Due to the number of tables in this section, the editorial is in alphabetical order by firm name.
THE FIRM Allen & Overy is a formidable presence on the European corporate market and continues to be a favourite thanks to its outstanding network and depth of expertise. It has highly respected teams across Europe, with particular strength in Benelux. It also has an extremely strong presence across CEE, with offices in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. The group has been active on a range of impressive mandates in recent times including advising 3i on the acquisition of Action, a company that is active in Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. It also represented Hansen Transmissions International in a GBP445 million public takeover bid by ZF Friedrichshafen.
Sources say: “Whenever I have a large, international deal I will use Allen & Overy. The service is always seamless.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS London-based Andrew Ballheimer co-heads the firm's global corporate practice. Other key contacts include Annelies Van der Pauw in the Netherlands, Hans-Christoph Ihrig in Germany and Jane Townsend in the CEE.
THE FIRM With corporate teams located in Germany, Paris, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Sweden as well as its London base, this firm is noted for its ability on cross-border and multi-jurisdictional M&A matters. It has an impressive range of both domestic and international clients, including Hyundai, Ernst & Young and William Hill. The group advised Nomura, Morgan Stanley and SEB Enskilda on the Kingdom of Sweden's sale of 255 million shares in Nordea. It also acted for Ontex on the acquisition of Lille Healthcare and its German subsidiaries.
Sources say: “The increase in the firm's global reach is a huge attraction to us.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Operating from London, Simon Beddow manages the European corporate team.
THE FIRM This firm recently opened an office in Istanbul to enhance its exceptional coverage across multiple European jurisdictions. It is strong in the UK, Spain and Belgium with further key offices in Luxembourg, Germany and the Netherlands. It is also noted for its impressive network across CEE, with distinguished teams in Russia, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is a significant player on private equity mandates, with the team advising Cargill on its USD2.1 billion acquisition of Provimi, a deal that covered 23 jurisdictions. The team has also won some notable M&A mandates in recent times, representing Novatek in the sale of a 12% stake in the company to Total for USD4 billion, and advising Prestige Brands on the acquisition of 17 healthcare brands from GlaxoSmithKline for USD660 million.
Sources say: “What strikes me most about the firm is the high quality of lawyers through the ranks. We can rely on them to operate to the same high standards wherever we need around the world.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Simon Hughes in London, Ines Radmilovic in Hungary and Koen Vanhaerents in Belgium are the firm's key contacts in Europe.
THE FIRM This full-service firm is a hugely respected name for M&A in Italy. It advises both leading Italian and international clients, including BNP Paribas, Generali and Prada. Thanks to its offices in London and Brussels, and 'best friends' network throughout Europe, it is well placed to advise on pan-European deals. Notable mandates include advising GDF SUEZ on the EUR770 million sale of G6 Rete Gas to a consortium including F2i and AXA Infrastructure Investissement, and acting for De Cecco on its acquisition from Ekooffice of pasta-producing plants in Moscow, Smolensk and St Petersburg.
Sources say: “Bonelli has great experience on international deals.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Alessandro Balp heads the firm's corporate team out of Milan, while Andrea Carta Mantiglia heads the London office and is another key client contact.
THE FIRM This firm's reputation for corporate/M&A advice extends beyond its French roots, with multiple sources highlighting the quality advice offered by the team. It has a well-oiled 'best friends' network that enables it to cover all key European jurisdictions and provide a highly integrated service. GDF SUEZ is a key client for the firm, regularly instructing it on multi-jurisdictional mandates, such as its sale of G6 Rete Gas to an Italian consortium. The firm also acted for Lagardère on its EUR123 million sale of its Russian radio business to private Russian investors.
Sources say: “Committed, friendly and easy-going. A pleasure to work with.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Paris-based Didier Martin is one of the team's most respected names.
THE FIRM This formidable US firm has prominent offices in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Russia and Belgium, and is widely respected for its capability in heavyweight deals. The team acts across a range of sectors but attracts particular plaudits for its expertise in the energy sector. It recently advised Alrosa on its USD1.1 billion purchase of Russian oil and gas companies Geotransgaz and Urengoy Gas. Other significant mandates for the practice include advising Agilent Technologies on its USD2.2 billion acquisition of Danish cancer diagnostics company Dako, and assisting Dexia with the EUR4 billion sale of Dexia Bank Belgium to the Belgian State.
