For more than four decades, Fenwick & West LLP has helped some of the world’s most recognized companies become, and remain, market leaders. From emerging enterprises to large public corporations, our clients are leaders in the technology, life sciences and cleantech sectors and are fundamentally changing the world through rapid innovation.  MORE >

Fenwick & West was founded in 1972 in the heart of Silicon Valley—before “Silicon Valley” existed—by four visionary lawyers who left a top-tier New York law firm to pursue their shared belief that technology would revolutionize the business world and to pioneer the legal work for those technological innovations. In order to be most effective, they decided they needed to move to a location close to primary research and technology development. These four attorneys opened their first office in downtown Palo Alto, and Fenwick became one of the first technology law firms in the world.  MORE >

From our founding in 1972, Fenwick has been committed to promoting diversity and inclusion both within our firm and throughout the legal profession. For almost four decades, the firm has actively promoted an open and inclusive work environment and committed significant resources towards improving our diversity efforts at every level.  MORE >

FLEX by Fenwick is the only service created by an AmLaw 100 firm that provides flexible and cost-effective solutions for interim in-house legal needs to high-growth companies.  MORE >

Fenwick & West handles significant cross-border legal and business issues for a wide range of technology and life sciences who operate internationally..  MORE >

At Fenwick, we are proud of our commitment to the community and to our culture of making a difference in the lives of individuals and organizations in the communities where we live and work. We recognize that providing legal services is not only an essential part of our professional responsibility, but also an excellent opportunity for our attorneys to gain valuable practical experience, learn new areas of the law and contribute to the community.  MORE >

Year after year, Fenwick & West is honored for excellence in the legal profession. Many of our attorneys are recognized as leaders in their respective fields, and our Corporate, Tax, Litigation and Intellectual Property Practice Groups consistently receive top national and international rankings, including:

  • Named Technology Group of the Year by Law360
  • Ranked #1 in the Americas for number of technology deals in 2015 by Mergermarket
  • Nearly 20 percent of Fenwick partners are ranked by Chambers
  • Consistently ranked among the top 10 law firms in the U.S. for diversity
  • Recognized as having top mentoring and pro bono programs by Euromoney


We take sustainability very seriously at Fenwick. Like many of our clients, we are adopting policies that reduce consumption and waste, and improve efficiency. By using technologies developed by a number of our cleantech clients, we are at the forefront of implementing sustainable policies and practices that minimize environmental impact. In fact, Fenwick has earned recognition in several areas as one of the top US law firms for implementing sustainable business practices.  MORE >

At Fenwick, we have a passion for excellence and innovation that mirrors our client base. Our firm is making revolutionary changes to the practice of law through substantial investments in proprietary technology tools and processes—allowing us to deliver best-in-class legal services more effectively.   MORE >

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Pros and Cons of Splits and Divestitures

January 21, 2015

​Fenwick & West mergers and acquisitions co-chair Doug Cogen was extensively quoted in a Financier Worldwide magazine cover story on the pros and cons of corporate splits and divestitures.

“Divestitures are driven by a number of factors, united by the view that corporate splits drive increased shareholder value than if the two businesses were to remain together," Cogen said. “Improving managerial focus on each business is a key driver, and numerous studies have found that spun-off stocks consistently outperform the wider market, presumably because their management team is able to completely focus on improving operations in the spun company. It is also often the case that one part of the business is growing faster than the other, or is more profitable. In many cases, these are not the same business, so separating them can place the ‘right’ type of investor – growth vs. cash flow – with the right investment.”

The article notes that although “shrinking to grow” is now regarded as an agile strategy to drive value and move a company into the future, splitting a business can still be seen as a sign of weakness.

“In some cases, a divestiture is unwinding a previous acquisition, so some commentators are quick to cite spin-offs or sales as a sign of weakness," Cogen said. "But the business landscape evolves, and separating previously linked businesses can unlock value in a number of ways.”

He added, “Executive focus on a single business can drive tremendous value in the years following a spin. A divestiture can also more closely link the cash bonuses and equity incentives of each business’ employees, resulting in improved retention and incentivization. Another key driver is that in some cases the spun business can access customers that are competitors of the parent, as exemplified by Paypal.”

But divestitures contain a number of unique challenges that must be anticipated, he continued.

“Virtually all companies find that the divestiture process is far more difficult than an acquisition," Cogen explained. "The preparation and audit of carve-out financials for the separated business can often take a year of steady work. Shared functions, such as sales and marketing, finance and human resources need to be allocated between the businesses. Intellectual property used in both businesses needs to be allocated, often with licenses running back to the party not receiving ownership. In many cases, customer and vendor contracts cover both businesses’ product lines. Real estate and capital equipment needs to be allocated. Employees need to be assigned to each business, and it is critical not to see people as ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ in this process. These employees’ equity awards also need to be adjusted for the transaction.”

The full article is available through the Financier Worldwide website.​