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Silicon Valley has seen many big deals over the last decade, and Kenton King has been in on some of the biggest. As head of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s corporate practice in the San Francisco Bay area, King represented Compaq in its $19 billion merger with HP; Ascend Communications Inc. in its $20 billion acquisition in 1999 by Lucent Technologies Inc.; and DSP Communications Inc. in its $1.6 billion cash acquisition that same year by Intel Corp. He also has been in on major technology deals involving clients such as Yahoo, Applied Materials Inc. and Inktomi Corp. “Each deal is different from the last one and as an attorney I never stop learning new things from them,” said King. Skadden’s association with Compaq began in 1998 when the PC maker acquired Digital Equipment Corp., a Skadden client. The New York-based law firm did much of the legal work for Compaq in the transaction, particularly that dealing with intellectual property and antitrust issues. King concedes he did not foresee the firestorm of criticism that followed the announcement of the HP-Compaq megamerger. “To be honest I was surprised,” he said. “The deal makes sense from a strategic standpoint, and the synergies that can be achieved are really quite tremendous.” King majored in East Asian Studies at Stanford University. Fluent in Japanese, he lived in Japan for several years prior to attending law school and worked for Marubeni Corp., a Tokyo based diversified industrial manufacturer. He started at Skadden, Arps as an associate in 1988 and was elevated to partner in 1996. Deal wisdom: For legal advisers involved in M&A, a key to dealmaking is careful listening, King said. “You’ve got to try and understand both the concerns of your client and of the guy sitting across the table from you.” Quotable: “There certainly is a feeling that technology isn’t dead by any means, and there are more opportunities for transactions yet to come. And we at Skadden, given our franchise, feel we are quite well-positioned to take advantage of it.”

Doing the deals at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

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