Sources say: “I like the quality of work and the firm's global reach.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Roberto Casati in Milan, Michael McDonald in London and Pierre-Yves Chabert in France are the practice's key contacts.
THE FIRM This thriving global firm is securely established at the top of the European market. It has a broad, well-integrated practice across Europe with market-leading teams in London and Madrid, and significant strength in Germany, France and Benelux. The group is also notably strong in CEE, with its teams in Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania all attracting the highest-quality deals. It consistently attracts top-quality, complex deals from high-profile clients in all sectors. Recent highlights include advising Delta Holding on the sale of the Delta Maxi supermarkets to Delhaize Group in Belgium for EUR932.5 million, which involved co-ordinating the transaction in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia. The firm also acted for Hearst Corporation on the purchase of Lagardère's international magazines unit, a deal which involved the firm's Spanish, French, English, Italian and Ukrainian offices.
Sources say: “I chose to work with Clifford Chance because of its international capacity and its experience of working on deals taking place in multiple jurisdictions at the same time.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS London-based Matthew Layton heads the firm's global corporate practice. He is supported by Thierry Schoen in France, Arndt Stengel in Germany and David Kolacek in Prague.
THE FIRM This firm has a prominent profile in the European market, with sources noting its extensive reach across the region. It has highly regarded groups in the key financial centres of Germany and the UK as well as teams in Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands. It is also particularly strong in CEE. The group is a popular choice with clients in the life sciences, energy, TMT, consumer goods and industry sectors. In a recent highlight it acted for Kennametal on the EUR277 million acquisition of Deloro Stellite Group from Duke Street Capital, a deal that involved eight CMS offices. The firm also acted for Unipapel on the GBP200 million acquisition of the Spicers Group.
Sources say: “The team has a good feeling for current market practice. It has insight into a lot of deals and can pull the experience from other transactions and use it to our benefit.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Thomas Meyding heads the firm's European corporate practice, while Helen Rodwell leads the CEE team.
THE FIRM This prominent Dutch firm is a popular choice for market-leading transactions in the Netherlands. It has impressive capabilities on multi-jurisdictional mandates and can call on its teams in London and Brussels for support. Recent cross-border highlights include acting for BAM on the EUR200 million divestment of a stake in Van Oord to a Belgian and Dutch consortium, and acting for Centrica on the sale of a Dutch electricity and gas customer supply business of Oxxio.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Arne Grimme is a leading lawyer at the firm.
THE FIRM This firm is spread across CEE, with especially well-regarded teams in Russia, Poland and Ukraine. It also has strong offices in the Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary. It is able to offer clients operating in the region a comprehensive service, but has recently been particularly active in the energy and natural resources, TMT and financial institutions arenas. Impressive recent mandates included advising TVEL on the establishment of a nuclear fuel joint venture in Eastern Europe with ALTA Invest.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Todd Culyba in Russia, Tomáš Bílek in the Czech Republic and Tomasz Dąbrowski in Warsaw are the key CEE contacts.
THE FIRM With 95 partners in 17 jurisdictions, DLA Piper offers almost unparalleled coverage across Europe. As well as teams in Western Europe and Scandinavia the firm has an impressive spread of offices in CEE, offering clients valuable local expertise on cross-border deals in the region. Clients value the practice's ability to co-ordinate deals across multiple jurisdictions and the seamless liaison between offices. Highlight transactions include advising Santander on its EUR4.1 billion acquisition of shares in Polish companies Bank Zachodni and BZ WBIK AIB Asset Management, and assisting Intertek Group with the acquisition of Moody International for GBP450 million, a deal that involved over 50 countries.
KEY INDIVIDUALS London partner Charles Severs heads the international corporate group at the firm.
