Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC has provided cradle-to-grave legal advice to Sun Microsystems Inc. The Palo Alto, Calif., law firm advised Sun on its 1986 initial public offering and on numerous deals thereafter, a streak that looks set to end with Sun's $7.4 billion sale to Oracle Corp., announced April 20. Sun started out as a portfolio company of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, whose ties to Wilson go back many years. Kleiner Perkins was also an early investor in Genentech Inc., which used Wilson for many years on a variety of matters, including its sale to Roche Holding AG in March.
Martin Korman, Larry Sonsini and Todd Cleary led the Wilson team that advised Sun on the sale to Oracle, with Scott Sher on antitrust. Korman represented Sun when it bought Storage Technology Corp. for $4.1 billion in 2005. On the banking side, Sun turned to George Boutros at Credit Suisse Group.Oracle is using a Latham & Watkins LLP team led by John Newell as well as Sean Belanga and Ed Nortrup of GTC Law Group LLP. Latham handled the antitrust work for Oracle on its 2005 acquisition of PeopleSoft Inc. and last year advised the company on its purchase of BEA Systems Inc. On the BEA and Sun deals, Oracle did not use a banker, which is unusual in deals of such size. But Oracle co-presidents Charles Phillips Jr. and Safra Catz were both senior bankers before joining the software company. Catz was a managing director at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Inc. before she joined Oracle in 1999, while Phillips was a managing director at Morgan Stanley.