Eric W. Hilfers is a partner and Head of Cravath’s Executive Compensation and Benefits Department. His practice focuses on executive compensation and employee benefit matters faced by the Firm’s clients, principally in connection with mergers and acquisitions and other business transactions.
These representations include the hiring of chief executives and other officers; the design and implementation of compensation programs; the crafting of public disclosures regarding executive pay; and the management of the many legal and regulatory concerns generated by compensation practices, such as securities law, tax, ERISA and financial accounting.
Significant merger and acquisition transactions include representing:
- Unilever in the $143 billion unsolicited offer from Kraft Heinz to acquire Unilever.
- British American Tobacco in its pending $97 billion merger with Reynolds American.
- Honeywell International Inc. in its proposal to acquire United Technologies Corporation in a transaction valued at approximately $90 billion.
- Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. in its $13.3 billion sale to Marriott International, Inc.
- Weyerhaeuser Company in its $23 billion merger with Plum Creek Timber Company, Inc.
- The Williams Companies, Inc. in its proposed $37.7 billion business combination transaction with Energy Transfer Equity, L.P.
- Cameron International Corporation in its $15 billion sale to Schlumberger Limited.
- AGL Resources Inc. in its $12 billion sale to The Southern Company.
- Precision Castparts Corp. in its $37 billion sale to Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
- Cigna Corporation in its pending $54.2 billion merger with Anthem, Inc.
- MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P. in its $21 billion merger with MPLX LP.
- Delhaize Group in its $29 billion merger of equals with Royal Ahold N.V.
- Mylan N.V. in its proposal to acquire Perrigo Company plc in a transaction valued at approximately $35 billion.
- H.J. Heinz Company and 3G Capital in Heinz’s $60 billion merger with Kraft Foods Group, Inc. to form The Kraft Heinz Company.
- Rock‑Tenn Company in its $16 billion combination with MeadWestvaco Corporation.
- Life Technologies Corporation in its $15.8 billion sale to Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.
- Johnson & Johnson in its acquisition of Synthes, Inc., a premier global manufacturer of orthopaedic devices, for $19.7 billion.
- Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation (“BNSF”) in Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.’s $44 billion acquisition of BNSF, including $10 billion of outstanding BNSF debt.
Mr. Hilfers frequently advises the independent directors, including compensation committees, of public companies such as Citigroup, General Motors, The Bank of New York, MetLife and Wachovia. He recently represented the compensation committee of Merrill Lynch in connection with the separation of its chief executive officer and resulting Congressional investigation over severance practices, its merger with Bank of America and subsequent Attorney General and Congressional investigations. He has also assisted a variety of clients, including Avon, Barnes & Noble and Mylan, in preparing their proxy statement disclosures on executive compensation.
Mr. Hilfers has been recognized as one of the country’s leading practitioners in employee benefits and executive compensation by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business from 2011 through 2016; The Legal 500 from 2010 through 2016; and The Best Lawyers in America from 2013 through 2017. He was also cited as being one of the top 100 corporate employment attorneys in the country by HR Executive magazine and one of the country’s leading young practitioners by Lawdragon magazine. Mr. Hilfers recently spoke on a panel entitled “New Rules on Compensation” at the International Bar Association conference, “The Paradigm of Employment Law,” and at the Practising Law Institute’s executive compensation program on “The Effect of Legislative Activism on Compensation Practices.”
Mr. Hilfers is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the New York State Bar Association Tax Section and a Co‑Chair of its Employee Benefits Committee. He is also a member of the Executive Compensation Task Force of CompensationStandards.com.
Mr. Hilfers was born in Olivia, Minnesota. He received an A.B. from Princeton University in 1995 and a J.D. with honors from the University of Chicago Law School in 1998, where he was a member of the University of Chicago Legal Forum. He joined Cravath in 1998 and became a partner in 2006.
Mr. Hilfers may be reached by phone at +1‑212‑474‑1352 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.