Wachtell lipton rosen & katz salary: Top First Year Law Associate Salaries

Опубликовано: July 31, 2023 в 6:33 am


Категории: Miscellaneous

Top First Year Law Associate Salaries

Some of you may already have a job lined up, but many more of you will begin your search once you’ve passed the bar exam. However much we’d like to deny it, money is a big motivating factor in life. It’s true that money can’t buy you everything. But it sure can make a lot of life more comfortable, especially if you are leaving law school with debts of $100,000 or more.

I thought I could help you out by making your search a little easier. I’ve compiled a list of the top-paying law firms by starting salary.

Factors Affecting a Law Associate’s First Year Salary

While a respected law degree is the first step to earning well, other factors such as specialty, region, the law firm itself, and even the specific industry all play a big role. For example, some of the top-paying industries for law include specialized design services, computer and IT, motion picture industries, and navigational manufacturing. These industries pay upwards of $200,000 per year.

Other factors, such as sector, can also play a role, and it can mean that salaries may vary widely. Public-sector law jobs, for instance, can range from $53,000 to $71,000 per year, while private-sector firms can pay between $45,000 to $180,000 per year. Sometimes this can also depend on the culture of the individual firm and how many employees it has.

In general, lawyers entering the public sector tend to receive lower starting salaries, so as you’ll see on the list below, it is often better to aim for big or private firms if you want to hit that lucrative mark right off the bat. One thing to bear in mind though is that big law firms base a person’s salary on their law school class, which means they compete with other firms to attract the best students.

On that note, let’s take a moment from your finals-studying life to check out some very lucrative firms that pay their associates the big bucks.

  1. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz This is a small New York firm that still operates out of a single Manhattan office. All the founders, except for Katz, still work in the office-Wachtell and Lipton as partners, and Rosen as Of Counsel. Their first-year associates are given a starting salary of $165,000, in addition to a whopping bonus that ranges from 50-100% of their entire salary.
  2. Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP Cravath has been a preeminent firm for almost 200 years. This firm only operates out of two offices and keeps the numbers of lawyers it hires low. The firm is known for its conviction of promoting partners from within, rarely ever hiring lateral partners. Starting salary at Cravath is $160,000.
  3. Sullivan & Cromwell LLP This firm has been ranked in AmLaw 100 since the inception of the rankings. It is well known as an ‘old-timer’ powerhouse among associates and clients. Starting salary at Sullivan is $160,000.
  4. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meager & Flom LLP and Affiliates Skadden is one of the most profitable law firms in the nation. It was the first law firm to ever reach $1 billion in annual revenue. Skadden’s starting salary is $160,000.
  5. Davis Polk & Wardwell This firm was founded in New York City over 160 years ago. It specializes in finance, having departments in capital markets, M&A, bankruptcy, and taxes. Its starting salary is $160,000.
  6. Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP Weil is known as the top bankruptcy firm in the nation. It was founded in New York in 1931 and now overlooks Central Park from its Fifth Avenue office. Over half of its 21 offices are based overseas. Starting salary is $160,000.
  7. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP The founders, Simpson, Thacher, and Bartlett, are all Columbia Law School graduates. The firm was founded in 1884. The firm’s starting salary is $160,000.
  8. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP Cleary Gottlieb is an integrated global partnership. The firm’s first international office opened in 1949. Cleary Gottlieb has awarded its foreign lawyers equal partnership in the firm, gaining a strong advantage in its international presence. The starting salary is $160,000.
  9. Kirkland & Ellis LLP Kirkland has a history of defending newspapers in significant free speech and libel cases, so much so that the University of Chicago actually named its moot courtroom after Kirkland. The starting salary at Kirkland is $160,000.
  10. Latham & Watkins LLP Latham is one of the world’s largest firms. It has over 30 offices around the world. Founding partner Dana Latham was a former commissioner of the IRS. Starting salary at Latham is $160,000.

Get the First Year Law Associate’s Salary You Deserve

Soon you will embark on your bar exam prep and finish the long path towards becoming an attorney. The above firms are some of the most prestigious and powerful institutions in the nation. If you do want to work at one of these law firms, then I wish you the best of luck. But remember, there are hundreds of amazing firms that are changing the world day by day.

