At the end of 2012, The Financial Times stated that Joseph C. Shenker is “one of the rare lawyers who can turn his hand to many legal disciplines.” This observation highlights Mr. Shenker’s practice that includes experience in negotiated mergers and acquisitions (public and private); domestic and cross-border joint ventures; the representation of private equity investors and family investment offices in the Americas, Europe and Asia; securities offerings; private and public financings; commercial real estate; and tax and estate planning.
A personal adviser to dozens of the world’s most active and influential business leaders and families, he has counseled clients on significant transactional matters across a number of practice areas and industry sectors.
Mr. Shenker joined S&C in 1980, became a partner of the Firm in 1986, coordinated the Firm’s global commercial real estate practice for over 20 years, has been a member of the Firm’s Management Committee since 1996, was named vice chairman of the Firm in 2006, and became chairman of the Firm on January 1, 2010.
Several recent articles have reported on Mr. Shenker’s new role as chairman:
- The New York Times recognized Mr. Shenker’s “sterling reputation,” highlighting his career in the M&A, real estate and securitization practice areas. “Mr. Shenker is the archetypal Wall Street lawyer: fast-talking, hard-working, brilliant, innovative and boisterous,” writes the Times.
- Some of Mr. Shenker’s goals as chairman, including a focus on the Firm’s growth trajectory and training programs for associates, were noted in an article published on Bloomberg.com. “We try to train people to be generalists and to be nimble in their transactions and their deals,” he said. “We are very attuned to shifts in the financial markets and we move with them.”
- In the New York Law Journal, H. Rodgin Cohen, who assumed the role of senior chairman, commented, “Joe’s proven to be an outstanding leader,” referring to the fact that Mr. Shenker had been named vice chairman in February 2006 and this transition was part of S&C’s succession plan.
- The American Lawyer stated that Mr. Shenker became the youngest partner in S&C history at the age of 29 and was an early 1980s pioneer in real estate securitization, working for Goldman Sachs on the financing of its headquarters in 1983 and the securitization and sale of Rockefeller Center.
Selected Clients and Transactions
- Frank McCourt in the $2.15 billion sale (including $412 million to pay down debt) of the Los Angeles Dodgers out of bankruptcy to Guggenheim Baseball Management. The transaction is the largest ever for a sports franchise
- The Heyman Family in its $3.2 billion sale of International Specialty Products Inc. to Ashland Inc.
- Vornado Realty Trust in all of its acquisition activity, including its joint venture acquisition of Toys “R” Us and its acquisitions of The Mendik Company, Americold, URS, Merchandise Mart and Charles E. Smith Commercial Properties
- International Consortium of investors, including the Goldman Sachs Whitehall Funds, the Niarchos and Agnelli families, David Rockefeller and Tishman Speyer Properties/Crown Equities in the acquisition by merger of Rockefeller Center Properties, Inc. and, four years later, in its sale – ranked by Institutional Investor as a 2001 Deal of the Year
- GS Capital Partners, Starwood Capital and Nomura Securities in the joint venture acquisition of Westin Hotels Companies, and, three years later, Westin Hotels in its sale by merger to Starwood Lodging Trust
- Multinational group of investors in the acquisition of Canary Wharf PLC (Mr. Shenker also served on the board of Canary Wharf) and, four years later, the same investor group in Canary Wharf's initial public offering after the acquisition as well as the Whitehall Funds in Canary Wharf's going-private transaction and, most recently, Songbird Estates plc (the new parent company of Canary Wharf Group) in its 2009 approximately £1 billion debt and equity recapitalization
- Goldman Sachs Whitehall Funds in numerous acquisitions and dispositions of publicly and privately traded companies worldwide, including Cadillac Fairview (Canada - both purchase and subsequent sale by merger as well as the subsequent sale of Cadillac Fairview US), Hillman Properties (both purchase and subsequent sale), Westminster Health Care Holdings PLC (U.K. - purchase), UNUM (Italy - purchase) and Kerzner International (Bahamas - management buyout)
- General Growth Properties, Inc. in its $12.6 billion acquisition (including the assumption of $5.4 billion debt) of The Rouse Company
Tax and Estate Planning