THE FIRM Few firms can compete with Freshfields' impressive network in Europe, which boasts top-ranking practices in the UK, Germany, Spain and Russia as well as impressive teams in France, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands. Sources agree that it is a go-to practice for high-value, multi-jurisdictional deals and highlight the superb quality of advice and close links across the firm's offices. Demonstrating its ability on the top deals, the team is advising Xstrata on its USD53 billion merger with Glencore International. It also acted for Hewlett-Packard on its USD10 billion takeover of Autonomy Corporation. The team offers noteworthy expertise on CEE deals, recently acting for Sberbank of Russia on its acquisition of the joint CEE banking operations of Volksbanken.
Sources say: “If you need a firm that can pull out people in 20 jurisdictions in a minute, this is the firm for you.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Edward Braham is the global head of corporate, with other standout individuals including Christoph von Bülow in Germany and Fabrice Cohen in France. Sebastian Lawson, Stephen Revell and Willibald Plesser co-head the CEE practice.
THE FIRM This Spanish firm has offices in Poland and London to complement its impressive presence in the Iberian region. The team represents prominent corporate clients on both domestic and cross-border deals. Highlight transactions include the firm's advice to BMW on the Spanish side of the EUR700 million acquisition of ING Car Lease, which operates in eight countries across Europe, and representing Ebro Foods in the EUR205 million acquisition of the rice business of SOS Corporación Empresarial in Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and the USA.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Madrid-based Javier Ybáñez heads the corporate team.
THE FIRM In addition to its top-notch French offering, this firm is well positioned in CEE with offices in Russia, Hungary, Poland and Romania. It is home to a very highly regarded team and a prestigious client list that includes PSA Peugeot Citroën, Crédit Agricole and EBRD. Standout mandates for the group include its advice to Lafarge on a joint venture to combine cement activities in Eastern Europe, and acting for Bonduelle on the acquisition of Kubanskie Konservy, a company active in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
KEY INDIVIDUALS David Lasfargue in Moscow and Antoine Bonnasse in Paris are the main contacts for the practice.
THE FIRM This leading German firm is renowned for the excellence of its corporate offering. It has a long-standing and close relationship with Slaughter and May, enhancing its cross-border credentials. Notable deals include the team's advice to Glory on the EUR780 million acquisition of Talaris from The Carlyle Group, and assisting GlaxoSmithKline with the EUR470 million sale of its European healthcare portfolio. Other significant clients include adidas, Hugo Boss and Deutsche Bank.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Hoffmann-Becking and Maximilian Schiessl are top-ranking individuals at the firm.
THE FIRM With five offices in Europe, this practice regularly handles cross-border work for clients in the region, and wins plaudits for its seamless service. The group has offices in London, Paris, Brussels, Moscow and Madrid, with the Russian team attracting particular praise. It has expertise in an impressive range of sectors including energy, infrastructure, and TMT. Recent highlights include the team's advice to Precision Capital on its EUR1.05 billion acquisition of KBL European Private Bankers, which is located in nine European countries. It also acted for ZF International on its GBP444.8 million recommended cash offer for Hansen Transmissions International, and advised Samruk Energy on the sale of a 75% stake in Balkhash Thermal Power Plant, a deal that involved Russia, the UK and Kazakhstan.
Sources say: “The London and Paris offices are seamlessly integrated, with teams in both cities working interchangeably.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS James Palmer and Stephen Wilkinson in London and Allen Hanen in Moscow are the practice's leading lawyers.
THE FIRM Commentators note that this firm's 2010 merger has provided a real boost to its cross-border capabilities, something which is more than evident from its impressive deal list. The team offers a comprehensive service to clients, but is held in particularly high regard for its expertise in the energy, financial services, life sciences, consumer and TMT sectors. Notable recent mandates include its advice to Colfax on its GBP1.5 billion acquisition of Charter International, and acting for Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana on the structuring and financing of its acquisition of ING assets in Latin America.
KEY INDIVIDUALS The team has a number of highly regarded partners including Milan-based Leah Dunlop, London-based Andrew Pearson and Christoph Louven in Germany.