Try to think on Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s words: “Making money isn’t hard in itself; what’s hard is to earn it doing something worth devoting one’s life to.”

Happy Studying!

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WLRK Salary: How Much Does WLRK Pay In 2023?

Updated June 29, 2023


To create our salary estimates, Zippia starts with data published in publicly available sources such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Foreign Labor Certification Data Center (FLC) Show More

$56.20 hourly rate

Entry-level salary


yearly salary




Highest paying jobs at WLRK

The highest paying jobs at WLRK are associate, lawyer, foreign law consultant, and word processing specialist. Associate jobs at WLRK earn an average yearly salary of $212,087, WLRK lawyer jobs average $194,426, and WLRK foreign law consultant jobs average $184,476.

The lowest paying WLRK roles include receptionist and internship. WLRK receptionist average salary is $30,171 per year. So while the average WLRK salary is $116,904 there is a big variation in pay depending on the role.

Highest paying jobs at WLRK

Rank Job Title Average WLRK Salary Hourly Rate
1 Associate $212,087 $101.96
2 Lawyer $194,426 $93. 47
3 Foreign Law Consultant $184,476 $88.69
4 Word Processing Specialist $184,224 $88.57
5 Attorney $181,970 $87.49
6 Job Counselor $180,527 $86.79
7 Security Operations Manager $162,394 $78.07
8 Finance Executive $145,060 $69. 74
9 Information Security Analyst $129,979 $62.49
10 Word Processing Supervisor $129,772 $62.39
11 Help Desk Manager $125,817 $60.49
12 Sharepoint Developer $122,591 $58.94
13 Desktop Engineer $122,154 $58. 73
14 Facility Supervisor $119,451 $57.43
15 Docket Clerk $118,174 $56.81
16 Support Analyst $117,237 $56.36
17 Client Liaison $112,091 $53.89
18 Systems Administrator $108,133 $51.99
19 Programmer $107,757 $51. 81
20 Software Developer $107,583 $51.72

How much does WLRK pay by location?

The average WLRK salary varies by location. WLRK salaries are the highest in San Francisco, CA, at $129,460 per year. WLRK pays the second highest average salary in New York, NY, at $127,764 per year. It’s important to factor in the cost of living when negotiating a salary or choosing a place to work.

Highest Paying WLRK Locations

Rank Location Average WLRK Salary Hourly Rate
1 San Francisco, CA $129,460 $62. 24
2 New York, NY $127,764 $61.43
3 Princeton, NJ $116,646 $56.08
4 Chicago, IL $113,337 $54.49

WLRK salaries by department

Salaries at WLRK vary depending on the department you work in. WLRK salaries in the accounting department are the highest with an average salary of $124,040. Employees in the legal department at WLRK receive relatively high salaries as well, with an average salary of $113,595 per year. Departments that don’t pay as well at WLRK include the administrative and the human resources organizational functions, with employees earning average salaries of $65,299 and $71,813, respectively.

Average WLRK salary by department

Rank Department Average WLRK Salary Hourly Rate
1 Accounting $124,040 $59.63
2 Legal $113,595 $54.61
3 IT $110,304 $53.03
4 Customer Service $109,436 $52. 61
5 Engineering $104,640 $50.31
6 Human Resources $71,813 $34.53
7 Administrative $65,300 $31.39

How much does WLRK pay by department?

Best paying WLRK legal salaries

Rank Position Average WLRK Salary Hourly Rate
1 Lawyer $194,426 $93. 47
2 Foreign Law Consultant $184,476 $88.69
3 Litigation Associate $172,984 $83.17
4 Associate Attorney $163,916 $78.81
5 Docket Clerk $118,174 $56.81
6 Contractor-Paralegal $98,274 $47.25
7 Corporate Paralegal $93,501 $44. 95
8 Litigation Paralegal $86,722 $41.69
9 Legal Administrative Secretary $72,724 $34.96
10 Legal Assistant $62,564 $30.08

Best paying WLRK administrative salaries

Rank Position Average WLRK Salary Hourly Rate
1 Word Processing Supervisor $129,772 $62. 39
2 Facility Supervisor $119,451 $57.43
3 Reprographics Technician $74,578 $35.85
4 Legal Secretary $60,111 $28.90
5 Administrative Assistant $46,112 $22.17
6 Coordinator Assistant $34,398 $16.54
7 Receptionist $30,172 $14. 51

