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Daniel O’Donnell is Chief Executive Officer of Dechert and, together with the firm’s Chairman, heads the firm’s Policy Committee. He is a nationally recognized advisor to private equity fund sponsors, corporations, and financial institutions as well as company managements, boards of directors, and special committees. He represents clients on public and private mergers and acquisitions—both domestically and internationally—as well as corporate restructurings and corporate governance matters.

Mr. O’Donnell has been recognized for ten consecutive years as a top lawyer for corporate/mergers and acquisitions and private equity by Chambers USA, where he has also been ranked among leading lawyers nationally for private equity buyouts. Chambers has praised him as a “fantastic negotiator with great business sense,” “a very good strategic thinker,” and a “very levelheaded and pragmatic lawyer” who can “make the transaction happen.” In addition, Mr. O’Donnell is listed for his work in both public company mergers and acquisitions and private equity buyouts in The Legal 500 (U.S.), which noted in a recent edition that he is “a terrific legal thinker with great business judgment.” He is also listed in The Best Lawyers in America and as a leading dealmaker in The Lawdragon 500 Leading Dealmakers.

Over the last 30 years, Mr. O’Donnell has been involved in some of the major acquisition activity of the period, including the sale of Getty Oil to Texaco, the sale of Pennwalt Corporation to Elf Aquitaine, and the sale of Reliance Electric by Exxon Corporation. In addition, he has headed Dechert teams for private equity clients in more than 125 leveraged buyout and leveraged recapitalization transactions, including those involving Flender AG, American Microsystems, California Pizza Kitchen, J&L Specialty Steel, MagnaChip Semiconductor, nTelos, Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation, and Mohawk Industries, Inc. He has also handled many significant restructurings of both public and private companies, including Long John Silver’s, O’Sullivan Industries, International Knife & Saw, Inc., Mediq, and Galey & Lord.

Mr. O’Donnell joined Dechert in 1976 as an associate, was promoted to partner in 1982 and was elected as Chief Executive Officer in 2011. As Chief Executive Officer, Mr. O’Donnell has played a key role in developing and implementing the firm’s strategic plan and articulating a set of commitments and guiding principles to help shape the firm’s culture, professional development strategy, growth and integration efforts, and client service model. Mr. O’Donnell has worked closely with the partnership and other firm leaders to build consensus and ensure execution against the firm’s strategic priorities. He has also devoted substantial time to the firm’s international expansion efforts with a focus on seamless integration across offices. Under Mr. O’Donnell’s leadership, Dechert now has 35% of its lawyers outside of the United States. In addition, he is relentlessly client focused and has helped to establish the firm’s first-of-its kind legal project management department, which uses technology, people and processes to drive efficiency and deliver value to the firm’s clients. Mr. O’Donnell is a frequent speaker on legal industry and management topics, and has been featured in a variety of prominent media outlets.

Significant Representations

  • Buckeye Technologies Inc. in its $1.5 billion sale to Georgia-Pacific LLC
  • Intersil Corporation in numerous acquisitions and dispositions, including its: $1.4 billion acquisition of Elantec Semiconductor, Inc., the largest technology transaction of the first quarter of 2002; $529 million acquisition of Xicor, Inc.; $365 million sale of Wireless Networking Products Group to GlobespanVirata, Inc.; $338 million sale of its discrete power business assets to Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation; and acquisitions of Sicom, Inc., Zilker Labs, Inc., D2Audio Corp, and No Wires Needed
  • Court Square Capital Partners and Weston Presidio in their $1.3 billion acquisition of publicly-traded MacDermid Incorporated, a specialty chemical company
  • Church & Dwight in its $380 million acquisition of the Del Pharmaceuticals division from Coty Inc.; its $325 million acquisition of Orange Glo International, a household cleaner products company and maker of OxiClean®; and its acquisition of the SpinBrush toothbrush business from Procter & Gamble 
  • The management team of Getty Images, Inc. in the $2.4 billion acquisition of Getty Images by an affiliate of private equity firm Hellman & Friedman LLC and Getty Images Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Klein
  • Citigroup Venture Capital Equity Partners, L.P. and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan in their $1.1 billion acquisition of Worldspan, L.P. (owned by Delta Air Lines, Inc., Northwest Airlines Corp. and American Airlines parent AMR Corp.) and their $1.4 billion sale of Worldspan, L.P. to Travelport Ltd.
  • Swiss Reinsurance Company in its disposition of its Global Asset Protection Services division to XL Insurance
  • AmeriSource Health Corp. in its $3.7 billion merger of equals transaction with Bergen Brunswig Corp. to form AmerisourceBergen Corp.
  • Citigroup Venture Capital Equity Partners, L.P. in its $822 million acquisition of the non-memory business (now known as MagnaChip Semiconductor) of South Korean chip manufacturer Hynix Semiconductor Inc. Also represented MagnaChip Semiconductor in its subsequent $750 million Rule 144A/Regulation S offering, which was the largest high yield bond offering in the United States for a Korean-headquartered company and among the top four priced bond deals in the technology sector in the past three years at the time of issuance
  • Preferred Unlimited, Inc. in its $337 million acquisition, along with Golden Gate Capital, of U.S. Silica from Harbinger Capital
  • Numerous private equity sponsors or Special Committees in “going private” transactions involving Delco Remy International, Inc., Sybron Chemicals, Cort Business Services, DavCo Restaurants Inc., and Insignia Financial Services.
In addition, Mr. O’Donnell has served as a member of the board of directors of numerous business corporations, including East River Bank.


University of Notre Dame, B.A., 1973, summa cum laude
University of Pennsylvania Law School, J.D., 1976, Order of the Coif, member of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, recipient of the McCall Prize for graduating first in his class

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Board of Advisors of the Penn Wharton Institute for Law and Economics 
Advisory Council of the University of Notre Dame College of Arts and Letters