FacultyFaculty/Author Profile
Francis J. Aquila

Francis J. Aquila

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

New York, NY, USA


Frank Aquila has a broad multidisciplinary practice that includes extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions. He also regularly counsels boards of directors and board committees on corporate governance, crisis management and matters affecting corporate policy and strategy. Mr. Aquila has been engaged in many high profile matters that include activism, cross-border transactions, leveraged buyouts, proxy contests and unsolicited bids as an adviser to global leaders such as Amgen, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Avon, Diageo, International Airline Group, Kraft Foods Group, Navistar International, Pharmacia and United Rentals.

Mr. Aquila has been repeatedly cited as one of the world’s leading mergers and acquisitions lawyers. The breadth of his practice has resulted in his being recognized as one of a small number of lawyers ranked by Chambers Global in Band 1 (their top tier), as an American Lawyer “Dealmaker of the Year” and as a recipient of the Atlas Award as “Global M&A Lawyer of the Year.” For his work in corporate governance, Mr. Aquila has been named by the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) to their “Directorship 100” – one of the 100 most influential people in corporate governance and inside the boardroom. He is also a two-time winner of the Burton Award for Legal Achievement (2005 and 2010). In 2009 Mr. Aquila was selected by the American Bar Association as a “Legal Rebel” – one of the profession’s 50 leading innovators. Law360 named him a Life Sciences MVP in 2013.

During the course of his career, Mr. Aquila has advised numerous clients in many of the largest global transactions that have been transformational across a range of business sectors‎. In pharmaceuticals he represented The Upjohn Company in its merger with Pharmacia to create Pharmacia & Upjohn and its subsequent acquisition of Monsanto to form Pharmacia. In beverage alcohol Mr. Aquila represented Grand Metropolitan in its combination with Guinness to form Diageo and Diageo in its acquisition of Seagram Wine & Spirits. In brewing he represented InBev in its successful bid for Anheuser-Busch and Anheuser-Busch InBev in its follow-on deals to acquire Grupo Modelo and Oriental Brewery. In biotech he represented Amgen in its acquisitions of Abgenix and Onyx. In aviation he represented British Airways in its combination with Iberia to form IAG International Airlines Group. In consumer packaged goods Mr. Aquila represented Pillsbury in its combination with General Mills and Kraft in its merger with H.J. Heinz to form The Kraft Heinz Company. In equipment rental he represented United Rentals in its acquisition of RSC to form the world's largest equipment rental company.

Mr. Aquila is a member of the Firm’s Management Committee. Previously, Mr. Aquila was the co-managing partner of Sullivan & Cromwell's General Practice Group and in that role he was responsible for almost 500 lawyers in 12 offices around the world. This group includes the Firm's corporate, financial institutions, securities, mergers & acquisitions, corporate governance, real estate, leveraged finance, private equity, project finance, restructuring and intellectual property transactional practices.
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