Gregg Lemkau was always a bit of a geek, but he learned to
hide it early. Hed be reading a comic book or some
light magazine, and inside it would be a textbook,
recalls former Dartmouth College head soccer coach Bobby Clark
of the young Lemkau, who played goalie for a team that made it
to the National Collegiate Athletic Associations Division
I quarterfinals in 1990. Although Lemkau was studious, Clark
adds, he competed hard and never stopped smiling.
Those qualities have served the father of four well. In
September, Goldman Sachs Group named London-based Lemkau head
of mergers and acquisitions for Europe, the Middle East, Africa
and Asia-Pacific. He previously co-led the technology, media
and telecommunications division with George Lee; Anthony Noto
has succeeded him in that role. Lemkau, 42, left the post on a
high note: This year Goldman ranks first in the TMT sector,
with $107.6 billion in deal volume through mid-October,
according to Dealogic a 39 percent jump over the whole
of 2010, when the firm ranked sixth.
Among other 2011 deals, Lemkau has advised U.K. software
maker Autonomy Corp. on its $11.7 billion takeover by
Hewlett-Packard Co. and private equity firm Silver Lake
Partners on its $8.5 billion sale of online phone service
Skype to Microsoft Corp. In a fundraising effort for Palo Alto,
Californiabased Facebook, he helped Mark
Zuckerbergs social network secure $1.5 billion.
Lemkau describes his work as highly stimulating. Every
person you have the chance to interact with in this job is
great at what they do, he says. It helps make you
better at what you do, builds great experience and forces you
to be on the top of your game.
That includes jawing with clients like Russian Internet
tycoon Yuri Milner, an investor in Facebook and founder of Hong
Kongbased DST Global, whom Lemkau advised on the
$5.7 billion initial public offering of Mail.ru Group
last year. We had a very profound conversation about the
trends and the space, the billionaire says.
Greggs extremely professional and knowledgeable
about the Internet.
At Dartmouth the Boston-born Lemkau planned to pursue a
legal career. After graduating in 1991 with a degree in
economics and government, he joined a leading law firm as an
M&A paralegal. But his friends lives in banking
appealed to him more, so the following year he started at
Goldman as an analyst.
In the mid-1990s, Lemkau moved to San Francisco, where he
helped launch Goldmans tech M&A business. Returning
to New York when the dot-com bubble burst, he became co-head of
the health care group. He also spent a year as COO of
Goldmans investment bank before moving to London in 2008
to co-head the TMT team with Lee, who works out of San
Lemkau and Lee, who have been friends since they took the
same associate training class in 1994, combined forces for the
Facebook deal. First, Lemkau oversaw the creation of a
special-purpose vehicle for Goldman and DST to invest in
Facebook and give it a large capital infusion without an IPO.
Next, Lee led the due diligence to support Facebooks
valuation. Then Goldmans private wealth management
division raised money for the SPV from its global clients.
The deal $375 million came from Goldman itself
was a complex cross-border transaction that needed to be
done quickly, quietly and efficiently, Lemkau says. That meant
coordinating around the clock through holidays, across
divisions and around the globe.
Besides cash in hand, Facebook got an impressive new
$50 billion valuation. As the relationship banker, Lee
played a critical role in justifying that figure and getting
Goldmans clients comfortable with it. Facebook had
already attracted investors such as Microsoft in 2007 and DST
predecessor Digital Sky Technologies in 2009, but at those
times its value was $15 billion and $10 billion,
The deal upset non-Goldman investors who wanted in on
Facebook too. But Lemkau says it was a far more opportunistic
and efficient way for Zuckerberg and company to raise capital
than an IPO.
Although M&A activity has stalled in recent months,
Lemkau doesnt think the dry spell will last, because of
the cheap cost of capital and bargain valuations for potential
takeover candidates. But for one missing factor, we would
be experiencing an M&A boom, and that missing factor is CEO
and board confidence, he says, adding that a more stable
macroeconomy will bring business back. When that happens,
Lemkau will be ready to follow the ball.