Our team of consultants and experts is frequently retained by counsel representing a variety of clients in the private equity and venture capital sectors, including general and limited partners, acquisition targets, banks, founders, and more. We have a wealth of experience working alongside these legal professionals to support cases in various venues, including the Delaware Court of Chancery and other state and federal courts. Our expertise is invaluable to counsel as they navigate complex legal matters on behalf of their clients.

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Ilya A. Strebulaev

The David S. Lobel Professor of Private Equity and Professor of Finance,
Stanford Graduate School of Business

Ilya Strebulaev is an expert in venture capital and private equity, innovation, investment and financial decision-making, strategic financial decisions, and corporate finance. He has particular interest in how young companies are financed, including via venture capital (VC) and special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). Professor Strebulaev’s recent research has examined the valuation of VC-backed companies, decision-making by startup investors, returns to VC investors, and the impact of VC investments. His earlier research focused on the capital structure of banks and their borrowers, and the impact of taxation and regulation on corporate decision-making.

Professor Strebulaev has served as an associate editor for Finance Research Letters and Management Science. His work has been widely published in leading academic journals, including the Journal of Finance, the Review of Financial Studies, and the Journal of Financial Economics. Among his many honors, Professor Strebulaev has been awarded the prize for the best corporate finance paper published annually in the Journal of Finance; the Fama-DFA Prize for the best capital markets and asset pricing paper published annually in the Journal of Financial Economics; and the Trefftzs Award by the Western Finance Association.

Professor Strebulaev has been a faculty member at the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) since 2004. He has received several awards for excellence in teaching, and serves as the faculty director of the Stanford GSB Venture Capital Initiative. He has taught as a visiting associate professor of finance at the London Business School. Professor Strebulaev is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Paul A. Gompers

Eugene Holman Professor of Business Administration,
Harvard Business School,
Harvard University

Paul Gompers provides expert testimony in securities and valuation cases in a variety of industries. He has addressed issues of the valuation of public and private companies, loss causation, factors affecting public company securities prices, market efficiency, the custom and practice of venture capital and private equity organizations, as well as the terms and conditions of employment agreements at entrepreneurial firms.

Professor Gompers has served as an expert witness in high-profile cases. In Hsu et al. v. Puma Biotechnology Inc. et al., a rare securities class action trial, Professor Gompers testified on loss causation and opined that the plaintiff had failed to reliably quantify damages for the allegedly corrective disclosures.

In the first post-merger appraisal litigation of a public company to reach a decision in trial outside Delaware, the judge accepted Professor Gompers’s fair value analysis. Professor Gompers also rebutted the claims made by the dissenters’ experts.

Other high-profile cases include:

Professor Gompers’s research focuses on the structure, governance, and performance of private equity funds; sources of financing, incentive design, and performance of private firms; and long-run performance evaluation for newly public companies. His work on private equity funds has examined the relationship between general partners and their portfolio companies, as well as the relationship between institutional investors and private equity fund managers. Additionally, Professor Gompers has examined the relationship of corporate governance and firm performance as well as the role that institutional investors play in public equity markets.

He was a director of research at the Harvard Business School for nine years, has served as faculty chair of the M.B.A. Elective Curriculum, and as a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He also has served as a consultant, board member, or advisor to numerous companies, investment banks, private equity funds, and venture capital firms.

Professor Gompers has coauthored several books and has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed finance and economics journals. He is an associate editor and referee for a number of leading academic journals.

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Mark J. Garmaise

Professor of Finance,
UCLA Anderson School of Management,
University of California, Los Angeles

Mark Garmaise is a corporate finance expert who specializes in topics related to banking, entrepreneurship, financial contracting, real estate, and securities. Professor Garmaise has testified in high-profile cases involving breach of contract, valuation, and damages. In Rule 10b-5 securities class actions and related opt-out matters, he has provided expert testimony on class certification and merits issues, including market efficiency, price impact, loss causation, and damages.

His industry experience includes FinTech, cryptocurrency, entertainment, financial services, investment banking, automotive, and microfinance. Professor Garmaise has also consulted with a U.S. bank on refining its residential mortgage delinquency model.

Professor Garmaise analyzes a range of complex issues affecting real estate markets, entrepreneurial firms, venture capital, and private equity. He has published papers on mortgage terms, the performance of small business lenders, and the effects of financial constraints on entrepreneurs. His research has appeared in peer-reviewed publications such as the Review of Financial Studies, the Journal of Finance, and the Quarterly Journal of Economics.

An award-winning instructor with more than two decades of experience, Professor Garmaise teaches MBA and executive courses on corporate finance, venture capital, and private equity (including investment strategies such as the use of special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs). He is a former senior associate dean of the MBA program at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Previously, Professor Garmaise served on the faculty of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Frederick G. Van Zijl

President, RVZ Strategic Advisors;
Former Managing Director, Fortress Investment Group;
Former Head of U.S. Leveraged Finance, Barclays Capital;
Former Managing Director, Goldman Sachs

Rick Van Zijl has more than thirty-five years of experience as a financial services professional. Mr. Van Zijl has held senior roles at leading global investment banks, where he led high-profile transactions. He also served as an investor at a major hedge fund. As an expert witness, he has addressed valuation, access to capital markets, solvency, and leveraged finance, among other issues. His industry experience includes financial institutions, industrials, media, quick service restaurants (QSR), retail, and telecommunications.

