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Robert I. Townsend III

Partner, Corporate

Robert I. Townsend, III is the Head of Cravath’s Mergers and Acquisitions practice for North America. His practice focuses primarily on all types of M&A transactions, corporate governance matters and activist defense. Mr. Townsend’s clients have included Akorn, AmerisourceBergen, Anheuser‑Busch InBev, Arch Chemicals, Avon, Brink’s, Brunswick, Cincinnati Bell, Clorox, Conduent, Cummins, Frontier, Johnson & Johnson, MarkWest, Martin Marietta, Nestlé, Olin, OUTFRONT Media, Pinnacle Foods, Quest Diagnostics, Scientific Games, Sprint, Stanley Black & Decker and UTi Worldwide.

Recent transactions include representing:

  • Johnson & Johnson in the binding offer from Platinum Equity to acquire its LifeScan business, its acquisition of Actelion, the sale of its Codman Neurosurgery business to Integra LifeSciences, its acquisition of Abbott Medical Optics, its acquisition of Novira Therapeutics, the sale of its Cordis business to Cardinal Health, its acquisition of Alios BioPharma, the sale of its Ortho‑Clinical Diagnostics business to The Carlyle Group, its acquisitions of Synthes, Covagen, Crucell, Mentor Corporation, Omrix Biopharmaceuticals and Conor Medsystems, its acquisition of Pfizer’s consumer healthcare businesses, its takeover battle for Guidant and its acquisitions of ALZA and Scios;
  • Conduent in the pending sale of its commercial vehicle operations business to Alinda Capital Partners and the pending sale of its U.S.‑based human resource consulting and actuarial business to H.I.G. Capital;
  • Brunswick in its pending spin‑off of its Fitness business into a standalone company;
  • Cincinnati Bell in its pending combination with Hawaiian Telcom, its acquisition of OnX Enterprise Solutions, the sale of its wireless spectrum licenses to Verizon, its acquisition of CyrusOne, the sale of its directory business and its acquisition of IXC;
  • Martin Marietta in its acquisition of Bluegrass Materials;
  • Akorn in its pending sale to Fresenius Kabi;
  • Stanley Black & Decker in its acquisitions of the Craftsman brand from Sears and the Tools business of Newell Brands;
  • Anheuser‑Busch InBev in its acquisition of SABMiller and an asset swap with Ambev in which AB InBev transferred SABMiller’s Panamanian business to Ambev and Ambev transferred its business in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador to AB InBev;
  • Pinnacle Foods in its acquisition of Boulder Brands;
  • OUTFRONT Media in the sale of its Latin America business to JCDecaux Latin America / Corameq;
  • UTi Worldwide in its sale to DSV and its negotiations with its shareholder P2 Capital;
  • AmerisourceBergen in its acquisition of PharMEDium, its acquisition of MWI Veterinary Supply and its strategic relationship with Walgreens and Alliance Boots;
  • MarkWest in its merger with MPLX;
  • Olin in its Reverse Morris Trust acquisition of the chlorine value chain business of Dow Chemical;
  • Scientific Games in its acquisition of Bally Technologies;
  • Lender Processing Services in its acquisition by Fidelity National Financial;
  • Arch Chemicals in its acquisition by Lonza;
  • Millipore in its acquisition by Merck;
  • Stanley Works in its acquisition of Black & Decker;
  • Frontier in its acquisition of certain businesses from Verizon;
  • Pepsi Bottling Group in its acquisition by PepsiCo;
  • EMBARQ in its merger with CenturyTel;
  • Nestlé in the sale of its stake in Alcon to Novartis;
  • Sprint in its merger with Nextel;
  • Brink’s in its shareholder activism contests with Pirate Capital and MMI and its spin‑off of Brink’s Home Security;
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers in the sale of its consulting business to IBM;
  • Clorox in its repurchase of shares from Henkel; and
  • Nestlé in its acquisition of Ralston Purina.

Mr. Townsend has been repeatedly cited as one of the country’s leading practitioners in mergers and acquisitions by, among others, Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business from 2007 through 2018; Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business from 2007 through 2018; The Legal 500 from 2010 through 2017; IFLR1000 from 2006 through 2018; and The Best Lawyers in America from 2007 through 2018. In addition, Chambers remarked that Cravath’s M&A practice is “one of the foremost corporate firms in the country.” From 2010 through 2017, Mr. Townsend was named a leading lawyer for his transactional work in the telecoms and broadcast industry by The Legal 500. He was recognized for his transactional work in the technology industry by The Legal 500 in 2016. Mr. Townsend was also named to Lawdragon’s list of the “500 Leading Lawyers in America” from 2011 through 2018.

Mr. Townsend was born in New York, New York. He received an A.B. magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1987 and a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1990, where he was Executive Editor of the Harvard Law Review. He joined Cravath in 1990 and became a partner in 1998.

Mr. Townsend may be reached by phone at +1‑212‑474‑1964 or by email at

Mr. Townsend is admitted only in New York.

+1 (212) 474-1964
+1 (212) 474-3700