Back to News
Mergers & Acquisitions

Drinks With The Deal: Leo Strine Jr.

|
Published: August 20th, 2020
The longtime Delaware judge discusses DuPont, Joe Biden, corporate law in the wake of Covid-19 and Thomas Cromwell on the latest Drinks With The Deal.

The fate of DuPont de Nemours Inc. (DD) is emblematic of the concerns Leo E. Strine Jr. has been been voicing about the American economy for many years, as the former Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court tells David Marcus in the latest Drinks With The Deal podcast.

A pillar of Wilmington’s corporate community since the early 19th century, in 2015 DuPont endured “a proxy fight that exemplified all the worst things about our corporate governance regime,” said Strine, who recently joined Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz as of counsel.

Two years later, the company agreed to merge with Dow Chemical Co., and the combined company then split into three separate entities: DuPont, Dow Inc. (DOW) and Corteva Inc. (CTVA).

“It’s sad,” Strine said. “At one point, New Castle County Delaware had more PhDs than any country in the country” because of DuPont’s commitment to research and development. “There was an awful lot of pain. DuPont is a shadow of itself in terms of its participation in public affairs. To see the DuPont Building in Wilmington — which isn’t called the DuPont building anymore — without the DuPont company is a heart-wrenching thing, and it’s a story about how important it is to have headquarter companies. Anyone who doesn’t understand why nations protect the companies they have, all you have to do is think about Wilmington without DuPont.”

In Strine’s view, DuPont’s fate is the product of a system that has come to excessively privilege the interests of stockholders and senior management over those of workers. He hopes Joseph Biden, a major figure in Delaware and national politics for almost 50 years, can help restore some balance to the American economy.

Strine has focused on another public figure in his leisure reading recently: Thomas Cromwell. Strine loved “The Mirror and The Light,” the final novel in Hilary Mantel’s trilogy about the rise and fall of the chief minister to the English King Henry VIII and one, Strine said, “which I commend to anyone who is involved in public life or exercises any degree of power over any human. It’s a brilliant portrayal of how power and influence can change a person in a way that’s almost imperceptible to the person himself.”

More podcasts from The Deal are available on iTunesSpotifySoundCloud and on TheDeal.com.

More From Mergers & Acquisitions

Mergers & Acquisitions

T-Mobile/Sprint: Building the Strategy for an 'Unwinnable Case'

By Tom Terrarosa
|
Published: September 11th, 2020
In part one of The Deal’s podcast series in partnership with Cleary Gottlieb, T-Mobile and its advisers discuss the strategy to navigate the company's blockbuster deal with Sprint.
Mergers & Acquisitions

Drinks With The Deal: Cooley's Jamie Leigh

By David Marcus
|
Published: September 3rd, 2020
Cooley's Jamie Leigh discusses advising tech and life sciences companies, her work for Mirror on its agreement to sell to Lululemon and how she's staying sane in the pandemic.
Mergers & Acquisitions

TDE Middle Market: GM AGC Takes Quarterly Reporting to Task

By Tom Terrarosa
|
Published: July 31st, 2020
During a live event Thursday, June 30, at The Deal Economy: Middle Market Week, GM's Rick Hansen said he understands why companies don't want to report their earnings so frequently.