Corporate/M&A: Czech Republic
Due to the number of tables in this section, the editorial is in alphabetical order by firm name.
THE FIRM In addition to its outstanding expertise in banking and finance, Allen & Overy enjoys a growing reputation for its M&A and corporate work. It benefits from its strong international network, and has an in-depth understanding of both the fast-moving consumer goods and TMT sectors. Recent standout mandates include advising AVG Technologies on its internal restructuring and subsequent IPO on the NYSE, and acting for MIH Allegro on the acquisition of Net Direct.
Sources say: "I was impressed with its 24/7 availability, prompt advice, and significant experience."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jan Myska leads the department and is singled out as an excellent negotiator with "a very direct and open approach." He is regularly seen advising on major privatisations and M&A deals. In a recent example, he assisted Glencore Grain with several acquisitions and the start-up of its Czech business activities.
Regional managing partner, Jane Townsend "plays a hands-on role in transactions and is a pleasure to work with," clients confirmed. She led the team representing News in the sale of its Czech billboard advertising company News Outdoor to BigBoard Praha, and is praised for her CEE expertise.
Associate to watch Prokop Verner is noted as "a technically skilled lawyer." He specialises in M&A and corporate law in the field of TMT and data protection.
THE FIRM This international practice is widely perceived to be a growing name on the local market for its work on the M&A, corporate, and private equity side. It offers sector expertise in IT, financial institutions, pharma, transport, and automotives, and is praised for its ability to co-ordinate complex cross-border deals. One such highlight saw it advising ENERN Czech on the acquisition of a minority stake in the regional discount operator Slevomat.cz. The team has also been busy with domestic distressed asset acquisitions and private equity investments. In a recent example, Penta Investments instructed the group on its disposal of the retail stores Zabka and Koruna.
Sources say: "Highly experienced in multi-jurisdictional deals." "It offers broad knowledge, a proactive approach, and a well-established international network."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Tomáš Skoumal is "one of the finest lawyers in the market. He is extremely reliable, client-friendly, and result-oriented," enthuse clients. He is highly regarded for his long-lasting experience in regional transactions as well as his expertise in private equity.
Managing partner Alexandr César is described as "an excellent lawyer." Recently he advised Pepe Jeans on the acquisition of a Czech retailer.
THE FIRM This compact group is well known for its expertise in corporate law, and is noted for its long-standing relationship with client PPF Group. Recent highlights saw it acting for Tromson Limited, a member of the PPF Group, and Berntail Limited on the winding up of a joint venture related to a Russian electronic goods retailer. In addition, the firm is highly recommended for its impressive dispute resolution capabilities. For instance, it represented AnaCap in proceedings before the Czech National Bank in connection with the CZK994 million acquisition of control over Banco Popolare Czech Republic.
Sources say: "The lawyers are not only our legal advisers but also business partners."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jirí Nemec leads the department and is the main point of contact for clients.
THE FIRM This international powerhouse remains one of the top names for complex domestic and cross-border transactions, and is particularly praised for its regional expertise and strength in restructurings. The department also handles a wide array of matters such as takeovers, joint ventures, asset acquisitions, and private equity. High-profile highlights include its ongoing work representing KKCG in relation to the CZK3.81 billion takeover of the insolvent national lottery operator, SAZKA. Other highlights saw it acting for Mitsubishi on the acquisition of a 25% stake in Sungwoo Hitech and Sungwoo Hitech Slovakia from South Korean car parts producer Sungwoo Automotive.
Sources say: "It offers an excellent mix of sound technical knowledge, business savvy, and pragmatic approach; plus the lawyers are fun to work with!" "The team did a great job."
KEY INDIVIDUALS "A standout lawyer and great negotiator," David Koláček is specialised in local and regional M&A transactions. For instance, he advised KIT Digital on a number of acquisitions in the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and the USA.
Gaining increasing recognition for his regional expertise in private equity, Alex Cook is highlighted by sources as "one of the leading names for cross-border matters." A qualified English lawyer, he has over 12 years of experience in the CEE market. Recently he advised the Swiss group Bühler on the acquisition of two manufacturing facilities in the country.
THE FIRM CMS receives considerable praise for its high-quality advice to foreign investors in the CEE market, and is singled out for its private equity expertise. It is a favourite among organisations such as Advent International, MetLife, AnaCap, AES, Honeywell, and Wrigley. The firm's pre-eminence in private equity is evidenced by a number of highlights including advising Mid Europa Partners on the acquisition of shares in ENERGY 21. In addition it represented Somerston Group in the GBP219 million sale of the largest Czech regional shopping centre, Olympia Shopping Centre.
Sources say: "It has excellent understanding of the local and regional business environment. It is proactive, always available, and practical." "An incredibly responsive firm that provides high-quality advice."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Managing partner Helen Rodwell is lauded for her "invaluable foresight, commitment, and solution-oriented approach." She is well versed in regional deals, and has a particular focus on private equity matters. She recently acted for MetLife on the acquisition of Aviva's life insurance and pensions business in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Romania.
Ian Parker splits his time between Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and is described as a "very supportive and smart lawyer." He also acts on English law-governed deals in the private equity sphere.