Best paying WLRK IT salaries

Rank Position Average WLRK Salary Hourly Rate
1 Data Processing Manager $157,526 $75.73
2 Information Security Analyst $129,979 $62.49
3 Help Desk Manager $125,817 $60. 49
4 Desktop Engineer $122,154 $58.73
5 Systems Administrator $108,133 $51.99
6 Technical Support Specialist $106,478 $51.19
7 Information Technology Analyst $99,408 $47.79
8 Workstation Technician $88,159 $42. 38

WLRK competitors’ average salaries

Average salaries at WLRK competitors, like Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Kirkland & Ellis, and Shearman & Sterling, vary. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett employees earn the highest salaries, with an average yearly salary of $144,498. The average salary at Kirkland & Ellis is $141,997 per year, and the average salary at Shearman & Sterling is $141,422 per year.

Highest paying WLRK competitors

Rank Company Name Zippia Score Average Salary
1 Simpson Thacher & Bartlett 4. 9 $144,498
2 Kirkland & Ellis 4.9 $141,997
3 Shearman & Sterling 4.9 $141,422
4 Davis Polk & Wardwell 4.9 $135,906
5 Sullivan & Cromwell 5.0 $135,120
6 Ropes & Gray 4.9 $133,601
7 Skadden 4. 9 $132,899
8 Cravath 4.9 $125,732
9 Willkie Farr & Gallagher 4.9 $125,525
10 Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale 4.6 $121,920
11 Latham & Watkins 4.9 $118,331
12 Debevoise & Plimpton 4.9 $117,403
13 Covington & Burling 4. 9 $106,172
14 Weil 4.9 $105,104
15 Proskauer Rose 4.9 $96,902
16 Jones Day 5.0 $93,689
17 Arnold & Porter 4.9 $91,110
18 Williams & Connolly 4.9 $90,743
19 Kelley Drye & Warren 4. 8 $85,694
20 Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld 4.9 $80,753

Recently added WLRK salaries

Job Location Date Added Salary
Receptionist New York, NY 04/10/2023 $60,000
Proofreader New York, NY 04/10/2023 $64,697
Senior Information Security Engineer/Analyst New York, NY 04/05/2023 $200,000
Library Resources Manager New York, NY 04/05/2023 $110,000
Word Processing Lead Operator New York, NY 02/11/2023 $110,000

Show More

Frequently asked questions about WLRK salaries

Is the pay good at WLRK?

Yes, the pay is good at WLRK. Compared to the industry average of $116,226 per year, the average annual salary at WLRK is $116,904, which is 0.58% higher.

What is the starting pay at WLRK?

The starting pay at WLRK is $64,000 per year, or $30.77 per hour.

How much does WLRK pay compared to Weil?

WLRK pays $116,904 per year on average compared to Weil which pays $105,104. That works out to $56.20 per hour at WLRK, compared to $50.53 per hour at Weil.

How much does WLRK pay an hour?

WLRK pays $56.20 an hour, on average.

What benefits does Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz offer?

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz offers benefits to full-time employees. Insurance benefits include:

  • Health insurance

  • Dental insurance

  • Vision insurance

  • Prescription coverage

  • Life insurance

  • Temporary disability insurance

  • Long-term disability insurance

  • Accidental death and dismemberment insurance

Have more questions? See all answers to common company questions.

Search for jobs

Zippia gives an in-depth look into the details of WLRK, including salaries, political affiliations, employee data, and more, in order to inform job seekers about WLRK. The employee data is based on information from people who have self-reported their past or current employments at WLRK. The data on this page is also based on data sources collected from public and open data sources on the Internet and other locations, as well as proprietary data we licensed from other companies. Sources of data may include, but are not limited to, the BLS, company filings, estimates based on those filings, h2B filings, and other public and private datasets. While we have made attempts to ensure that the information displayed are correct, Zippia is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of this information. None of the information on this page has been provided or approved by WLRK. The data presented on this page does not represent the view of WLRK and its employees or that of Zippia.

WLRK may also be known as or be related to Elliott Stein, WLRK, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz LLP, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz LLP.

