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Neil Barr


Chair and Managing Partner of Davis Polk. Advises companies, executives and boards on complex transactions and corporate strategy. Previously head of Tax practice.

Neil is the Chair and Managing Partner of Davis Polk. He has a wide-ranging commercial practice advising companies, senior executives and boards on complex transactions and corporate strategy, including issues related to corporate governance and corporate finance. He has represented Fortune 500 companies, major financial institutions, private equity and other asset managers, and high-net-worth individuals on their most significant matters.

Neil was previously head of our Tax practice. His tax work has been recognized by numerous industry publications and focuses on U.S. and cross-border mergers, acquisitions and dispositions, joint ventures, spinoffs and split-offs, and group structuring.

Among his pro bono and community activities, Neil serves on the Executive Committee of the Partnership for New York City and the advisory boards of the Mount Sinai Department of Medicine and the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce. He is a member of the Economic Club of New York.

Experience highlights

  • Morgan Stanley on its acquisition of E*TRADE
  • Sterling Equities on the sale of the New York Mets
  • Pfizer on the Reverse Morris Trust combination of its Upjohn business with Mylan
  • GE on numerous matters, including the strategic realignment of GE Capital, the combination of GE’s oil and gas business with Baker Hughes, and the merger of GE Transportation with Wabtec in a Reverse Morris Trust transaction
  • Comcast on numerous matters, including its successful contested acquisition of Sky and its acquisitions of DreamWorks Animation and NBCUniversal
  • Lockheed Martin on its Reverse Morris Trust combination of its Information Systems & Global Solutions business with Leidos
  • NBCUniversal on its sale of its interest in A&E Networks
  • AstraZeneca on numerous matters, including its strategic oncology collaboration with Merck, the unsolicited bid by Pfizer, the acquisitions of MedImmune and Omthera Pharmaceuticals, the expansion of its diabetes collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb through the acquisition of Amylin Pharmaceuticals and the subsequent acquisition of Bristol Myers Squibb's interest in that collaboration
  • Citigroup on numerous matters, including the sale of OneMain Financial, its loss protection agreement with the U.S. government, and its joint venture of the Smith Barney business with Morgan Stanley
  • McKesson on its healthcare information technology joint venture with Change Healthcare Holdings and the subsequent IPO of Change Healthcare, the divestiture of McKesson’s Enterprise Information Solutions business, and the acquisitions of RxCrossroads and Medical Specialties Distributors
  • VF on its spinoff of Kontoor Brands, comprising VF’s former jeans and outlets businesses
  • ConAgra on the spinoff of its commercial foods business, its acquisition of Ralcorp and the sale of its private brands business
  • Tyson Foods on its acquisitions of Hillshire Brands and AdvancePierre Foods
  • Masco on the spinoff of its installation services business and its acquisition of Kichler Lighting
  • Glenn Dubin on the acquisition of Louis Dreyfus Highbridge Energy (now known as Castleton Commodities International)
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Chambers Global – Tax: Corporate

Chambers USA – Tax, New York

Legal 500 U.S. – Tax

Who's Who Legal – Corporate Tax, Global Leader and Thought Leader

Best Lawyers – “Lawyer of the Year,” Tax Law, New York City, 2022

City & State New York – “Law Power 100,” 2021

Law360 – “Tax MVP of the Year,” 2016 and 2018

Best Lawyers – Tax, New York

J.D., Georgetown University Law Center
  • Order of the Coif
  • magna cum laude
  • Member, The Tax Lawyer
B.S., Finance, University of Virginia
Professional history
  • Managing Partner, 2019-present
  • Head of Tax Department, 2014-2019
  • Partner, 2008-present
  • Associate, 2000-2008
Qualifications and admissions
  • State of New York
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