Kenton J. King

Kenton J. King

Partner, Mergers and Acquisitions; Corporate Governance
Kenton J. King is widely recognized as one of the country’s preeminent corporate attorneys. He provides his clients a strong focus on the technology, semiconductor and biotech sectors, regularly handling complex, cross-border M&A transactions and advising companies and boards on shareholder activism, corporate governance and ESG matters.


Mr. King also represents companies in joint ventures and other strategic partnering transactions, investment and capital markets matters and restructurings.

Mr. King’s M&A practice encompasses friendly and unsolicited transactions and includes some of the largest-ever technology deals, including: Activision Blizzard in its $75 billion acquisition by Microsoft Corporation; NXP Semiconductors N.V. in its proposed but terminated $47 billion acquisition by Qualcomm Incorporated; Xilinx, Inc. in its $49 billion acquisition by Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.; Broadcom Corporation in its $37 billion acquisition by Avago Technologies Limited; SanDisk Corporation in its $19 billion acquisition by Western Digital Corporation; and Intel Corporation in its $15.3 billion acquisition of Mobileye N.V.

He previously represented Yahoo! Inc. in Microsoft Corporation’s unsolicited $45 billion acquisition proposal; Ascend Communications, Inc. in its $20 billion acquisition by Lucent Technologies, Inc.; and Compaq Computer Corporation in its $25 billion merger with Hewlett-Packard Company.

Mr. King has represented numerous companies and boards in connection with activist and unsolicited takeover situations, the majority of which remain confidential. Among publicly disclosed situations, he has advised Autodesk, Ciber, Inc., Cypress Semiconductor, The Greenbrier Companies, MIPS Technologies, PayPal, PMC Sierra, Tessera Technologies, Violin Memories, Inc., Western Digital and Yahoo! Inc. He has advised in situations involv­ing Carl Icahn, Elliot, Third Point, Starboard, The Clinton Group, Lone Star Value, Relational and Value Act, among others.

Fluent in Japanese, Mr. King has represented numerous U.S. and Japanese corporations in connection with cross-border transactions. He also has advised multinational corporations on acquisitions and joint ventures in multiple jurisdictions in Europe and Asia. He was resident in Skadden’s Tokyo office in the early 1990s and worked for several years in the Tokyo headquarters of one of Japan’s largest integrated trading companies.

In recognition of his work on Activision’s acquisition by Microsoft, Mr. King was named a Dealmaker of the Year by The American Lawyer in 2024.

Chambers USA 2023 ranks Mr. King as the only Star Individual for M&A in the San Francisco Bay Area and recognizes Skadden’s Palo Alto M&A practice as the only Band 1 Corporate/M&A: The Elite practice in the region. He also was the recipient of the M&A Lifetime Achievement Award at The Deal Awards in 2018. In addition, The Recorder recognized him as a California Trailblazer in 2020 and The National Law Journal named him a Mergers and Acquisitions Trailblazer in 2017, noting his decades of groundbreaking work in Silicon Valley. In addition, on the strength of feedback from his clients, the BTI Consulting Group has recognized him several times as a Client Service All-Star.

In 2023, Mr. King was recognized as a Stand-Out Lawyer by Thomson Reuters and was noted in Variety’s Dealmakers Impact Report, which highlights top attorneys working in film, television and digital media.

He led the deal teams recognized by the Daily Journal with California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year (CLAY) awards for innovative work on behalf of Broadcom Corporation in its acquisition by Avago Technologies (2016) and Intel Corporation in its acquisition of Mobileye N.V. (2018). In connection with The Recorder’s 2016 and 2017 Corporate Department of the Year accolades, Mr. King also was recognized as one of California’s Trusted Advisers, “the lawyers clients turn to for strategic counsel and valued industry insights.” He is recognized annually in The Best Lawyers in America, which has repeatedly named him its San Jose Area Mergers and Acquisitions Lawyer of the Year (2024, 2018 and 2016).

Mr. King also has been recognized in virtually every other major legal ranking guide, including Chambers Global, The Legal 500 U.S. (including as part of its M&A Private Practice Powerlist), The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers, IFLR1000, Who's Who Legal, the PLC Cross-border Mergers and Acquisitions Handbook, Lawdragon’s 500 Leading Lawyers in America and Lawdragon’s 500 Leading Dealmakers in America. He also was previously named to the Lawdragon Hall of Fame and recognized as a Lawdragon Legend.

To view a list of Mr. King's representative transactions, please click here.



  • J.D., University of California, Berkeley School of Law, 1987 (Editor-in-Chief, California Law Review; Order of the Coif)
  • B.A., Stanford University, 1977


  • California


  • Board of Directors, Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy (2006-Present)
  • President, California Law Review, Inc. (1996-1998)


  • Japanese


  • Law Clerk, Hon. Kenneth W. Starr, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (1987-1988)

Kenton J. King

Partner, Mergers and Acquisitions; Corporate Governance