Cravath Swaine & Moore

United States

IFLR1000 Reviews

Financial and corporate

Full-service firm Cravath Swaine & Moore was founded in 1819. Since then, it has emerged as one of United States’ top firms for banking, M&A and debt and equity capital markets. The firm has one office in New York, as well as an international presence with an office in London. 


Focusses / specialisms

The firm is well known for its outstanding work in M&A, banking and capital markets, specifically debt, equity and high yield. However, it also has notable teams in structured finance and securitization, financial services regulatory and restructuring and insolvency.

The banking team advises borrowers and lenders in bridge, revolving, DIP, term loan and credit facilities, acquisition financing and ABLs.

In debt capital markets work the firm represents both issuers and underwriters in high value corporate and sovereign bond offerings. It also advises on a plethora of high yield bond offerings, representing largely underwriters and initial purchasers.

On the equity side the firm again represents both issuers and underwriters in public spin offs, investments, share offerings, secondary offerings and IPOs. 

In M&A the firm represents private equity and strategic buyers and sellers across all industries in mergers, joint ventures and acquisition related matters.

The restructuring and insolvency team can represent all sides, but mostly advises debtors and lenders in billion-dollar Chapter 11 cases.


Key clients

Key clients for the firm include Disney, Occidental Petroleum, Barrick Gold, Viacom, IBM, Shell International Finance, Hasbro, Novartis, CyrusOne, Transdigm, PG&E, Citigroup Global Markets, and Bank of America.


Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Throughout the research period the banking team equally represented borrowers and lenders in many types of financing, but especially credit facilities.

The debt capital markets practice represented an even mix of issuers and underwriters in billion dollar corporate bond offerings. It also worked on a sovereign bond issuance.

In high yield transactions the team represented largely underwriters and initial purchasers in 144A/Reg S senior notes offerings.

In equity capital markets work the team advised on mostly primary and secondary share offerings. Many of these share offerings were through an at-the-market program.

The M&A team represented high profile clients in billion dollar acquisitions, mergers and joint ventures. 

The restructuring and insolvency team continued to represent high profile debtors and lenders in some of the country’s largest Chapter 11 cases.

Though the team worked across all industries, some of the more popular ones were entertainment, oil and gas, technology, mining, consumer goods and pharmaceuticals.

Partner William Whelan III retired during the research cycle. He practiced debt, equity and high yield capital markets.


Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Alcon eye care devices business spin-off

CBS / Viacom merger

Disney $85 billion acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox

IBM $20 billion fixed and floating rate bond issue

Occidental Petroleum $57 billion acquisition of Anadarko Petroleum

Reynolds Consumer Products Nasdaq IPO

PG&E Chapter 11 restructuring

Transdigm $3.8 billion high yield bond issue

Xerox $24 billion financing