Growing up, Ariel Goldman, a partner in Cahill Gordon & Reindel’s finance practice, was not short on people who pushed him to think harder.
Goldman’s father worked as clinical director at the National Institutes of Health just outside of Washington, D.C. And a multitude of aunts, uncles and other relatives worked as scientists and doctors. Family gatherings always included lively debates. “Their scientific approach to the world had a big impact on me,” he said. “They taught me to ask questions and think critically about my problems.”
“I wanted to forge my own path and thought the law was a good place for me to apply some of that critical thinking in a different direction,” he said.
After graduating from Georgetown University Law Center, Goldman’s legal path led to Cahill Gordon’s Manhattan office, where he represents banks in leveraged buyouts, recapitalization, debt and equity offerings and other corporate finance transactions.
“We constantly have these situations where a company has needs and the bank has needs,” he said. “You need to thread the needle of bringing the two sides together.”
The havoc the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked on companies and employees gave him renewed appreciation for his specialty, said Goldman, recalling his work on investment bank deals that helped keep companies like SeaWorld and The Gap afloat.
“To work on a financing transaction where you’re actually helping people keep their jobs, it’s just very rewarding,” he said. “You’re not just paying some dividend or helping move money from one pile to another. It’s keeping the lights on at companies that employ thousands and thousands of people.”
Goldman and his colleagues represented investment banks, such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., in helping SeaWorld tap $500 million in secured notes in April 2020 to gain more liquidity.
Cahill’s finance team worked on subsequent financings that enabled the amusement park operator to refinance some of that debt with more favorable terms.
The Gap, a retail giant, raised $2.25 billion in secured notes in May 2020 through financing from Morgan Stanley and other investment banks, hashed out by Goldman and his team as it struggled with closed stores during the pandemic.
“It’s very rewarding to help these companies and help the banks work with these companies to get to a successful resolution of an extraordinary, unexpected problem,” he said.
Goldman’s work consistently demonstrates his creativity “when the facts that he encounters are new or nuanced,” said Douglas Horowitz, a partner in Cahill’s corporate practice group who has worked with Goldman.
“He’s quite facile with the banking side as well as the high yield side,” Horowitz said.
His intellectual flexibility also extends to complex financing in mergers and acquisitions. Goldman represented investment banks, including Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank, in the financing of T-Mobile’s mammoth acquisition of Sprint, then a rival wireless carrier when the deal was announced in April 2018. “It was a very large financing with a very complicated structure,” he said.
The deal, which required asset sales for regulators’ approval, closed in early April 2020, just as financial markets were reeling. “I faced a lot of challenges in juggling those different complications, and I think I really grew as an attorney.”
“The Covid wrench at the end was really an unwelcome surprise, but something we were able to navigate through,” he added.
Vigorous exercise helps him deal with the job’s stress, Goldman said. During the pandemic, he resumed long-distance cycling and now rides about 150 miles a week. He often rides out to Bear Mountain State Park, about 50 miles each way from his home in Manhattan.
The exercise is an “opportunity to clear your head and not have the phone ringing or the emails coming in.”
The father of three young children also enjoys taking his kids biking along the Hudson River.
“It’s something we love about living in the city, getting to enjoy that green space,” he said.