Davis Polk Chair and Managing Partner Neil Barr, Mergers & Acquisitions co-chair Louis Goldberg and M&A partners Shanu Bajaj, Oliver Smith and Brian Wolfe were named 2024 “Dealmakers of the Year” by the American Lawyer in connection with their roles leading two of 2023’s most high-profile transactions. The award honors the lawyers who “brought expertise, creativity and profoundly hard work to bear” to create success for their clients, further solidifying well-earned reputations for excellence.” 

Neil and Brian were recognized for their role leading the Davis Polk team that advised Josh Harris and partners on the $6.05 billion acquisition of the Washington Commanders NFL franchise. The acquisition was the largest price ever paid for a professional sports franchise. 

Brian highlighted that given the unique circumstances of the sale, “there was intense media scrutiny around the entire sales process,” which complicated the deal. “Our group was so personally invested in making sure this deal gets done, personally and for the community, and trying to keep our eye on the prize,” he said. 

Additionally, Louis, Oliver and Shanu were recognized for their work advising ExxonMobil on its $59.5 billion acquisition of Pioneer Natural Resources. The transaction was the largest deal globally in 2023.

While the team was presented with several obstacles throughout the negotiations, that was eased by Davis Polk’s longstanding relationship with Exxon. Louis, Oliver and Shanu also advised Exxon in 2023 on its multi-billion-dollar acquisition of Denbury, and for decades the firm has advised Exxon on major transactions, including its $81 billion acquisition of Mobil in 1999.

“Having worked for this client for so long, relationships have grown [with] understanding of their business,” Louis explained.

American Lawyer’s 2024 “Dealmakers of the Year” were announced on March 20, 2024.

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