at New York University Center for Law and Business, and an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University Law School. Previously, he was an adjunct professor of management at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. Mr Katz is a corporate attorney focusing on the areas of mergers and acquisitions, shareholder activism and complex securities transactions, has been involved in many major domestic and international corporate merger, acquisition and buyout transactions, strategic defence assignments and proxy contests, and has been involved in a number of complex public and private offerings and corporate restructurings. He also counsels boards of directors and board committees on corporate governance matters and crisis management.

Mr Katz has taught mergers and acquisitions at New York University School of Law for over 15 years and co-teaches a joint law and business short course on mergers and acquisitions at Vanderbilt University Law School.

In 2004, he was chosen by The American Lawyer as one of the 45 highest performing members of the private Bar under the age of 45; in 2005, 2012 and 2015, he was selected by The American Lawyer as a Dealmaker of the Year; in 2015, he was named by NACD Directorship as one of the 100 most influential players in corporate governance for the fourth consecutive year and for the sixth time overall; in 2013 he was named Lawyer of the Year by Global M&A Network; in 2014 and each of the five prior years he has been named Who's Who Legal's Mergers and Acquisitions Lawyer of the Year, in 2014 was also named Who’s Who Legal’s Corporate Governance Lawyer of the Year and in 2015 he was named Who's Who Legal's Corporate Governance and M&A Lawyer of the Year; and in 2015 he was elected by The American College of Governance Counsel as an inaugural class fellow.

Mr Katz is a member of the American Bar Association, section on business law, where he is co-chair of the committee on mergers and acquisitions task force on the dictionary of M&A terms and a member of the committee on mergers and acquisitions subcommittee for acquisitions of public companies. Mr Katz is co-chair of the Tulane Corporate Law Institute and is also a member of the federal securities laws committee, the New York State Bar Association and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Mr Katz is a member of the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals and the National Association of Corporate Directors. He sits on the board of directors of The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and is a member of the advisory board at the John L Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. He writes a bi-monthly column on corporate governance for the New York Law Journal.

Mr Katz is a graduate of Brandeis University and New York University School of Law. 

WWL says: David Katz is “the number one guy” for corporate work according to sources who consider him to be “really the best”.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Corporate which can be purchased from our Shop.

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