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Drinks With The Deal: Hughes Hubbard's Ken Lefkowitz

Published: January 22nd, 2021
The M&A attorney talks about a career in dealmaking for clients including Frank Lorenzo and Singapore ride-hailing company Grab.

Kenneth Lefkowitz has advised companies ranging from Jet Capital Corp. to Grab Holdings Inc. over his 37 years as an M&A lawyer at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, and his work for Frank Lorenzo’s 1970s and 1980s airline takeover vehicle helped lead to deals for Grab, a Singapore ride-hailing, food delivery and digital payment company, Lefkowitz tells David Marcus in this week’s Drinks With The Deal.

Lefkowitz met Kevin Moore when he was Jet Capital’s CEO. Moore then moved to Clark Estates Inc., the family office of the descendants of Edward Clark, a 19th century lawyer who advised Isaac Singer on patenting the sewing machine and with him co-founded Singer Sewing Machine Co.

Moore introduced Lefkowitz to Martin Peretz, the onetime owner of The New Republic who was married to Clark heir Anne Devereux Labouisse for many years, when Peretz and James Cramer launched TheStreet Inc. Lefkowitz went on to represent TheStreet for many years, even advising it on its purchase of The Deal in 2012. Lefkowitz also advised The New Republic on several deals.

Peretz was a lecturer at Harvard University for many years and introduced Lefkowitz to a number of people including Bom Kim, a Harvard graduate and onetime New Republic intern who in 2010 launched Coupang, a Korean e-commerce company that employs over 10,000 people. Kim became a Lefkowitz client and introduced him to Anthony Tan, who started Grab in 2012.

Lefkowitz has worked for Grab for several years and advised the company earlier this year on an $856 million investment from an investor group including Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and TIS Intec Group. He also counseled CF Finance Acquisition Corp. earlier this year on its agreement to buy Grosvenor Capital Management LP from Hellman & Friedman LLC for $2 billion. Last year, Lefkowitz also advised Patrick Drahi on his $3.7 billion purchase of Sotheby’s Inc. and worked with CBS Corp. on the merger with Viacom Inc. that formed ViacomCBS Inc. (VIAC).

“What I like is the diversity,” Lefkowitz said of his practice. “Working for one client is not as much fun.”

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