Francis J. Aquila

Faculty Member & Author at Practising Law Institute

Francis J. Aquila

Francis J. Aquila

Faculty Member & Author at Practising Law Institute

Biography

In December 2018, The Financial Times described Frank Aquila as “one of the most influential and high-profile M&A and corporate lawyers in the U.S.” who has “played a role in many of the largest and most complex deals.” In December 2019, Mr. Aquila was one of the dealmakers profiled in an article in The Financial Times titled “Deal lawyers are masters of seeing the next move.” The Wall Street Journal profiled him as one of the six top dealmakers of the year in 2019 and one of the seven top dealmakers in 2018. These recognitions highlight Mr. Aquila’s consistently broad multidisciplinary practice.

During the course of his career, Mr. Aquila has advised on deals totaling more than $1 trillion in value, including advising on more than $100 billion in 2019. He has been called upon by global leaders such as Amgen, Andeavor, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Cheniere Energy, Diageo, Diebold Nixdorf, International Airline Group, Kraft, Navistar International, Novartis, Tiffany & Co. and United Rentals to advise them and their boards of directors on M&A, proxy contests, activism, unsolicited bids, corporate governance, crisis management and a range of matters affecting corporate policy and strategy.

Mr. Aquila has been universally recognized as one of the world’s leading mergers and acquisitions lawyers. The strength of his practice has resulted in his being one of only a handful of lawyers who has been ranked by Chambers Global in Band 1 (their top tier), as an American Lawyer “Dealmaker of the Year,” as a recipient of the Atlas Award as “Global M&A Lawyer of the Year” and as a three-time Law360 MVP. For his work in corporate governance, Mr. Aquila has been named several times by the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) to their “Directorship 100” as one of the 100 most influential people in corporate governance and inside the boardroom. Best Lawyers in America named Mr. Aquila as its 2017 Corporate Governance Law “Lawyer of the Year.” In 2014, Global M&A Network recognized him as one of the top 50 lawyers in the world.

Mr. Aquila is widely acknowledged as an innovator and thought leader in the profession. In 2018, Mr. Aquila was recognized by The Financial Times as one of the Top 10 Legal Innovators in North America. In 2015, The FT also recognized his representation of Kraft in its merger with Heinz to form The Kraft Heinz Company as one of the most innovative in North America. In 2009, Mr. Aquila was selected by the American Bar Association as a “Legal Rebel” – one of the profession’s 50 leading innovators. In 2015, the National Law Journal named him as one of M&A’s “Trailblazers” for “excellence in dealmaking.” He is also a two-time winner of the Burton Award for Legal Achievement (2005, 2010) and led the Sullivan & Cromwell team advising on The American Lawyer’s 2016 “Deal of the Year” – Kraft merger with Heinz.

During the course of his career, Mr. Aquila has advised numerous clients in many of the largest and most important global transactions that have been transformational across a range of business sectors?. In pharmaceuticals he represented The Upjohn Company in its merger with Pharmacia to create Pharmacia & Upjohn and its subsequent acquisition of Monsanto to form Pharmacia. In beverage alcohol Mr. Aquila represented Grand Metropolitan in its combination with Guinness to form Diageo and Diageo in its acquisition of Seagram Wine & Spirits. In brewing he represented InBev in its successful bid for Anheuser-Busch and Anheuser-Busch InBev in its follow-on deals to acquire SABMiller, Grupo Modelo and Oriental Brewery. In biotech he represented Amgen in its acquisitions of Abgenix, Onyx and Otezla® and Novartis in its acquisition of The Medicines Company. In aviation he represented British Airways in its combination with Iberia to form IAG International Airlines Group. In consumer packaged goods Mr. Aquila represented Pillsbury in its combination with General Mills and Kraft in its merger with H.J. Heinz to form The Kraft Heinz Company. In equipment rental he represented United Rentals in its acquisitions of RSC, Neff Corporation and BlueLine Rental. In automated payment systems and ATMs Mr. Aquila represented Diebold in its combination with Wincor Nixdorf to form Diebold Nixdorf. In food and beverage retailing Mr. Aquila advised Panera in its acquisition by JAB. In oil and gas Mr. Aquila represented Andeavor in its acquisition by Marathon Petroleum. In luxury goods Mr. Aquila is representing Tiffany & Co. in its acquisition by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.

Mr. Aquila is a member of the Firm’s Management Committee and is Global Head of the Firm’s M&A Practice. Previously, Mr. Aquila was the co-managing partner of Sullivan & Cromwell’s General Practice Group (the Firm’s global corporate practice) and in that role he was responsible for almost 500 lawyers in 12 offices around the world.

