GCR 100 - 8th Edition

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Professional notice

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett ranks 18th in the GCR 20, thanks in part to its high number of Who's Who nominees. The New York firm has five nominees. Practice head Kevin Arquit is described by a partner at a rival firm as "very, very sharp", while another says Kenneth Logan is a "terrific litigator". Partners Charles Koob, Aimee Goldstein and Joseph Tringali are "superb", according to their peers. Arman Oruc, who works in Washington, DC, was promoted to partner in January. All told, the firm has 54 antitrust lawyers, 23 of whom are partners.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
GCR 20

Global head: Kevin Arquit
Home jurisdiction: USA
Total size of firm: 760
No. of competition lawyers: 54
% of firm specialised: 7
Who's Who nominees: 5
Equity partners: 13
Senior associates: 11
Associates: 28
Other: 2
No. of lateral partner hires: 0
No. of partner departures:
No. of internal promotions: 1

Simpson Thacher places equal emphasis on deal work and litigation. This year, it worked on what it calls a "history-making US$13 billion merger of equals" between Sirius Satellite and XM Satellite Radio. Simpson Thacher has been representing Sirius before the US Department of Justice, the Federal Communications Commission, and in Congressional hearings.

Simpson Thacher is also advising DoubleClick on the proposed US$3.1 billion takeover by Google, another of the year's most significant deals. The firm is coordinating a response to the second request investigation opened by the Federal Trade Commission in May.

The firm also advised Dow Jones on its US$5.6 billion takeover by News Corporation, and Australian construction materials company Rinker on its takeover by Mexican rival Cemex.

Private-equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts retained Simpson Thacher for the DoJ's much-publicised investigation of whether private equity firms violate antitrust law when they make joint bids to take companies private. The firm also represented KKR in a putative private class action that followed the announcement of the investigation. The plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the private action following a Supreme Court ruling.

When Smithfield Foods, one of the world's largest meat producers, attempted to acquire its rival Premium Standard Farms, the company hired Simpson Thacher to represent it in a second request investigation by the DoJ, and in investigations by the state attorneys general of Missouri and North Carolina. In May, the department closed its investigation without requiring concessions. The states attorneys general followed suit.

A somewhat less high-profile matter was the firm's work for KeySpan Corporation in its US$11 billion sale to National Grid to create the third-largest energy delivery utility in the US. At the time of the transaction, KeySpan was the largest distributor of natural gas in the northeast and the fifth-largest energy delivery company in the country. The transaction was reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission. By presenting market-based arguments, the firm demonstrated that the sale would have no anti-competitive effects, and the transaction was cleared without a second request.

Litigation-wise, Simpson Thacher has had a successful year. For example, it represented MasterCard International in a number of interconnected civil and government proceedings, including private antitrust actions brought by American Express and Discover. The firm also won a case for MasterCard against Visa over penalty fees imposed by the latter for switching debit cards from Visa to MasterCard.

The firm also defended Weyerhaeuser in litigations accusing the company of engaging in predatory purchasing of alder sawlogs. The Supreme Court overturned a jury verdict against Weyerhaeuser, and established a new standard for predatory buying claims.

Simpson Thacher advised Virgin Atlantic on the air cargo price-fixing case. The company was not fined following the Department of Justice's investigation. Follow-on litigation is still pending.

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