The Ideal Law Firm: Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz partner talks about how the

legal business leader works Billing, large staff, hierarchy and many responsibilities are traditionally considered an integral part of the work of a lawyer. However, the path to success for a law firm may lie in a completely different way: informal interaction with colleagues, exchange of experience and real, rather than nominal partnership.

Andrew Nussbaum, partner in corporate practice at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, America’s most prestigious law firm, which has been a leader in the global market for supporting major transactions and resolving complex corporate conflicts, spoke about how to build a “human” company, which at the same time will be in the top of the best law firms in the world. Nussbaum, who gave a lecture to students of the Higher School of Economics on the role of litigation in American M&A practice, explained how one of the brightest companies in the American legal market is organized and why it is important for a novice lawyer to work in court.

The lecture was organized by the Department of Practical Jurisprudence of the National Research University Higher School of Economics, headed by Sergey Savelyev, partner at the law firm Saveliev, Batanov & Partners. Sergey himself says that he is very pleased that this is not the first time he has been able to organize a lecture with the participation of world leaders in the field of corporate projects and disputes, who are ready to share their experience with the Russian public. Such a format of cooperation is very important, since the very work of the Department implies an appeal not only to the best national, but also to world practices, including the management of a law firm.

For the 10th consecutive year, US career site Vault has named the New York law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz America’s Most Prestigious Law Firm. Lawyers are known for taking on hard work, the Vault explained. However, there can be no easy job for such a company: it specializes in large and complex transactions, including a $ 50 billion deal for the purchase of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America. However, the firm is unlike its competitors, said Andrew Nussbaum, a partner in the company’s corporate practice. The reason is the professionalism of partners; for example, Nussbaum, who worked for Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz for many years, previously served as an assistant to the most prominent judges of the US Armed Forces, often taking diametrically opposed positions in disputes – Ruth Ginzburg and Antonina Scalia. But not only – it is also a special attitude to the matter.

Typical features of an American law firm – many associates tied to one partner, 5-7 people on average, “eat what you kill” compensation and hourly billing. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz are sure that the work should be done differently.

“Corporate culture is the most important thing in a law firm because a law firm only succeeds as much as its people succeed,” said Andrew Nussbaum, partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.

lawyer to partner ratio at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Typical features of an American law firm – many associates tied to one partner, 5-7 people on average, “eat what you kill” compensation and hourly billing. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz are sure that the work should be done differently.

“Corporate culture is the most important thing in a law firm because a law firm only succeeds as much as its people succeed,” said Andrew Nussbaum, partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.

About teamwork

There is no significant disproportion between the number of partners and the number of lawyers in the company: it can be said that all employees have a similar set of competencies, says Andrew Nusssbaum. At Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, there are no more than two associates per partner, which, according to Nussbaum, allows a novice lawyer to have direct contact with very experienced employees. “Today, in most cases, on the contrary, young employees learn from those who are in the law firm for two years more than themselves. This is less effective,” says Nussbaum. In the company, in fact, they apply the principle of “sink or swim” – the partner gives the lawyer the same job that he is busy with and expects a colleague to figure it out.

“We fully involve our employees in the process of closing the deal. For example, if the company (participating in the transaction – ed.) has a meeting of the board of directors, and I have to attend it, then the lawyer working on the project will go to this meeting with me. We provide them with experience, the opportunity to be in the decision rooms, because a lot of corporate law is human interaction, understanding how top managers, heads of legal departments think and make decisions. And in If lawyers don’t meet management in person until they’ve been with the law firm for six or seven years, they don’t get the experience they need, they don’t develop the knowledge they need,” says Andrew Nussbaum.

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz’s strategy is not new: this is how lawyers were trained in the past. “In England, there were special desks for partners. They were quite long. The partner sat on one side, and the young employees sat on the other. The way of learning law for young barristers and solicitors was to observe what the partner was doing and then repeat the actions for him. In theory, a young lawyer learned in this way, turned into a qualified specialist, because he was in direct contact with professionals who did a very high quality job,” Nussbaum said.

About the alternative to billing

Another peculiarity of the company is that it doesn’t keep billing, i.e. records of hours spent by lawyers. Lawyers do not have mandatory annual plans, and the client pays only for the value of the work (value based), but not for the time spent.