THE FIRM With a spread of reputable offices across Europe, this firm is steadily building its name as a respected multi-jurisdictional corporate practice. It recently opened an office in Düsseldorf to support its teams in the UK, France, Italy and Spain. It has been busy handling transactions in the energy, pharmaceutical and financial services sectors in recent months. Highlight mandates include the Paris and Milan offices advising EDF on its EUR3.8 billion takeover of Edison, and assisting Eurasian Natural Resources with the acquisition of First Quantum Minerals for USD1.25 billion, a deal that involved the English and French offices of the firm. The group also acted for Alcatel-Lucent on the USD1.5 billion sale of Genesys.
KEY INDIVIDUALS My Linh Vu-Grégoire in Paris, Ansgar Rempp in Frankfurt and John Phillips in London are all highly regarded members of the team.
THE FIRM With seven offices throughout Europe, including notable teams in Russia and Italy, this firm remains a solid choice for pan-European mandates. The team is well versed on all aspects of cross-border deals and also has significant experience advising private equity houses on multi-jurisdictional M&A. Energy is also a key area of expertise for the practice, and it recently advised Repsol YPF and Repsol New Energies on their acquisition of the offshore wind farm business of Sea Energie. Other transactions of note for the team include advising Watson Pharmaceuticals on the EUR4.25 billion acquisition of Actavis.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Moscow-based Christopher Allen is a key figure. Other recognised names include Maria Cristina Storchi in Italy and Nigel Campion-Smith in London.
THE FIRM This firm is widely acclaimed for its cross-border expertise and the depth of its international experience. In addition to its well-established practices in key financial centres, the firm also fields strong corporate practices in emerging markets. It has been active on an impressive range of deals in recent times, with the London, Paris and Brussels offices acting for GDF SUEZ on its EUR20 billion reverse takeover of International Power. The firm also advised E.ON on the disposal of its UK electricity distribution business to PPL, a deal that involved the firm's London, Düsseldorf and New York offices.
Sources say: “Linklaters has a strong presence in smaller European and developing markets. It really offers us local experience and knowledge.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jeremy Parr heads the global corporate division out of London. Other highly regarded members of the team include Roger Barron in London, John Goodwin in Moscow and Alejandro Ortiz in Spain.
THE FIRM This Austrian firm is well placed to offer advice on transactions across CEE thanks to its offices in Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Ukraine and Slovakia. The team is active across a range of sectors including telecommunications and transportation, and is particularly well regarded for its expertise advising financial institutions. Key mandates saw the group advise Österreichische Volksbanken on the sale of Volksbank International to Sberbank of Russia, which involved the sale of nine institutions in eight CEE countries. It also acted for Bewag on the sale of Croatian telecommunications company B.net to Telekom Austria.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Austrian partners Christoph Lindinger and Alexander Popp are hugely experienced in CEE-based transactions.
THE FIRM With offices in several key jurisdictions, this US firm is well placed to take a leading role on high-quality pan-European mandates. The team is based in the UK, Germany, Italy and France, with the German team attracting the most enthusiastic praise from market sources. It is active in the energy and natural resources, pharmaceutical, media and financial institutions sectors and also represents GE and Viacom. Work highlights include acting for Jacobs Holding on the sale of Infront to Bridgepoint, a deal that involved the firm's London and Milan offices.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Key contacts include Harald Selzner in Germany, Laurence Levy in London and Domenico Fanuele in Milan.
THE FIRM Interviewees are quick to hail this firm as a global powerhouse, highlighting its impressive network and depth of team as particular strengths. The practice is well positioned to take on multi-jurisdictional transactions, with highly rated teams in London and Moscow as well as offices in France, Germany and Austria. Financial institutions and energy have been key sources of work for the team of late, and recent mandates include advising Greece's Alpha Bank on its EUR500 million merger with Eurobank. Another notable mandate saw the German and Russian offices acting for Altimo Holdings on the sale of a USD5.2 billion 25% stake in MegaFon. Further key clients include Nokia Siemens Networks, News Corporation and the Vitol Group.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Hatchard and Scott Simpson in London are key members of the team.
