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Alison S. Ressler

Partner, Los Angeles

Mergers & Acquisitions

Alison Ressler has built a high-profile practice around blockbuster deals that reshape industries and impact the world at large.

Alison had a busy year in 2014, advising Valeant Pharmaceuticals International on a series of transactions including the $53 billion unsolicited offer to acquire Allergan; its pending $1.4 billion agreement with Nestlé S.A. to sell all rights to Restylane, Perlane, Emervel, Sculptra, and Dysport; and its pending acquisition of PreCision Dermatology.

Other highlights of her recent work include handling one of the largest M&A deals in California in 2013, advising ASAC II, an investment vehicle led by Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick and Co-Chairman Brian Kelly, in their purchase of approximately 172 million Activision shares from Vivendi (France), as part of a recapitalization transaction with a total transaction value of approximately $8.14 billion. At the close of the transaction, Activision Blizzard was no longer a controlled company, ASAC owned 24.9 percent of the company and a majority of its shares were owned by the public. She also advised the special committee of the board of directors of Dole Food Co. in the going-private transaction led by its largest shareholder, David Murdock; Zynga in its acquisition of NaturalMotion for $527 million; and Christopher Cole and other executives in connection with the $11.2 billion acquisition of Cole Real Estate Investments by American Realty Capital Properties.

Alison has been widely recognized for her work. Most recently, she was awarded “Best in Corporate Governance” by Euromoney Legal Media Group, and named one of the “Most Influential M&A Advisors” by the Los Angeles Business Journal and one of the “Top 100 Lawyers in California” by the Daily Journal. She is a past “Dealmaker of the Year” in The American Lawyer for her role as quarterback of the $15.2 billion sale of Barclays Global Investors to BlackRock, a transaction the publication described as the “deal of a lifetime.”

Quality Matters

But it's not the size or number of Alison's deals that clients value the most—it's the quality of her work and her leadership skills. The head of corporate legal for Barclays noted, “Alison runs her deals like a great conductor leading an orchestra.” A client, posting on The Best Lawyers in America website, praised Alison as “a dynamo. She has great technical and transaction management skills, a wealth of experience, [is] highly respected, and [sees] the forest for the trees.” Her leadership skills were further commended in April when she was presented with the award for “Outstanding Contribution to Mentoring-Private Practice” at the Chambers USA Women in Law 2014 Awards.

Leader at S&C

In addition to her active practice, Alison has sat on Sullivan & Cromwell's management committee since 2003—the first female and first non-New York partner to become one of the committee's 13 appointees. A partner in the Firm's Los Angeles office, she also is responsible for the Firm's practice in California, as well as serving as co-head of the Firm's Private Equity Group.

Balanced Perspective

While she has tackled responsibilities that would keep any lawyer busy, Alison's commitment to work/life balance is commendable. Alison and her husband, Richard, have three daughters and a son. Alison also serves on the board of Brown University as treasurer and as a member of the Dean's Council of Columbia Law School. S&C partner Tracy Richelle High expresses the esteem in which Alison is held by S&C colleagues and friends: “She finds time for all of it. She doesn't make work or family take a back seat; she is an extraordinarily talented and respected lawyer as well as a mother. She shows through example that you do not have to choose one over the other. You can be both.”

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