“We are trying to estimate the cost of the services provided based on the resources we have involved. This can be the number of lawyers involved in the project, the amount of time spent and, of course, the complexity of the project itself and our ability to find a solution that is unique to it, which is so appreciated by our clients,” explained Nussbaum.

About pricing for services

“At the beginning of the project, we give clients a rough estimate, and at the same time, at the initial stage, we never insist on signing a contract with a specific amount, after all, our task and ultimate goal is that the client likes the work done, for which he wants to pay a suitable price. If he does not like the work or he does not want to pay what we think is fair, we will agree that the client is willing to pay us, but here we will ask him to never call us again, after which we will move on to other clients.0003

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

supported 90,002 major US deals in the last 5 years

Thus, we will give a rough estimate first as an approximate amount, which, as the project develops, may change, and sometimes significantly, since the case may turn out to be more difficult than it seemed at first glance, may require more time or resources, or, on the contrary, may turn out to be easier than expected. After the completion of the project, we issue an invoice already in the amount of a certain amount. Usually clients are satisfied and agree, but sometimes they can say that they want to pay less or, conversely, more, because they really liked the way we work. It must be said that in litigation we sometimes still use billing in addition to the success fee, but this depends on the nature of the dispute.”

About a career as a lawyer

The company has also abandoned another trait typical of law firms – “eat what you kill” compensation. The partnership formula is a hard lock step, when all lawyers or partners of the same level receive the same income. As Andrew Nussbaum himself says, in this firm they argue about anything, but not about money. This approach contributes to the development of an egalitarian culture, the lawyer believes.

However, Wachtell’s lawyers cannot complain about the income. According to Business Insider, the company’s 2016 associate income started at $165,000, only $5,000 more than the New York average. However, the bonuses in the company are huge: before the recession, you could get 100% of your salary, after – half as much, but even those who worked in the company for a year could count on almost $ 250,000.

Beginner lawyers of the company are satisfied with the payment. “The willingness of partners to show how they appreciate the work of associates through compensation is a definite plus. It gives optimism against the background of the hard work that has to be done,” Business Insider quotes associates.

However, there is a lot of work to be done, regardless of experience: everyone is expected to be as diligent as a novice lawyer who has to work 12-14 hours a day at Wachtell.

“Our difference is that we consistently provide quality service, no setbacks or failures. And that’s important because, you know, they say you’re good until you make your last mistake, so we’re very good. Also, when a law firm is small, they don’t hire many lawyers during the year because they just don’t need them. Because of this, we only hire the best lawyers, keeping the team highly professional, which allows us not to make major mistakes working on projects,” says Nussbaum.

About partnerships and running the firm

“To be honest, we have a terrible corporate governance system, we could never go public. No, seriously, we have a really terrible governance system. With one exception – it suits us perfectly,” Nussbaum ironically. The system, he says, is highly informal: “Two partners run the firm, which is a terrible job because they have a lot of decisions to make, and most of us are very happy that someone else does it: sometimes someone needs to be fired, decide how to dispose of office space, and so on. In general, a whole bunch of cases, and, you know, I would rather deal with transactions.”

Most often, managing partners are older people, Nussbaum notes, and management is not the ultimate goal of their work. “Usually they say, ‘OK, I’ll be happy to do this [management of the company] for some time,’ we don’t even vote about it, we just find people who want to do it – and they do it. The advantage of this position is that if I’m going to go to Moscow and give a lecture, I don’t need to ask someone’s permission,” says the partner.

The value of the customer

At Wachtell, partners are much more involved in complex transactions and disputes than, for example, at Sullivan & Cromwel or other firms. This is Wachtell’s model of work, as partners need to be involved in the project and communicate directly with customers.

About the firm’s projects

“We only take projects that we are interested in,” says Nussbaum. If the project does not seem significant enough to lawyers, they will easily abandon it. And, for example, they will redirect the client to colleagues: “We are always happy to give in if we are sure that the client will be more comfortable working with another company. In this case, we will send him there ourselves, and, as a rule, it will be a company with which we have established relations.”