THE FIRM This titan of the UK corporate scene rises in the rankings this year, with sources hailing the consistent excellence of its team and outstanding quality of its deals. Its network of 'best friends' law firms provides it with access to top-notch local expertise across the continent. The practice has a stellar client base and is regularly instructed on hugely impressive deals. Key highlights include acting for Old Mutual on the GBP2.1 billion sale of its Nordic business, located in Sweden, Denmark and Norway. The firm also acted for Glory on its GBP650 million binding offer to acquire the Talaris Group and represented GlaxoSmithKline in the divestment of its non-healthcare products in Europe and international markets.
Sources say: “Lean and mean. It always puts the right people on the job.” “It is particularly good for multi-jurisdictional work – it has the right connections to get reliable advice from reliable people very quickly.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Stephen Cooke is a key contact at the firm.
THE FIRM This leading international firm enjoys an excellent reputation across Europe and is well equipped to provide international clients with top-notch advice on high-quality, multi-jurisdictional deals. The team is strongest in the UK, where it recently climbed the rankings, and is also well recognised in France. Market commentators note the team's ability to smoothly co-ordinate transactions in multiple jurisdictions and multiple time zones. Notable work includes advising Natixis on the reorganisation of Paris Orléans, a transaction that involved the London and Paris offices. The firm also acted for EDF on its EUR1.4 billion tender offer for the shares of EDF Energies Nouvelles.
Sources say: “An integrated global firm. It can do everything we ask.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Tim Emmerson in London and Dominique Bompoint in Paris are among the firm's leading lawyers.
THE FIRM This firm houses prominent corporate practices in Spain and Portugal and is a formidable presence on the Iberian M&A market. It is a favourite amongst sources active in Spain, winning plaudits for the speed and quality of its advice. Amongst its recent notable deals, the group advised Iberdrola Renovables on its strategic agreement with Gamesa Energia and Gamesa Corporación Tecnológica regarding a merger to develop wind farms in Spain and Continental Europe. Further highlights include advising Grupo T-Solar Global on an alliance with KKR and Munich Re.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Juan Francisco Falcón and Christian Hoedl are the department's leading lawyers.
THE FIRM This respected firm regularly advises on pan-European deals from its offices in the UK, Germany and France. It has a particularly strong foothold in CEE, with leading teams in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. The practice has an enviable client base that includes GE, Elementis and Bridgepoint. It is also highly regarded in the healthcare and media and entertainment sectors. Many of the group's leading European transactions emanate from its strength in CEE, and a recent highlight saw the Prague office advise CEZ on the sale of MIBRAG to JTSD-Braunkohlenbergbau, a deal that also involved the firm's German offices. A joint Warsaw and London team represented ITI Media Group and TVN in their joint venture with French company Vivendi.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Francies heads the team in London, while Warsaw-based Pawel Rymarz and Karel Drevinek in Prague are the key contacts in CEE.
THE FIRM This firm's celebrated presence in CEE gives its corporate/M&A practice serious clout in that area. The practice is notably strong in the Nordic region, with highly regarded groups in Finland and Sweden. It also has a solid base in Western Europe, with respected departments in the UK, Germany and France. Clients particularly value the team's seamless integration and ability to co-ordinate work across a number of different offices. Recent highlights include the Czech and Hungarian offices advising Mid Europe Partners on the EUR365 million disposal of its stake in T-Mobile in the Czech Republic.
Sources say: “White & Case's geographic coverage matched ours perfectly, and this gave me the comfort to develop our relationship with the firm.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Client contacts include Michal Dlouhý in Prague and Marcin Studniarek in Warsaw. Eric Michailov heads the CEE practice, while Paris-based François Leloup heads the M&A team in Western Europe.
THE FIRM This firm has superb coverage across CEE with a presence in 13 jurisdictions, giving it significant depth of resources and the ability to advise on a diverse range of transactions. Energy and healthcare are key sources of instructions for the practice, and it has also been involved in mandates involving private equity houses and financial institutions. A recent highlight included advising Hannes Bohinc on the sale of the Wettpunkt group of companies, a transaction that involved Austria, Croatia, Spain and Malta. The group also acted for H.I.G. Europe Capital Partners on the acquisition of Lumar.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Horst Ebhardt and Dieter Spranz in Vienna are the key contacts at the firm.
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