- Majority of the Pritzker Family Beneficiaries in the restructuring of the families’ worldwide assets ($25+ billion)
- The Tisch Family in their tax and family planning matters
- Numerous families of prominent corporate CEOs in their tax and estate planning and other personal matters
Private and Public Financing
- Majority of the Pritzker Family Beneficiaries in connection with the $950 million initial public offering of Hyatt Hotels Corporation
- Tisch and Mara families, owners of the New York Giants, and the New York Football Giants, Inc. in the $1.6 billion joint venture with the New York Jets to develop a new football stadium and entertainment and retail complex in the Meadowlands, New Jersey. The financing is the largest stadium financing ever to close in the United States and rivals the United Kingdom’s Wembley as the most expensive in the world – ranked by Project Finance Magazine as 2008 North American Leisure Deal of the Year
- The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. in connection with its new 2.2 million-square-foot world headquarters located on land leased from Battery Park City Authority in Lower Manhattan
- Soros Financial Management in its equity financing of the $1.4 billion acquisition of the GM Building – ranked by Institutional Investor as a 2003 Deal of the Year in the Real Estate category
Among his pro bono and community activities, Mr. Shenker is co-chairman of the board of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, one of New York City’s largest poverty aid organizations, a member of the Steering Committee of the board of visitors of Columbia Law School and a member of the board of trustees of The Mount Sinai Medical Center.
Mr. Shenker has been recognized in numerous publications, including Chambers, Euromoney, Mondaq, New York Super Lawyers and The Best Lawyers in America. In 2007, he was recognized for overall excellence as one of the “Top 100 New York Super Lawyers.” In 2004, The Real Deal profiled Mr. Shenker as one of the seven top real estate attorneys in New York whose practice stands out for its focus on capital markets as well as its broad-based focus on client services. He was also named the 2012 “New York City Real Estate Law Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers. Under Mr. Shenker’s leadership, S&C was recognized as U.S. Real Estate Law Firm of the Year at the 2012 ACQ Finance Magazine Law Awards. Mr. Shenker was interviewed in the September/October 2009 issue of Counsel to Counsel regarding the growing role that in-house counsel are playing in credit management.
- Named one of the “Top Ten Agents of Change” by The Financial Times’ U.S. Innovative Lawyers 2012 report (November 2012)
- Recognized as “Dealmaker of the Week” by The Am Law Daily for his role in the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers to Guggenheim Baseball Management (April 1, 2012)
- Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (Commercial Real Estate, 2003-2004, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012; REITS, 2010, 2011, 2012; Securities, 2010)
- Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business (REITs, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012; Commercial Real Estate, 2002-2003, 2003)
- “‘You cannot talk about Sullivan & Cromwell without mentioning Joe Shenker,’ declare clients. Recognized mainly for his work for Goldman Sachs and Whitehall, he enjoys a broad practice covering M&A, cross-border joint ventures and securities.”
- The Legal 500, United States, Volume IV (Commercial Real Estate, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
- New York Super Lawyers (Mergers, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012; Real Estate, Securities and Corporate Finance, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
- Euromoney’s Guide to the World’s Leading Lawyers: Best of the Best (Commercial Real Estate, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011)
- PLC Which Lawyer? Yearbook (Commercial Real Estate, 2003-2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
- PLC Cross-border Corporate Real Estate Handbook (2006-2007, 2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2012-2013)
- The International Who’s Who of Real Estate Lawyers (2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
- The Best Lawyers in America (Commercial Real Estate, 2005-2006, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013; Mergers, 2005-2006)
- Lawdragon 500: Leading Lawyers in America (Mergers, Commercial Real Estate, Corporate Governance, Bankruptcy, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009-2010, 2011, 2012; Banking and Finance, 2006)