THE FIRM Salans combined with SNR Denton and FMC in 2013 to become Dentons. Renowned for its prominence in the regional real estate market, this international firm continues to be a go-to firm for deals relating to both real estate acquisitions and general M&A work. Standout mandates include representing IK Investment Partners in its bid for bathroom fittings producer Novaservis. Another highlight saw it acting for the Australian company Wildhorse Energy on a joint venture with local Czech partners. Other clients include Marks & Spencer, Merck Sharp & Dohme, and Riverside.
Sources say: "Salans is especially attractive for us because of its international capabilities and the efficient integration between different offices and practices."
KEY INDIVIDUALS "An excellent problem solver," managing partner Ladislav Štorek specialises in the chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and energy sectors. He is "very attentive to our requests," confirmed a client.
THE FIRM This domestic player consolidates its place on the market by advising on a regular stream of M&A and corporate work. It is highly active in the energy and heavy industry sectors, and boasts clients such as KPMG, EnerCap, and Patria. A standout highlight saw it acting for CGS on the sale of 100% shares in Buzuluk to Chinese firms Dalian Rubber & Plastics Machinery and Tianjin Machinery Import & Export.
Sources say: "Quick, efficient, and target-oriented."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Both Stanislav Servus and Stanislav Dvorák act as co-heads of the department.
THE FIRM This distinguished local firm has a well-established presence on the market. Recognised for its expertise in both transactional and regulatory matters, it continues to be a go-to name for local and international clients. Highlights include advising shareholders of UNILES on the disposal of their stake in the company to Agrofert Holding, and acting for SWECO on the acquisition of a majority stake in Hydrocoop. Other notable clients include ArcelorMittal, New World Resources, and EDF.
Sources say: "The team is very experienced in M&A deals and has in-depth understanding of the local market." "It always keeps its promises."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Vladimíra Glatzová is noted for her expertise in M&A and also advises on the competition and antitrust aspects of transactions. She led the team assisting Scientific Games with the acquisition of Barcrest Group and Cyberview Technology from International Game Technology.
Clients highlight Jirí Sixta's "client-friendly and business-oriented approach." He is also specialised in pharma law.
THE FIRM This sizeable local team is noted for its corporate expertise, and its highly experienced senior partners. It handles major transactions in a wide array of sectors such as heavy industry, energy, and consumer goods.
Sources say: "Dynamic and growing firm." "Precise and communicative."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jaroslav Havel's broad practice covers a wide array of issues such as M&A, banking, and private equity. He is regularly instructed by leading Czech companies, ministries, state-owned enterprises as well as private individuals.
Sources hail Robert Nešpůrek as a "very precise and communicative," and note him for his broad corporate expertise.
THE FIRM Hogan Lovells wins praise for its cross-border capabilities and solid English law expertise. Its broad practice covers sectors from real estate and manufacturing to financial services. Clients include Penta Investments, Karlin Group, and Lennox International. The team acted for Penta Investments on the sale of 100% shares in TES Vsetin and MEZservis to Advent International. Another standout deal for the firm saw it advising the Canadian private pension fund Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan on its majority investment in a joint venture acquiring two major shopping centres in the Czech Republic - Nova Karolina in Ostrava and Forum in Usti nad Labem.
Sources say: "The lawyers always get to the bottom of an issue, even in the most demanding and complex cases."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Miroslav Dubovsky is described as "a hands-on, solutions-oriented adviser, and experienced negotiator." He focuses on corporate and real estate matters.
THE FIRM Private equity and corporate work form two key components of this firm's practice. It has a growing reputation for its ability to field highly experienced lawyers on cross-border deals, particularly in the telecoms and energy sectors. Key highlights include acting for Ferro Poland on the EUR48 million acquisition of Novaservice, and assisting Czech Property Investments with several acquisitions.
KEY INDIVIDUALS German-qualified department head LukášŠevčík is valued for his deal-oriented approach. He advised Ardagh Glass Group on the Czech aspects of the acquisition of the metal packaging group Impress Coöperatieve from Doughty Hanson.
Jitka Logesová is the first point of contact for private equity matters.
THE FIRM A long-established presence on the market, the sizeable team at Kocián Solc Balastík continues to advise on mandates ranging from privatisation deals to recapitalisations and public tenders. Its prominent client base includes Heineken Group, Alpiq Group, and SLOT Group. It has acted on several deals in the automotive and TMT sectors. For instance, it assisted DAF Trucks with the establishment of a partnership with TATRA for a new model of TATRA trucks. It also represented Menghem Equity in the sale of 100% shares in TRADE & TECHNOLOGY, which indirectly runs TV operator Skylink.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Martin Solc specialises in corporate restructurings and M&A, with sources praising his innovation.
Jirí Balastík is a former Minister of Justice, and is regularly seen advising on M&A matters. He led the team acting for UNIMEX GROUP on the sale of duty free shops at Prague airport.
Dagmar Dubecka leads the department. He acted for Keihin on the takeover of the business in heat exchangers for automotive air conditioners from Showa Denko, including its subsidiary companies in the USA, China, Thailand, and the Czech Republic.
