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Stephen P. Blake
 

Stephen P. Blake

Partner
 
2475 Hanover Street
Palo Alto, CA 94304 
 
Email:
Fax: +1-650-251-5002
Steve Blake is a Litigation Partner in our Palo Alto office. He has extensive experience resolving high-stakes shareholder litigation and securities regulatory matters, and regularly advises clients in connection with mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, commercial disputes and corporate compliance issues. Steve also regularly represents clients in investigations before the SEC and stock exchanges concerning shareholder disclosure, accounting fraud, corruption and insider trading.

Steve frequently writes and lectures on shareholder litigation issues, and is the author of the quarterly “Stock Block” column in The Recorder.  His recent columns “Along Came SPACs, and Then SPAC Litigation” and “SPAC Action, Litigation and Regulatory Reaction” have been widely read.  Steve is a regular advisor to special purpose acquisition companies (“SPACs”) and recently co-moderated a conference entitled “SPACs, De-SPACs and SPAC Litigation.”

Recognized as a 2021 Law360 “Rising Star” in Securities, Steve is also a repeat honoree on Benchmark Litigation’s “40 & Under Hot List,” and was honored by the Daily Journal as one of the “Top 40 Under 40” lawyers in California in 2018. Steve is consistently recognized by The Legal 500 in both M&A Litigation and Shareholder Litigation, and as a “Rising Star” in Northern California securities litigation by Super Lawyers.

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Work Highlights
  • Velocity Financial in the first dismissal of a pandemic-related securities class action related to its January 2020 IPO
  • Silver Lake Partners in dismissal of securities class action relating to Tintri’s IPO
  • The Board of Directors of PG&E Corporation in securities and derivative litigation arising out of wildfires in Northern California
  • Alibaba Group in a dozen multi-forum securities litigations concerning its historic $25 billion New York Stock Exchange initial public offering
  • Silver Lake Partners in multi-forum M&A and appraisal litigation concerning Silver Lake’s 2013 take-private of Dell, Dell’s 2015 acquisition of EMC Corporation and Dell’s 2018 public re-listing transaction
  • Microsoft in M&A litigation concerning its 2016 acquisition of LinkedIn for $26.2 billion and 2021 acquisition of Nuance Communications for $19.7 billion
  • Underwriter syndicates co-led by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley in multiple securities litigations concerning the initial public offerings of Etsy and Zynga
  • Hellman & Friedman in M&A litigation related to its 2019 acquisitions of Ultimate Software for $11 billion and Control4 for $680 million, and its 2021 acquisition of At Home Group for $2.4 billion
Accolades
  • The Legal 500 U.S.
  • IFLR Americas, “Rising Star” in Litigation (2021)
  • Law360, “Rising Star” in Securities (2021)
  • Benchmark Litigation, “40 & Under Hot List” (2021, 2020)
  • Daily Journal, “Top 40 Under 40” (2018)
  • Super Lawyers, “Rising Star” in Securities Litigation
Education
  • University of San Francisco, 2008 J.D.
    summa cum laude
  • Cornell University, 2005 B.A.
    With Distinction in All Subjects
Admissions
  • California 2008
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California 2008
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California 2010
  • New York 2011
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit 2011
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California 2012
  • U. S. District Court Southern District of New York 2014
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit 2016
  • U.S. Supreme Court 2017

Steve Blake is a Partner in the Firm’s Litigation Practice. Steve has extensive experience resolving high-stakes shareholder litigation and securities regulatory matters, and regularly advises clients in connection with mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, commercial disputes and corporate compliance issues. Steve focuses on complex disputes involving corporate crises, cross-border transactions, business valuation and/or accounting matters. 

Steve also regularly represents clients in investigations before the Securities & Exchange Commission, New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority concerning shareholder disclosure, accounting fraud, corruption and insider trading.

Steve is a regular advisor to special purpose acquisition companies (“SPACs”) and has litigated over a dozen cases related to SPAC transactions. He recently co-moderated a conference entitled “SPACs, De-SPACs and SPAC Litigation” in partnership with Sandpiper Partners and FTI Consulting. Steve frequently writes and lectures on stockholder litigation issues, and is the author of the quarterly “Stock Block” column in The Recorder. His recent columns on SPAC litigation, “Along Came SPACs, and Then SPAC Litigation” and “SPAC Action, Litigation and Regulatory Reaction” have been widely read.

Steve’s representative matters have involved Acamar Partners, Allakos, Alibaba, Ant Financial, Broadcom, Caliber Collision, Chevron, ClubCorp, Cyanotech, Dell Technology, Ducati, EQT Partners, Focus Media Holdings, Global Eagle, GO Acquisition Corp., Goldman Sachs, Grocery Outlet, Hellman & Friedman, JPMorgan, KKR & Co., LightInTheBox, Melrose plc, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, MultiPlan, Nortek Global, PG&E Corporation, Press Ganey, Qudian, Silver Lake Partners, TeamHealth, TRW Automotive, True Wind Capital, Twitter, Velocity Financial, Vista Equity, Warburg Pincus and Xunlei Limited.

