Sullivan & Cromwell’s Arbitration Group is one of the world’s leading international dispute resolution practices.

S&C’s Arbitration Group analyzes issues and drafts mediation and arbitration clauses in international joint venture and other financial and commercial agreements. It advises on business decisions and plans that pose arbitration and litigation risks, and it represents clients in arbitration, mediation and other alternative dispute resolution proceedings.

The Firm has handled international disputes for more than a century and has unparalleled expertise and experience in this area. In particular, S&C offers expertise in international commercial arbitration, which has become a part of most major international disputes. The Firm develops strategies to resolve complex international disputes that involve multiple claims, parties, jurisdictions and parallel or closely related arbitral and judicial proceedings.

S&C’s arbitration lawyers are involved with numerous large-dollar-amount commercial arbitrations, along with a steady flow of sovereign work, typically for the investors.

The Firm has handled arbitrations administered by all of the major arbitral institutions, as well as ad hoc arbitrations, including proceedings under the following organizations’ rules:
  • American Arbitration Association
  • International Chamber of Commerce
  • London Court of International Arbitration
  • United Nations Commission on International Trade Law
  • International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes
  • Stockholm and Zurich chambers of commerce
  • Singapore International Arbitration Centre


Some of Sullivan & Cromwell’s recent international commercial arbitrations include representations of:
  • Anheuser-Busch and two of its affiliates, in an arbitration with Grupo Modelo that threatened Anheuser-Busch’s $60+ billion acquisition by InBev. A panel of three arbitrators in an ad hoc United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) arbitration dismissed all claims brought by Grupo Modelo—which sought approximately $2.5 billion in damages—and also awarded Anheuser-Busch its attorneys’ fees and costs.
  • Sonera Holding, obtaining an award of $932 million in damages, plus interest, costs and attorneys’ fees—one of the largest commercial arbitration awards in history—in its lengthy battle against Cukorova Holding over control of Turkcell Holding. The award by an International Chamber of Commerce tribunal in Geneva followed favorable 2007 and 2009 decisions by the Geneva tribunal and a favorable 2008 decision of a Vienna tribunal.
  • a private equity investment vehicle of a Middle Eastern country, in an arbitration before the American Arbitration Association. The arbitration was brought by the entity’s former co-chief investment officers, who sought approximately $700 million in alleged damages. After an 11-day hearing, the arbitrator denied the claimants’ claims in their entirety.
  • a South American company, as claimant in a $100 million International Chamber of Commerce arbitration concerning a joint venture in Saudi Arabia.
  • a European-headquartered bank, in International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) arbitrations of claims by Latin American investors arising out of the $60 billion Madoff Ponzi scheme.
  • NXP Semiconductors, in connection with a multiforum dispute, including an ICDR arbitration, brought by Exatel Visual Systems for $80 million arising out of claimed breaches of various commercial agreements regarding a set-top box venture. Four days into the ICDR arbitration hearing, Exatel dismissed its case and agreed to release NXP and its affiliates for zero consideration.
  • parties to various post-closing adjustment disputes arising out of mergers and acquisitions in a variety of industries, including insurance and chemical manufacturing.
Some of S&C’s recent investor-state, investment treaty and sovereign arbitration matters include representations of:
  • a U.S. owner of significant mining assets in Venezuela, in connection with actions by the Venezuelan government inconsistent with Venezuela’s grant of the mining concession, including with respect to potential arbitration claims against Venezuela and potential political-risk insurance claims.
  • Canadian owners of a mine in a former Soviet state, in connection with demands of the government to renegotiate the concession and other conduct, including preparation for possible arbitration under the UNCITRAL rules.
  • a project company, in a $4+ billion mining project in an African country, in connection with “creeping expropriatory” measures taken by the sovereign.
  • Paiton Energy, in arbitration with the government of Indonesia over the sale of electricity from the first large independent power project in Indonesia.
  • a cross-border investor, in a very unusual ad hoc, local-law arbitration with a Latin American sovereign arising out of a dispute relating to tariffs on an electric transmission facility. The arbitration was conducted by local outside counsel, in Spanish, under local law. S&C helped develop the strategy that got the parties into arbitration and guided the client in developing the procedures for an expeditious and ultimately successful arbitration.