Steve advises clients on mergers and acquisitions and shareholder activism, as well as media strategy, investor relations and crisis communications. During the past three decades, he has been involved in numerous takeover battles, friendly mergers, activism situations, crises and other high-profile matters involving many of the world’s most respected corporations. Steve is well-recognized for his depth of experience in the financial services sector and has developed close working relationships with the leading attorneys, investment bankers and journalists covering the space. In addition, he has worked with numerous healthcare, energy, industrial, consumer and technology companies. His areas of expertise include:
He has counseled many financial services companies on M&A, investor relations, regulatory challenges, crisis and reputation management. Most recently, he advised Aon in its pending acquisition of Willis Towers Watson; First Horizon and IBERIABANK in their merger of equals; CIBC in its acquisition of PrivateBancorp; KeyCorp in its acquisition of First Niagara; PJT Partners in its spin-off from Blackstone; ACE in its acquisition of Chubb; Virtu Financial in its IPO; CIT Group in its acquisition of OneWest Bank; Sterling Financial in its merger with Umpqua Holdings; Citizens Republic Bancorp in its sale to FirstMerit; Transatlantic in its merger with Alleghany; Warburg Pincus in its investment in Santander Consumer USA; and Whitney Holding in its sale to Hancock Financial. In the past several years, he represented Wells Fargo in its acquisition of Wachovia; PNC in its acquisition of National City; Banco Santander in its acquisition of Sovereign; Compass Bancshares in its sale to BBVA; Capital One in its acquisition of Hibernia; and JP Morgan in its acquisition of Bear Stearns. He advised CIT on the largest pre-packaged bankruptcy in history and was retained by Sandler O’Neill & Partners on the day after 9/11/01 to manage crisis communications and advised the firm for 10 years. He has also provided assistance in the U.S. to several of the largest global financial institutions, including Deutsche Bank and HSBC.
Mergers & Acquisitions
He has advised clients on transactions across a variety of other industries, including Broadcom in its acquisitions of CA Technologies and Symantec's Enterprise Security business; Pinnacle Foods in its merger with Conagra; Shire in its sale to Takeda; Snyder’s-Lance in its sale to Campbell Soup Company; Ensco in its acquisition of Atwood Oceanics; Noble Energy in its acquisition of Clayton Williams; WebMD in its sale to KKR; Popeyes in its sale to Restaurant Brands International; Ariad Pharmaeuticals in its sale to Takeda; Parker Hannifin in its acquisition of Clarcor; Monsanto in its sale to Bayer; Dyax in its sale to Shire; Catamaran in its sale to United Health; MeadWestvaco in its merger with Rock-Tenn; OfficeMax in its merger with Office Depot; Amylin in its sale to Bristol-Myers Squibb; Hypercom in its sale to VeriFone; Sun Microsystems in its sale to Oracle; Potash Corp. in its successful defense against BHP Billiton; Longs Drug Stores in its sale to CVS Caremark; Clear Channel in its sale to Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners; Comcast in its successful unsolicited offer for AT&T Broadband; Starwood in its “white knight” acquisition of ITT; and Warner-Lambert in its sale to Pfizer, among many others.
He has considerable experience defending companies in proxy contests and withhold campaigns waged by activist hedge funds and dissident shareholders. This defense work was opposite Carl Icahn, Pershing Square, Trian Partners, Third Point, Starboard Value, JANA Partners, Clinton Group, Greenlight Capital, Relational Investors, Steel Partners, Barington, Knightspoint, PL Capital, Neuberger Berman, Cruiser Capital and CalPERS, among others.
Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
Throughout his career, he has worked with numerous corporations on public and investor relations.
Steve joined Joele Frank as a Partner in 2005. Previously, he led the M&A practices at The Abernathy MacGregor Group and Burson-Marsteller. Earlier in his career, he served as a press aide and speechwriter to Georgia Governor Joe Frank Harris and to University of Georgia President Charles B. Knapp. Steve received a BA in journalism from the University of Georgia and an MA in political science from Georgia State University.