Apr. 18, 2000
Just Another Acquisition for Camahort
It's another day, another billion-dollar deal for Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati partner Steve Camahort. And today's deal is OpenTV's $2.5 billion acquisition of Internet old-timer Spyglass - just another fast-paced high-tech job for Camahort, who is used to breezing into a complex transaction, assessing the situation, resolving matters and moving on.
It's another day, another billion-dollar deal for Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati partner Steve Camahort.
And today's deal is OpenTV's $2.5 billion acquisition of Internet old-timer Spyglass - just another fast-paced high-tech job for Camahort, who is used to breezing into a complex transaction, assessing the situation, resolving matters and moving on.
Assisting a digital interactive television company in its acquisition of an Internet software company is the kind of deal that Camahort, who left Palo Alto's Brobeck Phleger & Harrison in August to open Wilson Sonsini's new San Francisco office, does best.
"Some people like to handle ongoing, day-to-day business matters for regular clients," Camahort says. "I just enjoy the excitement of coming in and having a week to get something done."
And so, like the gunfighter of old westerns who rode into town with his band of outlaws just long enough to leave his mark, Camahort has roamed from deal to deal with his team of attorneys, packing plenty of expertise.
When he came to Wilson Sonsini from Brobeck with colleague Mike Kennedy, it was with the understanding that the two would establish a mergers and acquisition practice in a new San Francisco office. Still, operating in a temporary office space and with plans for eventual expansion into a broad corporate law practice, Camahort and Kennedy have made their start focusing on acquisitions like the recent deal between Spyglass and OpenTV.
"We're just kind of toiling away, cranking out deals," Camahort laughs. "It's been really intense in Silicon Valley," he says, adding that he doesn't expect the pace to slow:
"It's quite a bit like something new every week - a deal a week, in fact."
OpenTV's merger with Spyglass, though one of many deals Camahort has seen come and go, was particularly interesting because it signals a shift in the way online services are accessed. Spyglass was one of the first companies to capitalize on private consumer use of the Internet by developing a Web browser in 1994. It will relinquish its ownership and technology to OpenTV, which has previously focused on satellite-based interactive television.
"The markets perceive there to be a lot of growth coming in these digital set top boxes," Camahort says, explaining that digital interactive television is expected to expand to include online services. "A lot more people have televisions than PCs," he says, "and theoretically if you can make it convenient to surf the Internet on the television, there could be a lot of growth in the online market."
To Camahort's discerning eye, this deal is good business - especially considering that eventually the technology that OpenTV will obtain through Spyglass may allow transmission of digitized content over wireless devices like cellular phones.
"Spyglass can help OpenTV step up and have a more functional Internet-browsing capability as broadband access comes to the television set," says Camahort. "It's nice timing for OpenTV. This will help them get to market that much more quickly when the demand rises."
Past Deals: Camahort recently represented Etec in its $3 billion acquisition by Applied Materials, USWeb/CKS in its $8 billion merger with Whittman Hart and Doubleclick in its $85 million investment in Valueclick. He is currently representing Netiq in its proposed $1.2 billion merger with Mission Critical Software as well as Internet Capital Group in its proposed $650 million acquisition of a controlling interest in Rightworks.
Quote: We very much appreciated the opportunity to work with James Brown and the rest of the great in-house team he has assembled on OpenTV's first acquisition since its IPO.