Professional Activities and Community Involvement

* 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 (Chair) of Brooklyn Law School
* Board of Directors (Secretary) of the American Associates of the National Theatre
* Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Economic Club of New York and the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity
* Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation
* Practical Law The Journal, “In the Boardroom” columnist
* Chaired Practising Law Institute’s 2015 program on shareholder activism and regularly chairs PLI’s “Hot Topic” Briefings

Rankings and Recognitions

* Named a “Healthcare Law Trailblazer” by The National Law Journal (2020)
* Named a Client Service All-Star by BTI (2019)
* Recognized by the FT as a Top 10 Legal Innovator in North America in 2018
* Law360 MVP in M&A (2015, 2016) and Life Sciences (2013)
* Recognized in The Legal 500 United States
* Listed in the IFLR1000 as a “Market Leader”
* The Best of the Best USA, Euromoney Legal Media Group
* Lawdragon 500: Leading Lawyers in America
* 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”
* 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
* Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business
* Guide to the World’s Leading Mergers and Acquisitions Lawyers, Euromoney Legal Media Group/International Financial Law Review
* The Definitive Guide to Europe’s Leading Advisers: Are Your Advisers Giving You the Edge? (mergermarket)
* PLC Cross-border Mergers and Acquisitions Handbook
* PLC Global Counsel Mergers and Acquisitions Handbook, Practical Law Company
* PLC Which Lawyer? Yearbook, Practical Law Company
* New York Super Lawyers
* The Best Lawyers in America
* The International Who’s Who of Merger & Acquisition Lawyers

Corporate Governance

* Directorship 100 The National Association of Corpor

Overview
RelSci Relationships

4587

Number of Boards

9

Number of Awards

56

Contact Data
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Relationships
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Partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

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Partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

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Partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Special Counsel at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

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Partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

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Partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

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Partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

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Partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

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Managing Partner, Executive Compensation & Benefits Practice Group at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

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Francis J. Aquila
Faculty Member & Author at Practising Law Institute
Education
JD
Class of 1983

Brooklyn Law School (BLS) is a law school founded in 1901. It is located in Brooklyn Heights, New York City, in the United States, and has approximately 1,400 students.Brooklyn Law School’s faculty includes 64 full-time professors, 6 emeriti faculty, and a number of adjunct faculty, many of whom are preeminent legal scholars.

AB
Class of 1979

Columbia University is one of the world's most important centers of research and at the same time a distinctive and distinguished learning environment for undergraduates and graduate students in many scholarly and professional fields. The University recognizes the importance of its location in New York City and seeks to link its research and teaching to the vast resources of a great metropolis. It seeks to attract a diverse and international faculty and student body, to support research and teaching on global issues, and to create academic relationships with many countries and regions. It expects all areas of the university to advance knowledge and learning at the highest level and to convey the products of its efforts to the world.

Memberships
Member
Current

Council on Foreign Relations, Inc. provides and disseminates ideas on foreign policies to individuals, corporate members, journalists and policy makers. It operates a forum for government officials, students and other interested parties to study and discuss world issues and impact on American foreign policies. The company publishes Foreign Affairs, a magazine that comes out six times a year, along with books and studies by its own scholars. Council on Foreign Relations was founded in 1921 and is headquartered in New York City, NY.

Fellow
Current

TO EXPAND KNOWLEDGE AND ADVANCE JUSTICE THROUGH INNOVATIVE, INTERDISCIPLINARY, AND RIGOROUS EMPIRICAL RESEARCH ON THE LAW.

Member
Current

The words "Leadership Council on Legal Diversity" are carefully chosen. Since the formation of the LCLD was announced in May 2009, the group has focused on developing strategies to increase diversity in the legal profession. Just as importantly, the LCLD has brought together the leaders of law firms and corporate legal departments to do that. At the time of the announcement, Rick Palmore, General Counsel of General Mills and former Chair of the LCLD Board of Directors underscored the significance of the effort: "LCLD is doing what no other initiative has done—uniting the legal industry's senior leaders in one organization to address and resolve the enormous diversity challenges in our profession." The Leadership Council on Legal Diversity has, since May 2009, organized a committee structure around four key strategic initiatives. Those initiatives are titled: Strategy & Innovation, Development, Partnerships & Teams, and Pipeline. At a glance, the initiatives will address the following opportunities and challenges: Strategy & Innovation. Research and develop a robust, new analytical tool to give more meaningful, sophisticated insight into the actual diversity of law firms and corporate legal departments. The objective of this committee's work will be to delve more deeply than quantitative measurements and "rankings." Partnerships & Teams. Identify, analyze, and promote successful diversity partnering efforts. The focus is on projects and programs that encourage collaboration between law firms, corporate legal departments, and other organizations with a commitment to diversity. Development. Work to ensure the development of diverse critical talent, creating ongoing programs to allow members to present and learn about successful programs for the development of diverse critical talent. Pipeline. Evaluate and support programs that encourage the entry of individuals of diverse backgrounds into the field of law. The committee will accomplish its objectives through collaboration with organizations committed to a more diverse profession. Taken as a whole, the work of the four LCLD Board committees will support the LCLD's stated goal to ". . .work in partnership to eliminate impediments and provide minorities and women with a full and fair opportunity to perform, to succeed, and to lead."

