He’s a high profile transactional lawyer and ultra-marathon aspirant, but Ethan Klingsberg has also become the lawyer to see for Google, acting on some major deals for the online giant.
Two multi-billion dollar deals have seen Mr Klingsberg cement his role as a central figure as the company keeps its inhouse and outside lawyers busy.
Less than a month after tapping longtime outside counsel Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati to advise on its acquisition of home appliance maker Nest Labs in a $3.2 billion dollar deal that had some observers wondering about what kind of company it is becoming, the Mountain View, Calif.–based Internet giant announced two more notable transactions this week.
In the larger of the two moves, Google said Thursday it had agreed to sell Motorola Mobility for $3 billion to China’s Lenovo, the world’s largest computer maker. That announcement came on the heels of one of Google’s largest-ever European acquisitions, its purchase of artificial intelligence start-up DeepMind. While the terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, various news reports estimated the value at more than $400 million.
Taking the lead on both transactions for Google is Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton M&A partner Ethan Klingsberg in New York.
As it happens, Klingsberg played a similar role—and earned Am Law Daily Dealmaker of the Week honors in the process—on the company’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility in a 2011 deal aimed at bolstering Google’s patent arsenal to ward off tech industry rivals.
Klingsberg said at the time that Cleary’s first engagement for Google was on its ill-fated advertising deal with rival Yahoo, one that was scuttled by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2008. The firm’s relationship with Google transitioned from antitrust to transactional matters as Cleary began handling M&A deals for an increasingly acquisitive company that has become a key client. Over the past few years Cleary has advised on Google’s $700 million buy of travel data company ITA Software, its $2.4 billion sale of Motorola’s set-top box unit Arris Group and its $1 billion buy of Israeli map software provider Waze.