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Robert S. Townsend

Robert S. Townsend
serves as Chair of Morrison & Foerster’s 280-lawyer Global Corporate Practice Group and has extensive transactional experience in the fields of mergers and acquisitions, securities law, leveraged buyouts, venture capital, and technology and intellectual property matters. Mr. Townsend’s experience includes transactions in numerous industries, such as software, Internet, media, communications, semiconductor, computers, consumer products, healthcare, life sciences, cleantech, energy, wineries, and vineyards. Mr. Townsend also has extensive international experience, having been involved in transactions in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

Mr. Townsend has represented numerous public and private companies, and investors, in corporate and finance matters ranging from mergers and acquisitions to seed round financings and initial public offerings.  He regularly advises CEOs, Boards of Directors, and Special Committees in strategic and corporate governance issues.  Mr. Townsend has represented clients in more than one hundred public and private company acquisitions, strategic alliances, and financings, ranging in size from over several billion dollars to much smaller transactions.

Representative clients Mr. Townsend has represented include Visa, Intel, Thomson, S.A., Technicolor, Inc., Oracle Corporation, The Clorox Company, Kaiser, Nokia Corporation, McKesson Corporation, Sutter Hill Ventures, GESD Capital, Fujitsu, Nikon, COM Investments (Craig McCaw’s investment company), Lightyear Capital, WR Hambrecht + Co., Robert Mondavi, Ravenswood Winery, Sebastiani,, Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker, Inc., Forterra Systems, Inc., and CleanFish.

Mr. Townsend was named a BTI Client Service All-Star in 2009. He is one of only four BTI All-Stars in San Francisco and one of only 176 All-Stars internationally. The BTI All-Star award is based the highest number of nominations by corporate counsel at Fortune 1000 companies in recognition of superlative client service.  He has been named a Best Lawyer in America in the field of Corporate Law and Mergers & Acquisitions Law every year since 2008. Mr. Townsend was referred to as a “tour de force” in the 2007 Legal 500 Guide in the areas of SEC and Corporate Governance, M&A, private equity, and venture capital and was highly recommended by the 2007 PLC Which Lawyer? Yearbook for Corporate/Mergers & Acquisitions law. He has been recognized by his peers as a “Highly Recommended Practitioner: Corporate Finance, M&A, and Joint Ventures” in the Mergers and Acquisitions Global Counsel Handbook for the past few years.  He was also highly recommended in the 2006 Chambers USA: Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in Corporate/M&A law in Northern California. The San Francisco Magazine has named Mr. Townsend as one of Northern California’s “Super Lawyers” in Mergers and Acquisitions from 2004 to 2007.  In 1996, California Law Business named him as one of the top 25 under 45 California Lawyers.

Mr. Townsend was born in Oakland, California, in 1956. He received his B.S. degree in Business Administration with highest honors from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1978. From 1979 to 1981, Mr. Townsend worked as a legislative assistant with responsibility for international, security, and economic matters for U.S. Congressman Don Edwards. In 1984, Mr. Townsend received his J.D. degree from Stanford Law School. He joined the San Francisco office of Morrison & Foerster in 1984, and became a partner of the firm in 1990. Mr. Townsend moved to the Tokyo office in 1990 where he served as Managing Partner from 1994 to 1996.  Mr. Townsend served as Chair of Morrison & Foerster’s Global Business Department from 1996 to 2003 and during that time oversaw the expansion of the Department from 225 lawyers to almost 500 lawyers.



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