Career History
Partner
Current

Sullivan & Cromwell provides legal advisory services to financial, healthcare, insurance, real estate, energy, other sectors.

Faculty Member & Author
Current

Practising Law Institute is a non-profit continuing legal education organization chartered by the Regents of the University of the State of New York, founded in 1933. PLI is dedicated to providing the legal community and allied professionals with the most up-to-date, relevant information and techniques which are critical to the development of a professional, competitive edge. We achieve these goals through the highest quality Seminars held annually in locations across the United States, annually supplemented Treatises, Audio CDs and DVDs, MP3s, Live Webcasts, Course Handbooks, and On-Demand Learning. Since its founding PLI has witnessed more than 3 million registrations and publication purchases by lawyers and allied professionals. PLI's Institutes and Programs provide lawyers with up-to-date information each year. Our programs are held in several locations including New York, California, Illinois, Washington, DC, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, London and Hong Kong. PLI also expanded its offerings, with a Patent Law Practice Center, Securities Law Practice Center, Pro Bono & Public Interest areas, research and development, critical to PLI's mission. PLI created a law school division to strengthen the relationship with law school students and faculty. Finally, with most states adopting MCLE programs, PLI is planning courses accordingly and has also committed itself to providing lower priced courses to meet the needs of newly admitted attorneys. PLI is headquartered in New York City with an office in California.

Contributing Editor
Prior

Bloomberg Businessweek LP publishes periodical magazines. It also publishes news. The company is headquartered in New York, NY.

Boards & Committees
Member, Advisory Board
Current
Member, Advisory Board
Tenure Unconfirmed
Member, Board of Directors
2008 - Prior

Dress for Success Worldwide provides business suits and career development to low-income women. The company was founded by Nancy Lublin in 1996 and is headquartered in New York, NY.

Chairman, Board of Trustees
Prior

The mission of the NALP Foundation for Law Career Research and Education is to improve the quality and delivery of legal services by advancing: excellence in strategic and practical organizational leadership; effective management of legal personnel; professional development of lawyers; access to and diversity within the profession; and ethical practices and professionalism. The Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, was created in 1996 by the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) to ensure that the legal community and society at large have a reliable, objective, affordable source of information. (To learn more about NALP, click here or go to www.nalp.org.) The support of leading law schools, legal employers, corporations, and individuals throughout the legal community has enabled the Foundation to fulfill that essential role.

Member, Advisory Board
Tenure Unconfirmed
Non-Profit Donations & Grants

Learn how non-profit organizations benefit from RelSci
$1 - $10K
2019

Council on Foreign Relations, Inc. provides and disseminates ideas on foreign policies to individuals, corporate members, journalists and policy makers. It operates a forum for government officials, students and other interested parties to study and discuss world issues and impact on American foreign policies. The company publishes Foreign Affairs, a magazine that comes out six times a year, along with books and studies by its own scholars. Council on Foreign Relations was founded in 1921 and is headquartered in New York City, NY.

$1 - $10K
2018

Council on Foreign Relations, Inc. provides and disseminates ideas on foreign policies to individuals, corporate members, journalists and policy makers. It operates a forum for government officials, students and other interested parties to study and discuss world issues and impact on American foreign policies. The company publishes Foreign Affairs, a magazine that comes out six times a year, along with books and studies by its own scholars. Council on Foreign Relations was founded in 1921 and is headquartered in New York City, NY.

$1 - $10K
2017

Council on Foreign Relations, Inc. provides and disseminates ideas on foreign policies to individuals, corporate members, journalists and policy makers. It operates a forum for government officials, students and other interested parties to study and discuss world issues and impact on American foreign policies. The company publishes Foreign Affairs, a magazine that comes out six times a year, along with books and studies by its own scholars. Council on Foreign Relations was founded in 1921 and is headquartered in New York City, NY.

Political Donations
$2,000
2016

Minority Leader at Office of the Senate Minority Leader, Charles Schumer

$2,500
2012

Senator from Connecticut

$2,500
2011

Senator at Office of the Senator from West Virginia, Shelley Capito

Transactions
Details Hidden

Amgen, Inc. purchases Celgene Corp. /OTEZLA Assets from Celgene Corp.

Details Hidden

Anheuser-Busch Cos. LLC, Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV purchase Craft Brew Alliance, Inc.

Details Hidden

Budweiser Brewing Co. APAC Ltd. issued HKD Ordinary Shares

Awards & Honors
2014
NACD Directorship 100: Governance Professionals and Institutions
2013
NACD Directorship 100: Governance Professionals and Institutions
2013
Best Lawyers – Lawyer of the Year, Leveraged Buyouts and Private Equity Law
Creative Works
Author
2009

"Latin American Firms Pursue Global Status"

Events
Speaker
New York Athletic Club-New York, NY
2013 M&A Advisor Emerging Leaders Summit

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