Google places Don Harrison as new head of M&A

Former chief David Lawee to take another position inside Google, reportedly as head of new fund

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
December 7, 2012
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/2c3d

Google is going to be shaking up its executive ranks a bit, changing out the head of its mergers and acquisitions group, and reportedly creating a new late-stage investment group for its old M&A chief to run.

Google confirmed to VatorNews that its Deputy General Counsel, Don Harrison, will be leading Corporate Development beginning in 2013, and that the previous head of M&A, David Lawee, will be pursuing other interests within Google.

According to his Google Ventures profile, Harrison has experience with M&A deals, having completed over 70 deals, as well as an IPO, since coming to work for Google in early 2005.

“Don now leads the legal team that supports Google’s M&A and investment activity and is one of Google’s lead negotiators. Working at Google has also allowed Don to enjoy exposure to a variety of projects, including complex M&A, investments and JV structures, innovative compensation programs, and establishing Google Ventures,” his biography reads.

The news was originally reported by Reuters on Friday, which stated that Lawee will be taking charge of a new late-stage investment group. Google would not confirm or comment on this news.

Google already has an early stage fund, Google Ventures, which Harrison is an advisor to. Founded in 2009, Google Ventures typically funds around 40 to 50 seed-stage deals every year. It invests $250,000 or less in a company, but it has invested to $10 million in around 15 companies. Google Ventures aims to complete one or two deals in the $20 to $50 million range every year.

Last month it was announced that Google would be increasing funding from $200 million to $300 million, so that the company can continue to invest in later stages of development.  By being able to invest larger amounts of money, it will put Google Ventures into the same league as other, more established funds, as well as allow Google Ventures to attract higher-profile deals, as it has not yet invested in any companies that have made it really big.

Some of Google Venture’s investments so far include coupon and deal marketplace WhaleShark Media; online coupon site RetailMeNot; interactive entertainment company Kabam, where it participated in an $85 million round in May 2011; a $10 million round in ridesharing company SideCar; vacation rental home listings website HomeAway; cancer diagnostics company Foundation Medicine; smart-thermostat company Nest; carsharing service RelayRides; and smart-grid company Silver Spring Networks.

It would seem logical that the new late-stage fund would be a continuation of those investments, but the new late-stage fund has not yet been finalized, according to the Reuters report, and could reportedly operate separate from Google Ventures altogether.

(Image source: http://www.googleventures.com)

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