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In “Shrek 2,” before the world’s most famous Big Green Ogre could live happily ever after, he had to survive, humor, or navigate his way around his overbearing in-laws, a malicious fairy godmother, a jealous if ineffectual rival, an acid-tongued cat, and a street-smart donkey. That, as it turns out, pretty well sums up the yearlong efforts of Faiza Saeed, the Cravath, Swaine & Moore M&A partner whose task in 2004 was spinning off DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., from DreamWorks LLC, the Hollywood studio that created Shrek. There are limits to the parallels: As far as we know, none of Saeed’s deal mates reverted to frogs. But there was no shortage of donkeys involved, some with egos roughly the size of the Muffin Man’s famous giant gingerbread monster. And the ending was as giddy as any Shrek and Fiona could have imagined: The initial public offering raised $934 million, more than enough to guarantee “Shrek 3.” The DreamWorks IPO was a sequel for Saeed. She was a Cravath associate in 1994, when David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Steven Spielberg created the studio, and she worked on the team that helped the new company raise $2 billion in debt and equity. DreamWorks has continued to work with Cravath since and approached the firm in early 2004 about a potential spin-off of the animation unit. With DreamWorks’s shared ownership structure and multiple tiers of investors, Saeed thought that the IPO could be knotty. “This really was like a combination of doing an M&A deal and a securities deal,” she says. “Layered on top of all the negotiations, you’re creating a new company, and that comes with a whole set of governance issues.” Read the full dealmaker profile and the complete corporate scorecard by subscribing to The American Lawyer.

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