“You have to choose cases wisely – don’t take on every client that comes to you, <...> cases that depend more on the number of lawyers than on your bright ideas. We turn down a lot of clients, and they find it strange. They think they didn’t please us in some way, and ask questions like: “What do you mean you don’t want to represent me?”. It’s not that we don’t want to – we just don’t see the point. not sure <...> better call so-and-so. We know they’re the perfect fit for you.”0003

About changing managing partners

“How often do you change managing partners? Well, maybe when one of them dies? Now the firm is run by two people – Dan Neff and Ed Ehrlihy – they’ve been in the firm for a very long time and have been extremely successful; very experienced. Strictly speaking, the arrangement is that as long as they want to do it – we’re glad they’re in these positions,” says Nussbaum.

If someone wants to leave, this is quite understandable. “We had a former partner, he is now a professor in the same law school. An outstanding corporate lawyer. He became a partner about 20 years ago, and a year after becoming a partner, he left to teach. The process of moving up to partnership in our firm is similar to the contest “Who eats the most pies.” The more pies you eat, the more chances you have. And when you become a partner, the prize is more pies, “Nussbaum ironically.


The company has a concept of ‘retirement partner’: there is an approved retirement policy that provides for retirement at the age of 62.

“After 62, you can stay in the firm for another 5 years, but the share in the firm will decrease: in order to allow new people [new partners] to enter the firm, we must, of course, provide for retirement. But, of course, there can be exceptions. Marty Lipton [one of the firm’s founders – ed.], for example, is much older than 62 years old, but he is still a full partner in the firm, which, of course, is not surprisingly, there are other exceptions. That’s one plus of a small firm – you can afford exceptions.”

About the back office staff

The company pays a lot of attention to the back office: the number of back office employees is about 400-450 people, significantly more than, for example, partners. Food is especially valued, Nussbaum notes.

“There is such a joke that Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz have very tasty food, unlike, for example, Sullivan & Cromwel, and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz come for advice, but stay because of the food.”

About marketing

According to Nussbaum, the company has no marketers at all. “Look at our website! It’s terrible! It’s immediately clear that the company does not have a single marketer,” says Nussbaum. However, the company does not need them, he is sure.

“At Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz they don’t believe that advertising can bring customers, but they will always find a person who would write a small booklet describing their experience. While before, almost no New York firm had marketers, now they are all hired.”

About his career

Nussbaum also spoke about his career. His track record includes working as a clerk for judges Ruth Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia. For a lawyer, Nussbaum considers court experience a necessity.

“You need to understand how a third party will read your contract. If you can’t look at your document from this point of view (the courts – ed.), you can’t consider yourself a full professional. Understand how the judge thinks, how he makes decisions,” Nussbaum said.

how Koos Bekker got rich without a salary – RBC

The son of a South African farmer Koos Bekker did not want to work as a prosecutor in his youth and took up marketing. He is now the CEO of Naspers and the owner of a fortune estimated by Forbes at $1.67 billion

From prosecutors to marketers

Becker was born in 1952 in the provincial town of Heidelberg in the Western Cape of South Africa, into a family of farmers. He attended two universities, Stellenbosch and Witwatersrand, where he studied literature and law. “I got a bachelor’s degree and became a prosecutor in court,” Becker recalled in an interview with Moneyweb. – I felt like a complete loser: I don’t like blood, and most of all I don’t like arguing. So, within the first week, I realized that the years at the university were wasted. I had to do something and all of a sudden I was thinking about business.”

Becker decided to study marketing. He did not receive family support: his father was skeptical about entrepreneurship and was disappointed in the choice of his son. “I became interested in gherkins and at one moment realized that the inhabitants of Sea Point, most of them Jewish, love it when they are spicy and sweet, and the inhabitants of Newlands, as a rule, English women, love them more bland,” recalled the businessman. “It was a great revelation.”

In the early 1980s, Becker went to study marketing in New York. He enrolled at Columbia University, where he researched the nascent cable television market, and returned to South Africa after completing his degree.


Teaming up with several colleagues, young professionals like him, Becker initiated the launch of the M-Net pay TV channel. “There was no pay TV anywhere except in the USA. We picked up the idea, returned to South Africa and became pioneers together with the French,” the businessman shared his memories. – We improvised along the way: here you need to use one technology, there another, and here you need to fasten the wire with chewing gum. But it was exciting, I loved this TV world.”


