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 and corporate governance matters.


Mr. King also represents companies in joint ventures and other strategic partnering transactions, investment and capital markets matters and restructurings. He is a member of Skadden’s Policy Committee.

Mr. King’s M&A practice encompasses friendly and unsolicited transactions and includes some of the largest-ever technology deals, including: NXP Semiconductors N.V. in its proposed but terminated $47 billion acquisition by Qualcomm Incorporated; Broadcom Corporation in its $37 billion acquisition by Avago Technologies Limited; SanDisk Corporation in its $19 billion acquisition by Western Digital Corporation; Intel Corporation in its $15.3 billion acquisition of Mobileye N.V.; and Freescale Semiconductor, Ltd. and a private equity consortium in Freescale’s $11.8 billion acquisition by NXP Semiconductors NV.

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 Ciber, Inc., The Greenbrier Companies, MIPS Technologies, PMC Sierra, Tessera Technologies, Violin Memories, Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. He has advised in situations involving Carl Icahn, Third Point, Starboard, The Clinton Group, Lone Star Value and Relational, 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.

Mr. King was the recipient of the M&A Lifetime Achievement Award at The Deal Awards in 2018. The Recorder recognized him as a California Trailblazer in 2020 and The National Law Journal recognized him as a Mergers and Acquisitions Trailblazer in 2017, noting his decades of groundbreaking work in Silicon Valley. Chambers USA 2020 ranks him 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 practice in the region.

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 was named by the Daily Journal as one of the Top 10 Lawyers of the Decade and appears annually on the Daily Journal’s annual list of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in California. The Recorder has recognized him as an Attorney of the Year and California Lawyer named him one of the top corporate and M&A lawyers in the state (in a group of only nine attorneys listed). In 2013 and 2017, he received a Client Choice award in the M&A category from International Law Office and Lexology. He is recognized annually in The Best Lawyers in America, which named him the 2018 Mergers and Acquisitions Lawyer of the Year for the San Jose region.

Mr. King also has been recognized in virtually every other major legal ranking guide, including Chambers Global, where he is ranked in Band 1 in the Foreign Expert, Japan category; The Legal 500 U.S., The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers, IFLR1000, the PLC Cross-border Mergers and Acquisitions Handbook and Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America, in which he was recognized as a Lawdragon Legend in 2017 and named to the Lawdragon Hall of Fame in 2018.

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



  • J.D., Boalt Hall School of Law (University of California at Berkeley), 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