Steve Blake is a Partner in the Firm’s Litigation Practice. Steve has extensive experience resolving complex shareholder litigation and securities regulatory matters, and regularly advises clients in connection with mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings and corporate compliance issues. Steve frequently represents technology companies, financial institutions, private equity and venture capital firms in high-stakes securities litigation, mergers and acquisitions litigation and appraisal proceedings. Steve excels at the resolution of significantly complex disputes involving corporate crises, cross-border transactions, complex business valuation and/or accounting matters.
Steve also regularly represents clients before the Securities & Exchange Commission, New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in investigations concerning stockholder disclosure, accounting fraud, corruption and insider trading.
Steve’s recent matters have involved Alibaba, Ant Financial, Broadcom, Chevron, ClubCorp, Cyanotech, Dell Computers, Ducati, EQT Partners, Focus Media Holdings, Global Eagle, Goldman Sachs, Hellman & Friedman, JPMorgan, KKR & Co., LightInTheBox, Melrose plc, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Nortek Global, PG&E Corporation, Press Ganey, Qudian, Silver Lake Partners, TeamHealth, TRW Automotive, Twitter, Vista Equity and Xunlei Limited.
Representative securities litigation representations:
- Alibaba Group in a dozen multi-forum securities litigations concerning its historic $25 billion New York Stock Exchange initial public offering
- The Board of Directors of PG&E Corporation in securities and derivative litigation arising out of wildfires in Northern California
- 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:
- 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
- Hellman & Friedman in connection with its 2019 acquisitions of Ultimate Software and Control4
- EQT Partners in connection with its 2019 acquisition of Zayo Holdings and its 2017 acquisition of Lumos Networks
- Blue Buffalo in connection with its 2018 acquisition by General Mills
- ClubCorp in connection with its 2017 acquisition by Apollo
- Microsoft in connection with its 2016 acquisition of LinkedIn
- KKR & Co. in connection with its 2014 acquisition of KKR Financial Holdings
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 stockholder 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 stockholders of AMC Entertainment (2018 PIPE) and eBay (2006 Skype acquisition and 2009 resale to Microsoft)
- Cyanotech Corporation in derivative litigation brought by an activist stockholder
- 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. His team’s work was recognized with the 2015 “Reproductive Justice Award” from the ACLU of Southern California. He also regularly represents incarcerated individuals in civil rights litigation, including 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. 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.