Developing Innovative Solutions For The Live-Music Industry

Michael Gisser, CEO


Michael Gisser’s first career was as a musician. A conservatory-trained

trombonist and close contemporary of Yo-Yo Ma, he branched out into jazz,

pop and commercial music and became a top-call musician on the East Coast

before he was 18 years old. Michael performed regularly with the Ringling

Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus and the Ice Capades, as well as backing up

top acts from pop music to TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia, including

Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes (“The Love I Lost”). Since his retirement

from professional music, he still enjoys the trombone, and has learned

didgeridoo as well as the Great Highland Bagpipes and bongos.

After college, Michael commenced a legal career advising clients (sell- and

buy-side) in doing some of the most notable merger and acquisition

transactions all across the globe (selected examples include Skype, Juicy

Couture, 99 Cents Only Stores), as well developing Skadden’s Asia-Pacific

practice from nine lawyers to seven offices in six nations, and more than 200

staff) before retiring in good standing in early 2017. Michael is perhaps the

only person to have advised on transactions greater than $1 billion in size on

four continents.

Chambers Global consistently profiled Michael as a leading lawyer in both

China and the United States. He has been recognized in Corporate/M&A by

Chambers USA and Chambers Asia-Pacific. The Los Angeles Daily Journal

consistently has listed Michael as one of California’s top “Rainmakers.” He

frequently speaks at conferences on mergers and acquisitions, corporate and

international business topics. Michael is an expert in corporate governance

matters, mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance, and regularly teaches

corporate/transaction law topics at Stanford Law School and NYU Law


Michael is currently a Senior Advisor at Europe’s largest venture capital firm,

Atomico, led by Skype founder Niklas Zennström. Michael is an active

investor in growth and technology companies, serving as Senior Advisor and

Board Member.

Michael’s exemplary transactions while at Skadden Arps include:

• Apex Technology Co. (China) in its $4 billion acquisition of

Lexmark International Inc. of the United States

• Youku Inc.’s $1.1 billion merger, via a stock swap, with Tudou

Holdings. Both parties are PRC online video websites

• Pathbreaking U.S. retailer 99 Cents Only Store’s $1.6 billion going

private transaction

• Going-private transactions involving U.S.-listed PRC businesses,

including: Harbin Electric; China Security & Surveillance

Technology; Chemspec International; FunTalk China (each of these

was a "Deal of the Year") as well as many others

• A series of change-of-control transactions involving Skype, the

global Internet communications company, including:

• Microsoft’s purchase of Skype from current investors for

$8.5 billion in cash

• The $2.8 billion acquisition of Skype from eBay Inc. by a

consortium led by Silver Lake

• Skype’s 2005 acquisition by eBay for $3.6 billion

(“Telecom/Technology Deal of the Year”), including the

largest earnout payment ever made

• The sale of Centro Properties Group (Australia)’s U.S. shopping

centers for $9.5 billion to Blackstone Group

• Walt Disney in its acquisition of the Club Penguin children’s website

for up to $700 million (including an earnout)

• Goldman, Sachs & Co. as sole underwriter in a $251 million offering

of common stock by Activision, Inc., a publisher of entertainment

software products

• Juicy Couture, a designer and retailer of women’s wear, in its $200

million sale to Liz Claiborne

• NatSteel Electronics Corporation of Singapore in its $1.4 billion

acquisition by Solectron, Inc.

• Sizeable public and private offerings of equity, debt and high-yield

securities for businesses throughout the U.S. and Asia, including

multiple Deals of the Year


J.D., Stanford Law School, 1982

(Order of the Coif; senior articles

editor, Stanford Law Review; special

projects editor, Stanford Journal of

International Law)

A.B., Harvard College, 1978 (cum


The Juilliard School, pre-college



Member, Executive Committee, Asia

Society Southern California

Active alumnus, Stanford Law School

Bar Memberships

New York