Mr. Van Zijl has arranged and invested in customized debt and equity structures to finance buyouts, growth, acquisitions, recapitalizations, and restructurings. He has underwritten scores of debt capital market transactions, and has been involved in all stages of debt issuance, including origination, structuring, and syndication. Mr. Van Zijl has deep experience with leveraged loans, high-yield bonds, bridge financing, and mezzanine and distressed debt. His experience includes leading the debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing for the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and working on such notable restructuring transactions as Xerox and Solectron.

As president of RVZ Strategic Advisors, Mr. Van Zijl consults on topics related to private equity and credit financings in the insurance, lease finance, and asset management industries. Previously, as a managing director at Fortress Investment Group, he evaluated and underwrote investment opportunities in distressed assets, in the specialty finance, media, and infrastructure industries.

Mr. Van Zijl founded and headed the leveraged finance business at Barclays Capital, where he oversaw all noninvestment-grade credit origination and private equity and credit investing in the United States. In that role, he also chaired the firm’s Americas Credit Committee and served on the Americas Investment Banking and Global Investment Committees. Before joining Barclays, Mr. Van Zijl was a managing director at Goldman Sachs, with responsibility for all due diligence, structuring, underwriting, and approval processes for subject transactions in the leveraged finance group.

Featured Cases

Private Equity and Venture Capital Capabilities

Cornerstone Research consults on matters involving business valuation for public and privately held companies. We have worked on a variety of transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, private placements, spin-offs, hostile takeovers, financings, and going-private transactions. In these contexts, we have assessed the adequacy of consideration or reasonably equivalent value, including direct and indirect benefits exchanged in corporate transactions. In addition, we have evaluated fairness opinions and valuations, compared alternative bids, analyzed hedging by various counterparties, and calculated damages arising from corporate transaction litigation. We have also analyzed the impact of capital structure on firm value.

We also have experience with valuation issues in the context of entire fairness disputes and appraisal matters in the Delaware Court of Chancery and other venues.

Cornerstone Research has expertise in the valuation of securities typically involved in financing start-ups or other companies backed by venture capital and private equity firms. These include warrants, options, debt instruments, credit derivatives, and convertible and preferred securities. We have also evaluated specific interests, such as minority shareholder stakes, in both public and private firms.

Corporate governance allegations are common in corporate transactions, including alleged failure by a target company’s board to organize a competitive sales process and set up necessary committees; insufficient disclosures or misrepresentations in merger filings; and conflicts of interest related to executive noncompete agreements, change-of-control pay, and retention by the acquirer.

At Cornerstone Research, we have extensive experience addressing these types of allegations, particularly in private equity and venture capital transactions. We have analyzed governance standards and industry practices for the sale process, proxy disclosures, merger terms, and executive pay. We have also examined the customs and practices of due diligence in acquisitions, private equity, venture capital, and other transactions. Our staff and experts are highly skilled in analyzing these complex issues and providing valuable insights to counsel representing clients in these areas.

At Cornerstone Research, we specialize in valuing intellectual property and contracts, particularly in the context of private equity and venture capital transactions. Our team has expertise in securities and has evaluated a range of agreements, including noncompete, technology development, joint venture, and supply and purchase agreements. In addition, we provide practical approaches to valuing specific assets, including patents, trade secrets, and subsidiaries, and are a valuable resource for counsel representing clients in these transactions.

Cornerstone Research has analyzed private equity and venture capital fund inflows and outflows and the relationship between those flows and fund or company performance. In this context, we have also examined performance incentives for managers and pricing structures for investors.

Cornerstone Research has experience in disputes involving an acquirer’s decision to abandon a proposed acquisition. In these cases, an acquirer may cite, for example, a material adverse change, reliance on misleading information, or other misrepresentations.

We have also addressed post-closing disputes, such as an acquirer alleging that the former target’s management and directors misrepresented information about the target or a former target’s shareholders alleging that the value of their consideration was adversely affected by misinformation or breach.

Cornerstone Research has worked on several disputes over a target company’s resistance to an acquisition proposal. We have worked with experts to prepare opinions on the rationale for and economic effects of target and acquirer strategies in a takeover. We have addressed valuation and other issues arising in this context.

Featured Publications

1 April 2024

Law360 Names Cornerstone Research Professionals to 2024 Editorial Advisory Boards

Law360 taps Cornerstone Research's professionals for private equity & product liability editorial advisory boards.

11 July 2023

Merger Enforcement Considerations: Implications for Venture Capital Markets and Innovation

The authors discuss how M&A is a critically important exit option for venture capitalists and the innovative firms that they fund.

19 January 2023

Q&A with Ilya Strebulaev

WWL interviewed Professor Strebulaev about expert witness work, venture capital trends, and advice he gives to developing corporate finance experts.

6 July 2022

Why Private VC-Backed Cos. Need A New Valuation Method

The authors discuss the challenges of calculating valuation for privately held companies, especially when those companies are growing rapidly and i...

27 April 2022

Cornerstone Research Staff and Affiliated Experts Submit Comments to the Joint FTC-DOJ Inquiry on Merger Enforcement

The FTC and DOJ launched a joint public inquiry to solicit comments from the public on merger enforcement.

22 July 2017

5 Questions with Stuart Gilson: Creating Firm Value

We interview Professor Stuart C. Gilson of the Harvard Business School to gain his insights on how firms create value.

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