In 1991, Becker began to study cellular telephony, and soon, together with partners, he launched MTN, which today is one of the leaders in the South African telecommunications market. “Cellular telephony has radically changed society. Imagine how plumbers worked in the 1990s: they went to one job, returned to the office, received instructions, went to another,” Becker explained. “Now imagine how he lives now: you are always on the road and you don’t see the office.”

Head of Naspers

In 1997, Becker was appointed CEO of Nasionale Pers (renamed Naspers a year later). He bet on the Internet. According to Becker, in 1995, when the World Wide Web first appeared in the United States, he did not see its potential. “It was only in 1997 that we realized that something really big was brewing here,” the businessman told Moneyweb. Naspers launched M-Web ISP.

Over the next few years, Becker invested in more than 100 technology companies around the world, Bloomberg notes. Most of these investments went nowhere: online retailers in Africa closed. “Everyone talks about success, but if you think about it, it doesn’t teach us anything. If you fail, you can draw conclusions and act differently next time. An example of this is our investment in Chinese business in 1997 year. All of them turned out to be failures. On one of them, a Beijing Internet provider, we lost $ 80 million – all our money, ”Becker recalled.

Analyzing the failure, the businessman concluded that, instead of hiring a lot of Western managers with standard thinking and overstated demands, you can “find smart entrepreneurs, local people who barely speak English, and follow them, finance, give advice if they need it.” “Our biggest success in China is that we failed so early and so spectacularly that we humbled ourselves and were able to change our policy. Perhaps if we had succeeded with our first investments, which we made by analogy with all Western companies, then as a result we would have failed,” he said.

In 2001, Naspers bought a 46.5% stake in the little-known Chinese messenger developer Tencent. She was a new player in the country’s market, where the Internet was almost not used: by the time of the deal, Tencent had existed for three years and had not made a profit all this time. Now the capitalization of Tencent is $192 billion. The Chinese company is successfully developing businesses in the markets of online media, e-commerce, social networks, social services, mobile applications and online games. The messenger she initially worked on was called QQ, and at the end of 2015 it was used by 853 million people a month (plus 5% compared to last year). “They [the Chinese] came from nowhere at 1990s, and now they are the second, after the USA, the most dynamic market in the world. Big players like Baidoo, Tencent and Alibaba are well on their feet,” Becker said.

Success in the Chinese Internet market allowed Becker to look into other emerging markets as well. In March 2008, Naspers bought the Polish online auction site Allegro, which operates more than 100 e-commerce sites in Central and Eastern Europe, for $1.88 billion. And in 2007 – a 30% stake in Mail.Ru Group for $ 165 million. As reported on the website of the Russian company, as of April 2015, Naspers controlled 27. 6% through its holding company MIH, another 7.4% belonged to Tencent. As of March 31, the capitalization of Mail.Ru Group was $4.8 billion. In October 2015, Naspers announced its intention to become the largest shareholder of the largest ad site in Russia, Avito, by buying out the shares of several shareholders for $1.2 billion: as a result, Naspers’ share in Avito should grow from 17.4 to 67.9%. According to TNS Russia, in February 2016 Avito was the eighth most popular site in Runet with a monthly audience of 25.7 million people.

Director without salary

As CEO of Naspers, Becker did not receive a salary. According to him, which was cited by the Techcentral portal in May 2015, he himself chose the following conditions: he refused the remuneration and was ready to quit within a day without the right to compensation, but in return received generous options for Naspers shares.

In April 2014, Becker stepped down as CEO of Naspers after taking a year off to travel. In April 2015, he returned to the company as non-executive chairman of the board of directors. A month later, in a conversation with Bloomberg, Becker explained that the company’s challenge was “to find countries where there is still room for growth, as many good opportunities have already been missed.” He wants to prove that Naspers is not just a giant venture capital fund built entirely on a single Chinese investment.0003

What else Naspers bought

As part of its e-commerce expansion, Naspers has focused on emerging markets such as India, Russia, China, Brazil and Eastern Europe.

In September 2009, Naspers bought a 91% stake in the Brazilian online retailer BuskaPe for $273 million. As of the end of March, it was ranked 50th in the list of the 500 most popular sites in Brazil, according to Alexa.

Last April, Naspers invested $40 million in the Brazilian platform Movile, which develops mobile applications.

In 2012, the company acquired shares in the Czech Netretail SRO and Internet Mall AS, as well as 70% of the Romanian online retailer eMag.