Meet the Morgan Stanley rainmaker tapped to chair the M&A division of law firm Paul Weiss as fears of investor activism grow
- Morgan Stanley rainmaker Robert Kindler is leaving the investment bank for law firm Paul Weiss.
- He will advise corporate clients on M&A and in defending against activist investors.
Robert Kindler, an M&A rainmaker and 17-year veteran of Morgan Stanley, is leaving the investment bank to join one of Wall Street's top law firms.
Kindler, global chair of mergers and acquisitions at Morgan Stanley, has been named global chair of M&A at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. Kindler will be a Paul Weiss partner and will advise the law firm's corporate clients on a range of issues, including M&A, strategic issues, and corporate governance. Kindler will also advise clients on defending against investor activists as boards brace for a jump in demands from hedge funds and other well-heeled investors seeking to boost deflated stock prices.
"I was fortunate to be a part of Morgan Stanley for the past 17 years as its visionary leadership transformed it into the leading investment bank that it is today," Kindler said in a statement. "Paul, Weiss has the premier franchise for M&A and activism defense and I am excited to become a part of it."
Last year, Paul Weiss represented the board of McDonald's in its proxy fight with activist investor Carl Icahn. It also represented private-equity firm Apollo Global amid questions about co-founder Leon Black's ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Last week, Goldman Sachs' COO John Waldron said he expects "more activism," including demands for spinoffs and consolidation, to "propel M&A activity" as the economy sours. Waldron made the remarks at the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference, according to a transcript provided by data provider Sentieo.
Defending corporations against activist investors and vice versa is a big business for lawyers, as Insider has previously reported.
In his new role, Kindler will work with Scott Barshay, Paul Weiss' corporate department chair, and Brad Karp, the law firm's chairman responsible for expanding the firm's business with clients like the NFL and Apollo.
Kindler started his career as a lawyer at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, where he worked with Barshay. He became a partner in 1987 and then co-head of the M&A practice. In 2000, he joined JPMorgan, where he was named global head of M&A before joining Morgan Stanley in 2006.
At Morgan Stanley, Kindler advised Time Warner on its $85.4 billion acquisition by telecom giant AT&T and Morgan Stanley's acquisitions of ETrade and Eaton Vance, which have helped the bank's outgoing CEO James Gorman transform the bank.
Kindler is slated to start his new job after Labor Day.
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