Twenty years ago, David Shipley wouldn’t have guessed that he’d become a lawyer—much less that he’d eventually assist the largest global provider of online dating services with two of its most significant transactions to date.
While attending the University of Texas at Dallas, Shipley studied business administration with a concentration in management information systems. “When I graduated in 2003, I had every intention of pursuing a career within my major,” he says. “But the dot-com bubble had burst, and the kinds of jobs I was looking for—information technology, database management, etc.—weren’t as prevalent as I thought they would be, which left me reevaluating what I wanted to do.
“A friend suggested law school, so I took a few practice LSATs, took the test, got a good score, and ultimately decided to run with it,” he adds, laughing. Shipley graduated from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law in 2007.
During school, Shipley knew that he was most interested in pursuing transactional law, a practice that would set him on a path for going in-house. “I knew I wanted to work for a corporation rather than a law firm. I wanted to be a part of the business team contributing to the success of a business,” he recalls.
Although he knew transactional law was what he wanted to practice, he notes that it wasn’t until his first associate position that he began to be drawn to corporate law. “When I started at Crowe & Dunlevy, most of the people I worked with were corporate attorneys, so I just naturally gravitated to that side of things and ended up really enjoying it,” he explains.
After a few years there, Shipley continued to hone his expertise in transactional law at various other firms—which would eventually lead him to his first in-house position.
“I want to see Match Group continue to be a leader in the industry and I am going to do my part to make it happen.”
“I gained a lot of exposure to corporate and securities law while working for several different firms,” he says. “They helped me prepare and gain the necessary knowledge in order to transition to an in-house position. I was able to interface with clients who were businesspeople rather than just lawyers, which I believe helped set me up for future success.”
In 2014, Shipley’s aspirations to practice law in-house came to fruition when he landed a position at JCPenney as senior counsel of corporate/securities. “I was one of two attorneys and together, we were responsible for a wide breadth of duties, including managing the company’s SEC filings, public company corporate governance, and corporate financing transactions,” he says.
Shipley spent four years in-house at JCPenney before making the jump to Fluor Corp. and then to Match Group, a company that, through its portfolio companies, develops and provides online dating apps and platforms such as Tinder, Match, Hinge, PlentyOfFish, and more.
Now, as a securities and corporate governance attorney at Match Group, Shipley says his responsibilities, like those he had at JCPenney, cover a wide scope. “Our associate general counsel and I are there to be central systems of support to the company,” he says. “There’s a lot we’re responsible for, but my three primary focus areas are global subsidiary governance, our global equity compensation program, and cross-border intercompany restructurings and financings. Over time, I’ve been able to expand the scope of my role to include more of the things I dealt with while working at Penney’s, like corporate finance and governance and SEC filings and regulations.”
In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Shipley also assists and supports Match Group with its merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions. Since joining the company in March 2019, he’s played a role in two significant M&A transactions: the separation from parent company IAC/InterActiveCorp, and currently, the acquisition of Hyperconnect, a social discovery company based in South Korea.
“The separation from IAC was such a transformative transaction for the company because it resulted in Match Group becoming a fully independent public company.”
“The separation from IAC was such a transformative transaction for the company because it resulted in Match Group becoming a fully independent public company,” Shipley says. “I assisted with corporate governance actions, SEC filings, stockholder approvals and payouts, and more. There was a long list of things that needed to be done and my job was to help coordinate and support each action so that the company could consummate the separation as smoothly as possible.”
Shipley says his role in the acquisition of Hyperconnect, which is expected to close later this year, is similar to that of the IAC separation in terms of coordinating actions and providing support to leadership. Additionally, because Hyperconnect is a foreign company, he’s also delving into subsidiary governance as well as the merging of both companies’ equity compensation programs.
Whether it’s a routine SEC filing or assisting the company with a prominent M&A transaction, Shipley will continue to support and provide value to Match Group. “I want to see Match Group continue to be a leader in the industry and I am going to do my part to make it happen,” he says.