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Francis J. Aquila

Partner

Francis J. Aquila

Partner
New York +1-212-558-4048+1-212-558-4048 +1-212-558-3588+1-212-558-3588
aquilaf@sullcrom.com

Frank Aquila has a broad multidisciplinary practice that includes extensive experience in negotiated and unsolicited mergers and acquisitions; activist and takeover defense; complex cross-border transactions; global joint ventures; and private equity transactions. He also regularly counsels boards of directors and board committees on corporate governance matters and crisis management. Mr. Aquila serves as a regular adviser to global leaders such as Amgen, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Avon, Diageo, International Airline Group, Navistar International and United Rentals.

Mr. Aquila has been repeatedly cited as one of the world’s leading mergers and acquisitions lawyers. He has been recognized as one of a small number of lawyers ranked by Chambers Global in Band 1 (their top tier), as an American Lawyer “Dealmaker of the Year” and as a recipient of the Atlas Award as “Global M&A Lawyer of the Year.” For his work in corporate governance, Mr. Aquila has been named by the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) to their “Directorship 100” – one of the 100 most influential people in corporate governance and inside the boardroom. He is also a two-time winner of the Burton Award for Legal Achievement (2005 and 2010). In 2009 Mr. Aquila was selected by the American Bar Association as a “Legal Rebel” – one of the profession’s 50 leading innovators.  Law360 named him a Life Sciences MVP in 2013.

Mr. Aquila was the co-managing partner of Sullivan & Cromwell's General Practice Group and in that role he was responsible for almost 500 lawyers in 12 offices around the world. This group includes the Firm's corporate, financial services, securities, mergers & acquisitions, corporate governance, real estate, leveraged finance, private equity, project finance, restructuring and intellectual property transactional practices. Mr. Aquila is currently a member of the Firm’s Management Committee.

Professional Activities and Community Involvement

  • Has chaired numerous Practising Law Institute's "going private" transactions conferences and regularly chairs a number of PLI's "Hot Topic" Briefings every year
  • Frequent author and commentator on M&A, corporate governance and related trends on Bloomberg Radio, Bloomberg TV, CNBC and Fox Business and former columnist for Business Week
  • Board of Trustees (former Chair) of The NALP Foundation for Law Career Research and Education
  • Board of Directors of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR)
  • Board of Directors of Dress for Success Worldwide
  • Board of Trustees of Brooklyn Law School
  • Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Economic Club of New York and the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity
  • Fellow of the American Bar Foundation

Rankings and Recognitions

  • Law360 Life Sciences MVP (2013)
  • Recognized in The Legal 500 United States (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
  • Listed in the IFLR1000 as a “Leading Lawyer” (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
  • The Best of the Best USA 2013, Euromoney Legal Media Group
  • Lawdragon 500: Leading Lawyers in America (2009-2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
  • The American Lawyer, “Dealmaker of the Year” (April 2009)
  • The American Lawyer, “Dealmaker of the Week” (November 21, 2008 and September 3, 2013)
  • Recipient of the Atlas Award as the “Global M&A Lawyer of the Year” in 2010
  • Selected by the American Bar Association in 2009 as a “Legal Rebel” – one of the profession’s 50 leading innovators
  • Recognized as a leading M&A lawyer in The Lawyer, “Transatlantic Elite” (2008, 2009)
  • Recipient of the Burton Award for Legal Achievement (2005, 2010)
  • Featured twice in The American Lawyer, “Daddy’s Weekend on the Phone” (January 2002) and “Supersonic Lawyers” (May 2004)
  • Featured in The Wall Street Journal, “Business Trips Leave Little Time for Luxuries” (May 31, 1996)
  • Cited in Seeing the World Through Clients’ Eyes (Nisus Consulting) as an adviser who had “really gone the extra mile and surpassed your expectations” (2004)

Mergers and Acquisitions

  • Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2004-2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2003-2004, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
  • Guide to the World’s Leading Mergers and Acquisitions Lawyers, Euromoney Legal Media Group/International Financial Law Review (2001, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
  • The Definitive Guide to Europe’s Leading Advisers: Are Your Advisers Giving You the Edge? (mergermarket)
  • PLC Cross-border Mergers and Acquisitions Handbook (2006/2007, 2007/2008, 2008/2009, 2009/2010, 2010/2011, 2011/2012, 2012/2013, 2013/2014)
  • PLC Global Counsel Mergers & Acquisitions Handbook, Practical Law Company (2003, 2004, 2005, 2012, 2013, 2014)
  • PLC Which Lawyer? Yearbook, Practical Law Company (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
  • New York Super Lawyers (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)
  • The Best Lawyers in America (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)
  • The International Who’s Who of Merger & Acquisition Lawyers (2010, 2011, 2012)

Corporate Governance

  • Directorship 100 The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) (2011, 2012, 2013)
  • PLC Which Lawyer? Yearbook (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
  • PLC Cross-border Directors’ Duties and Liabilities Handbook (2009/2010, 2010/2011, 2011/2012, 2012/2013, 2013/2014)
  • PLC Cross-border Corporate Governance Handbook (2007/2008, 2008/2009, 2009/2010, 2010/2011, 2011/2012, 2012/2013, 2013/2014)
  • New York Super Lawyers (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)
  • The International Who’s Who of Corporate Governance Lawyers (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)

Leveraged Buyouts and Private Equity

  • The Best Lawyers in America (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)


SELECTED REPRESENTATIONS

  • InBev in its unsolicited acquisition of Anheuser-Busch
  • Anheuser-Busch InBev in its re-acquisition of Oriental Brewery Co. from KKR & Co. and Affinity Equity Partners, its acquisition of Grupo Modelo, its sale of Compañía Cervecera de Coahuila and a 50% interest in Crown to Constellation Brands, and the sale of Busch Entertainment
  • Amgen in acquisitions of Abgenix, BioVex, deCODE Genetics, Onyx and Micromet, and their collaborations with Kirin, Takeda and Watson Pharmaceuticals
  • International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) in its acquisition of Vueling, and British Airways in its combination with Iberia to form IAG and in its joint venture with American Airlines
  • Diageo in its acquisition of Seagram Wines and Spirits and its divestiture of Burger King
  • Avon Products in its acquisition of Silpada Designs and its divestiture of Avon Japan
  • United Rentals in its acquisitions of RSC Holdings and National Pump and its joint venture with Fluor
  • Pharmacia & Upjohn in its merger with Monsanto, and Upjohn in its earlier merger with Pharmacia
  • Collective Brands in its sale to a consortium including Wolverine Worldwide and in its acquisition of Stride Rite
  • EchoStar in its attempted acquisition of Hughes Electronics from General Motors
  • Western Resources in its hostile bids for ADT and KCP&L
  • Pillsbury in its merger with General Mills
  • Optimer Pharmaceuticals in its acquisition by Cubist Pharmaceuticals
  • Navistar International with respect to its agreements with Icahn Partners and MHR Fund Management