Representative securities litigation representations:

  • Velocity Financial in the first dismissal of a pandemic-related securities class action related to its January 2020 IPO
  • Silver Lake Partners in dismissal of securities class action relating to Tintri’s IPO
  • The Board of Directors of PG&E Corporation in securities and derivative litigation arising out of wildfires in Northern California
  • Alibaba Group in a dozen multi-forum securities litigations concerning its historic $25 billion New York Stock Exchange initial public offering
  • Underwriter syndicates co-led by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and/or J.P. Morgan in multiple securities litigations concerning the initial public and/or secondary offerings of Etsy, Zynga, Pacific Biosciences, Zeltiq Aesthetics and Vocera Communications
  • Global Eagle Entertainment in connection with internal control weaknesses, delayed annual report and resignation of its CEO and CFO
  • Qudian Inc. in multiple securities litigations in the S.D.N.Y., California and New York

Representative M&A litigation representations:

  • Microsoft in connection with its 2016 acquisition of LinkedIn and 2021 acquisition of Nuance Communications
  • Electronic Arts in connection with its 2021 acquisition of Glu Mobile
  • Silver Lake Partners in connection with its 2013 take-private of Dell, Dell's 2015 acquisition of EMC Corporation and Dell’s 2018 recapitalization transaction, its 2018 investment in AMC Theatres and its 2018 acquisition of Blackhawk Networks
  • Hellman & Friedman in connection with its 2021 acquisition of At Home Group and its 2019 acquisitions of Ultimate Software and Control4
  • EQT and Digital Bridge in connection with their 2020 acquisition of Zayo, and EQT in its 2017 acquisition of Lumos Networks

Representative SPAC-related representations:

  • MultiPlan in connection with seminal Delaware Chancery litigation, federal securities litigation and SPAC M&A litigation over its 2020 de-SPAC business combination with Churchill Capital III valuing MultiPlan at $11 billion
  • GO Acquisition Corp. in connection with closely watched federal Investment Company Act litigation filed
  • Acamar Partners in Delaware Chancery preliminary injunction proceedings over its 2021 business combination with CarLotz valuing CarLotz at $750 million
  • Experience Investment Corporation (KSL Partners) in SPAC M&A litigation over its 2021 business combination with Blade Urban Mobility valuing Blade at $825 million
  • Nebula Caravel (True Wind Capital) in SPAC M&A litigation over its 2021 business combination with Rover valuing Rover at $1.35 billion
  • TWC Tech Holdings II (True Wind Capital) in SPAC M&A litigation over its 2021 business combination with Cellebrite valuing Cellebrite at $2.4 billion

Representative appraisal representations:

  • Silver Lake Partners in connection the 2013 take private of Dell, culminating in a precedent-setting December 2017 post-trial appellate opinion from the Delaware Supreme Court cementing the importance of negotiated deal price as a strong indicator of fair value
  • Calpine in connection with its 2018 acquisition by Energy Capital Partners
  • Press Ganey in connection with its 2016 acquisition by EQT Partners
  • Nortek Global in connection with its 2016 acquisition by Melrose plc
  • TRW Automotive in connection with its 2015 acquisition by ZF Friedrichshafen
  • PLX Technology in connection with its 2014 acquisition by Broadcom

Representative public investigation representations:

  • Alibaba Group in an SEC investigation following revelations concerning a Chinese regulator's criticism over the sale of counterfeit goods
  • Focus Media Holdings in an SEC investigation following a short-seller attack

Representative shareholder derivative representations:

  • The Board of Directors of Chevron Corporation in derivative litigation concerning the 2010 Richmond Refinery Fire
  • Silver Lake in derivative litigations brought by shareholders of AMC Entertainment (2018 PIPE) and eBay (2006 Skype acquisition and 2009 resale to Microsoft)
  • Cyanotech Corporation in derivative litigation brought by an activist shareholder
  • Ubiquiti Networks in derivative litigation

Steve also maintains an active pro bono practice, representing clients at trial and on appeal. He represented high school parents, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network in the precedent-setting American Academy of Pediatrics, California District IX v. Clovis Unified School District which affirmed that California students have a right to sex education that is complete, medically accurate and bias-free and was recognized with the 2015 “Reproductive Justice Award” from the ACLU of Southern California. He also regularly represents immigrants facing expedited removal in partnership with The South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR) and incarcerated individuals in civil rights litigation. He argued the precedent-setting Chess v. Dovey et al. appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which overturned a portion of the Ninth Circuit’s model jury instruction for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.

Steve is consistently recognized by The Legal 500 U.S. in M&A Litigation and Securities: Shareholder Litigation. Recently, Steve was recognized as a 2021 “Rising Star” in Securities by Law360, a series which honors attorneys based on their career accomplishments. He is a repeat honoree on Benchmark Litigation’s “40 & Under Hot List,” which honors the achievements of the nation’s most accomplished law firm partners under the age of 40. In 2018, he was named by the Daily Journal as one the “Top 40 Under 40” in California, a list recognizing the achievements of the region's most promising lawyers. He has been listed as a “Rising Star” in Northern California securities litigation by Super Lawyers for 2014-2019. He received his J.D., summa cum laude, from the University of San Francisco in 2008 and his B.A., with distinction, in Government, from Cornell University in 2005. He is admitted to practice in the state and federal district and appellate courts of California and New York and before the United States Supreme Court.

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