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Erik R. Tavzel

Partner, Corporate

Erik R. Tavzel focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions, including both consensual and hostile matters, as well as other strategic corporate transactions. Mr. Tavzel also routinely represents public companies and boards of directors regarding activist defense and complex corporate governance matters.

Mr. Tavzel’s clients have included Amazon, AXA, BAT, Centrica, Cigna, Crown Castle, DHT, Element Financial, First Solar, Goldman Sachs, IBM, Kraft, Lazard, Morgan Stanley, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Republic Services, Rogers Communications, Symetra Financial, Weyerhaeuser and White Mountains Insurance.

Mr. Tavzel represents companies in a wide variety of industries and has particularly deep experience representing companies subject to regulatory oversight, including financial institutions, insurance companies, investor‑owned utilities and telecommunications providers.

Some of his notable transactions include:


  • The $15.3 billion acquisition of XL Group by AXA.
  • The proposed $54.2 billion merger between Cigna and Anthem.
  • The $3.8 billion sale of Symetra to Sumitomo Life.
  • The $10.8 billion acquisition of John Hancock by Manulife.
  • The $1.1 billion sale of Esurance to Allstate.
  • The representation of the board of directors of The PMI Group in connection with the restructuring of PMI Mortgage Insurance Company.

Investment Banking

  • The initial public offering of Lazard Ltd.
  • The $9 billion strategic investment by Mitsubishi UFJ in Morgan Stanley during the 2008 credit crisis.
  • The sale of Bear Stearns to JPMorgan Chase.
  • The exploration of strategic alternatives by Lehman Brothers prior to its filing for protection from creditors.
  • The acquisitions of a number of investment banking firms by Lazard Ltd, including the acquisitions of (1) Goldsmith Agio (2) Verus Partners and (3) Carnegie Wylie.

Asset Management

  • The acquisition of the outstanding minority interests in Lazard Asset Management by Lazard Ltd.
  • The acquisition of Alesco Global Advisors by Lazard Asset Management.
  • The acquisition of The Edgewater Funds by Lazard Ltd.

Alternative Finance

  • The $6.9 billion acquisition of GE Capital’s fleet management operations in the United States, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand by Element Financial.
  • The $4.9 billion acquisition of PHH Arval by Element Financial.
  • The initial public offering of NewStar Financial.


  • The acquisition of the rights to approximately 9,700 AT&T towers by Crown Castle for approximately $9.1 billion (including purchase options).
  • The $7.1 billion acquisition of Lightower by Crown Castle.
  • The acquisition of T‑Mobile’s U.S. tower business by Crown Castle for approximately $4.8 billion (including purchase options).
  • The $1.6 billion sale of Crown Castle’s Australian operations to Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets.
  • The $1.5 billion acquisition of FiberNet by Crown Castle.
  • The $1.5 billion sale of AT&T Wireless’s equity interest in Rogers Wireless to Rogers Communications.
  • The $1 billion acquisition of NextG Networks by Crown Castle.
  • The $600 million acquisition of Wilcon by Crown Castle.
  • The $390 million acquisition of Call‑Net Enterprises by Rogers Communications.


  • The unsolicited proposal from Frontline to acquire DHT.
  • The $1.3 billion acquisition of Stelmar Shipping by Overseas Shipholding Group.
  • The $650 million acquisition of Samco Shipholding by DHT.
  • The $538 million acquisition of the VLCC fleet from BW Group by DHT.
  • The $455 million acquisition of Maritrans by Overseas Shipholding Group.
  • The acquisition of Marquette Transportation by BDT Capital Partners.

Other Significant Transactions

  • The $23 billion merger between Weyerhaeuser and Plum Creek Timber.
  • The $19.6 billion acquisition of Cadbury by Kraft.
  • The $6.5 billion merger of equals between Biovail Pharmaceuticals and Valeant Pharmaceuticals.
  • The $6 billion combination of Brown & Williamson and RJR Tobacco.
  • The C$4.8 billion sale of D+H to Vista Equity Partners.
  • The pending $3.625 billion divestiture of Centrica’s North American energy supply, services and trading business (Direct Energy) to NRG Energy.
  • The $3.5 billion sale of PwC Consulting to IBM.
  • The $2.8 billion divestiture of Weyerhaeuser’s homebuilding business to TRI Pointe Homes.
  • The $2.7 billion acquisition of Longview Timber by Weyerhaeuser.
  • The $2.2 billion sale of Weyerhaeuser’s Cellulose Fibers pulp mills to International Paper.
  • The $485 million sale of Assisted Living Concepts to TPG Capital.
  • The equity investment in Tory Burch by BDT Capital.

Mr. Tavzel also routinely represents public companies and boards of directors regarding activist proposals and proxy solicitations. He has defended his clients against campaigns launched by a variety of activist investors and hedge funds, including Trian Partners, Corvex Capital, Elliott Management, Third Point, MMI Investments and Anchorage Capital.

Over the past decade, Mr. Tavzel has been routinely cited as being one of the country’s leading corporate lawyers by publications, including Chambers Global, Chambers USA, The Legal 500 US and IFLR1000. In 2018, he was named the Dealmaker of the Year for the Industrial and Infrastructure sectors by The Deal.

Mr. Tavzel was born in Washington, D.C. He received an S.B. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1993 and a J.D. with honors from the University of Michigan in 1998.

Mr. Tavzel joined Cravath in 1998 and was elected a partner in 2005.

Mr. Tavzel is admitted only in New York.

+1 (212) 474-1796
+1 (212) 474-3700