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From Swashbuckling Raiders to Super-CEOs: Gatto Reflects on Twenty Years in M&A Law
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LOOKING BACK on his twenty years in mergers and acquisitions law in an April lecture, Joseph Gatto L’84 sounded less like a longtime partner at Goldman Sachs than a nostalgic war veteran, fondly recalling the rough-and-ready era of his youth.

“[The mid 80’s] was a great time to be a merger banker, with lots of hostile takeover activity going on, larger-than-life clients, bankers and lawyers, and a rapidly changing legal landscape,” he said in his ILE LAW & ENTREPRENEURSHIP LECTURE.

Gatto, a Managing Director and chairman of Consumer Products Banking at Goldman, Sachs & Co., told the story of his participation in the successful prevention of Mesa Petroleum’s hostile takeover of Unocal Corporation in an appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court in 1985. The higher court ruled that a Unocal exchange offer, rather than the Mesa bid, would enhance the security of the corporation.

“At the time the decision was announced on May 17, 1985, I knew that I was hooked on M&A and this heady game of takeover defense,” Gatto said.
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