Partner Timothy Corbett—a US-qualified lawyer based in London and a member of WilmerHale’s Corporate Practice and International Transactions Group—is featured on the cover of The American Lawyer’s April issue, which profiles the 2012 Dealmakers of the Year. The results of the annual contest spotlight 12 lawyers who were behind the year’s most challenging and notable transactions. Corbett was selected for closing one of the most high-profile tech IPOs of the year for Russian Internet search company Yandex N.V., commonly referred to as the “Russian Google.”
After being forced to abandon its first attempt at an IPO following the market meltdown in 2008, Yandex launched on NASDAQ in May 2011. Against the backdrop of fragile and challenging markets and pending elections in Russia—where political sensitivities, particularly with respect to media and Internet businesses, created a heightened level of scrutiny—Corbett, together with former WilmerHale partner Trisha Johnson, led Yandex and the nine-lawyer team through the largest Internet IPO since Google Inc.’s $1.67 billion offering in 2004, and the largest technology float of the year, raising more than $1.3 billion. The IPO valuation makes Yandex Europe’s largest online company.
Throughout the deal, Corbett bridged the cultural gaps and managed the logistical hurdles with a deep understanding of the client, its shareholders, and the dynamics of the Russian market. Corbett also coordinated the work of local counsel in Russia and the Netherlands and worked with counsel for more than 80 selling shareholders in a dozen jurisdictions, as well as the WilmerHale team in London, Boston and New York, to meet the client’s demanding timeline and the requirements of the three lead underwriters.
Speaking about Corbett’s continued performance for Yandex, Corporate Finance Director Dmitry Barsukov, who led the IPO, says, “[Internet companies] can be full of very smart, technical people who usually have no legal or financial experience and who like to question everything. But Tim is not only an excellent securities lawyer, he is also an extremely patient and flexible individual. That was very important – somebody who didn’t have that patience would find it extremely difficult to deal with us.”