John is a partner in our Northern California offices, and a leader in the firm’s Mergers and Acquisitions practice group.

John H. Olson
John H. Olson
San Francisco
Silicon Valley
P+1 415 801 4942
John H. Olson

John is a specialist in mergers & acquisitions, with broad experience advising sellers, buyers and investors in private and public companies in mergers, stock purchases, asset sales and other strategic transactions. John particularly focuses on serving technology industry clients (including software, internet, hardware, scientific equipment and telecommunications), as well as biotech and other life sciences firms, although he also has experience working with financial services and industrial enterprises.

John has closed dozens of M&A transactions, with an aggregate value in excess of $80 billion. Recent private target transactions include representations of:

  • Flipkart in Walmart’s $16 billion investment (at closing, the second largest M&A exit of a VC-backed company and the largest e-commerce acquisition)
  • The Athletic in its $550m sale to The New York Times Company
  • The following companies in their sales to Cisco:
    • Duo Security ($2.35 billion)
    • AppDynamics* ($3.7 billion)
    • Kenna Security
  • Cornershop in multiple transactions resulting in Uber’s acquisition of 100% of the business (Latin Lawyer’s 2021 Private M&A Deal of the Year)
  • Coupa in over ten acquisitions of software companies (including of LLamasoft for $1.5 billion)
  • Hims & Hers in multiple acquisitions of telehealth businesses
  • Arctic Wolf in its acquisition of Tetra Security
  • Wisely in its $187 million sale to Olo
  • ShopKeep in its $440 million sale to Lightspeed POS
  • NGINX in its $670 million sale to F5
  • SpringCM in its $220 million sale to DocuSign
  • Flatiron Health* in its sale to Roche for $1.9 billion

Recent public deals include representing KLA-Tencor* in its $3.4 billion acquisition of Orbotech, Apigee* in its $625 million acquisition by Google, FEI* in its $4.2 billion sale to Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Xactly* in its $564 million going private transaction with Vista Equity Partners. John also represents investors in M&A exits of their portfolio companies, including a consortium of the principal investors (Index, Kleiner Perkins, Greylock) in Figma in its announced $20 billion proposed sale to Adobe, and Thrive Capital in the $7.5 billion acquisition of GitHub by Microsoft.

John also represents target companies on the M&A aspects of transactions with special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), including leading on transactions by BarkBox ($1.6b pro-forma on announcement), Velodyne Lidar ($1.8b pro-forma on announcement) and by Hims & Hers ($1.6b pro-forma on announcement).

John was a recent guest on Drinks With The Deal, a podcast focused on M&A activity. John's podcast focused on SPACs can be accessed here

Prior to joining the firm, John practiced in the San Francisco office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and in the New York and Paris offices of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

Representations denoted by * were prior to joining Gunderson Dettmer.


  • Northwestern University School of Law, J.D.
  • Johns Hopkins University, M.A.
  • Williams College, B.A., Political Science, History


  • California
  • New York