THE FIRM Norton Rose fields an impressive team, noted for its growing expertise in the area of forensic due diligence. It typically acts on cross-border M&A projects but is also present in standout local deals. Recent highlights include advising NBGI Private Equity on its acquisition of D5 Logistics Park, and assisting Geneis Private Equity Fund with a number of issues including the sale of its minority stake in Gumotex. Other clients include POS Media and Satcon International.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Milana Chamberlain handles corporate finance deals, as well as energy and procurement matters.
Pavel Kvíčala is picked out by sources for his expertise in M&A and private equity projects.
THE FIRM This full-service local firm excels in corporate and M&A work across CEE as well as domestically. Still enjoying the benefits of its merger with the team at Gide Loyrette Nouel, the team advises both local and foreign entities on a wide array of transactions. It acted for Anheuser-Busch InBev on its high-profile acquisition of Budejovicky mestansky pivovar. Another highlight saw it acting for BXR Media group on its cross-border merger involving six entities domiciled in the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.
Sources say: "I am really pleased with its ability to explain local issues to international clients."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Martin Kříž is hailed as a "very good M&A lawyer" and also recognised for his expertise in the field of banking and finance.
Highly regarded Robert Němec handles a wide array of matters including M&A as well as banking and finance issues.
THE FIRM This outstanding firm fields high-quality corporate lawyers who are able to execute flawlessly a broad spectrum of M&A, joint venture, and regulatory matters. With extensive expertise in the areas of heavy industry and energy, including oil, gas and renewables, the team represents major names including CEZ and Czech Railways. It handled an immense project relating to the construction of two new units of the Temelin nuclear power plant. The deal is anticipated at EUR3.5 billion and the firm is representing CEZ. In another highlight with CEZ, it has advised on the EUR610 million acquisition of 100% shareholding interests in Energotrans.
Sources say: "It offers a broad scope of expertise and an excellent international network." "A strong, committed team that proposes creative solutions." "The lawyers see the legal problems of their clients as their own, which makes a big difference."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Karel Drevinek "stands out for his ability to deliver high-quality services" and is unanimously perceived as "an extraordinary M&A lawyer." He is fluent in English and Russian. Recently he acted for GE Capital on its complex corporate restructuring of its businesses in the Czech Republic.
Managing partner and group head, Karel Muzikar is described as "a phenomenal guy; one of the best lawyers in the country." He represented Ceská sporitelna in the EUR100 million restructuring of a residential real property project, Central Park Prague.
Petr Severa's expertise spans the M&A and private equity spheres. Recently he assisted the Railway Infrastructure Administration with the purchase of part of the business of Czech Railways.
THE FIRM Weinhold Legal boasts a diverse client base, but is particularly noted for its strength in the real estate and energy sectors. In a recent example, it acted for HDS Retail on various acquisitions. It also advised Aelia on the acquisition of 15 duty free shops at the Prague airport in Ruzyně from Unimex Group. Other key clients include Eurovia, Ford, and Auto Kelly.
Sources say: "Highly knowledgeable and precise."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Managing partner and department head, Daniel Weinhold is valued for his dedication and solution-oriented approach.
THE FIRM White & Case continues to thrive in both the local and regional markets for its unparalleled and in-depth expertise. It has significant experience in M&A and private equity, and is very strong on cross-border mandates due to its prominent CEE network and ability to advise on both English and local law. Key mandates include acting for Mid Europa Partners on the CZK9.125 billion recapitalisation of its 39.2% stake in T-Mobile Czech Republic. On the private equity side, it assisted Credo Ventures with an acquisition programme.
Sources say: "A brilliant team that is dedicated, creative and really understands the commercial objectives of the client." "Consistently excellent."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department co-head Michal Dlouhý garners recognition for his advice on both capital markets and M&A transactions. Sources confirm: "We love working with him - he is a great lawyer."
Damian Beaven "has a good sense of humour which really helps when deadlocked in negotiations." He is picked out for his expertise on English law-governed mandates, and plays a crucial role in the firm's CEE deals. He assisted the founding shareholders of Studio Moderna with the sale of a minority stake to a group of private equity investors, led by General Atlantic LLC.
Clients describe Jan Matejček as "a phenomenal lawyer." He offers significant expertise in procurement and investment transactions.
The firm's strength in private equity is much credited to its department co-head, Michal Smrek. Active in the Czech Venture Capital Association, he is praised as the "go-to lawyer for private equity deals - excellent in negotiations and transaction-driven."
Noted for her "flawless deal execution," Alena Naatz emerges as one of the rising stars in the field of private equity.
Noted for his "great understanding of the economic context in which deals are done," Arthur Braun
of bpv Braun Partners s.r.o.
is a German-qualified lawyer specialising in M&A and corporate governance. He is fluent in German, English, Czech, French and Italian, sources note that he is "excellent at bridging the cultural gap."
of Balcar Polansky Eversheds receives praise from clients for his "self-assured and composed approach."
In addition to M&A work, he also advises on competition matters and is hailed as a "strategic thinker"
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