Even by the standards of Amazon.com Inc. and AT&T, they were big deals and Eric Krautheimer of Sullivan & Cromwell handled them both: AT&T’s $108.7 billion purchase of Time Warner, and Amazon’s all-cash deal to buy Whole Foods Market Inc. in a deal valued at approximately $13.7 billion, including Whole Foods’ debt. Krautheimer recently told The Recorder a bit about the pace of those mega deals and his long-term relationship with AT&T.
What were your professional highlights of the past year? What made that deal or those deals stand out?
The two biggest highlights had to be the AT&T/Time Warner and Amazon/Whole Foods deals. It has been interesting to watch as companies move into new areas. The AT&T transaction was a lightning-fast, one-week negotiation, including a roundup of $40 billion in financing. And the Amazon deal, though smaller at $13.7 billion, was huge by e-commerce standards.
What clients do you have the longest relationships with? How far back do those relationships go?
Hands down, it’s AT&T. I began working with their predecessor back in 1996!
Why do you think clients come back to you? What can they get from you that they don’t get from someone else?
What they get is S&C, which is a global brand known for providing advice to some of the largest enterprises around the globe. The key to that is our devotion to those clients. We’re known, of course, for attorney training that is unsurpassed in its breadth and depth. But it’s the spirit of commitment that I always think is our gold standard.
What’s more important in the current market and why: offering bespoke services or being efficient? I think across the board it’s efficiency. In today’s market, clients are demanding value as never before. But there is also a category of important deals where the possibility of something bespoke is more important. So the real answer is: It depends.
Outside your partners, who is another corporate lawyer you admire and why? I’ve worked with Steve Arcano from Skadden since I was a junior associate. I’ve always thought he had a great demeanor and ability to always seem calm.