Bloomberg News

Skadden’s Aaron, M&A Lawyer to GM and Mobil, Dies at 69

February 12, 2012

(Adds cause of death in second paragraph.)

Feb. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Roger Aaron, a partner at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP who represented some of America’s largest companies on transformative acquisitions, died yesterday. He was 69.

The cause was cancer, according to a notice published in the New York Times today.

A protégé of Joseph Flom, a pioneer in the mergers and acquisitions business, Aaron helped create the first so-called tracking stock, handled major assignments for Mobil Corp. and General Motors Corp., and helped build his New York-based firm into one of the world’s largest.

“Skadden would not have become the firm it is today without Roger,” said Eric Friedman, the firm’s executive partner, in a statement.

Aaron counseled Mobil on its $79 billion sale to Exxon Corp. in 1999, and USX Corp., then the parent of U.S. Steel, on a defense against activist shareholder Carl Icahn.

Aaron helped create the first tracking stock, a security issued by a corporation to reflect the performance of a single division, his Skadden colleague Peter Atkins said in an interview today.

The innovation came as part of General Motors’ 1984 acquisition of H. Ross Perot’s Electronic Data Systems Corp., Atkins said. Aaron helped GM issue a special class of stock tied to the performance of EDS, Atkins said. The technique became popular in the 1990s.

‘Fast Forward’

“For all of us who have lived with it and dealt with it and seen its complexity, it was remarkable exercise in thinking and creativity,” said Atkins, who worked with Aaron since they started as summer associates together in 1967.

A graduate of Dartmouth College, Aaron earned degrees from Dartmouth’s Amos Tuck School of Business and Yale Law School, Skadden said.

Aaron became a full-time associate in 1968 -- the 19th lawyer at the firm, which now has more than 1,800, according to the notice in the Times. He became a partner in 1975 and led the firm’s corporate practice for more than 20 years, Skadden said.

Aaron was a downhill skier, a biker and a fitness buff, Friedman said in an interview.

“This is someone who ran at only one speed all the time,” Friedman said. “Fast forward.”

Aaron is survived by his wife Virginia (Ginny), two sons, Peter and Todd, a daughter-in-law, two grandsons and his mother and sister.

--Editors: Sylvia Wier, Kevin Miller, David Marino

To contact the reporter on this story: Zachary Mider in New York at zmider1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jennifer Sondag at jsondag@bloomberg.net


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