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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP


Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP - London
  • Rue de la Loi 57
  • Brussels
  • Brussels Capital Region
  • Belgium
  • B-1040
  • Managing Partner: Mark Leddy
  • Number of partners worldwide: 198
  • Number of other lawyers worldwide: 1200
  • International Offices: The firm also has offices in New York, Washington DC, Hong Kong, Beijing, Buenos Aires, São Paulo, Abu Dhabi and Seoul.

Firm Overview:
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is a distinguished international law firm widely recognised for its expertise in M&A, corporate, banking and finance, capital markets, tax, regulatory, antitrust and litigation. Founded in 1946, the firm is organised and operates as an integrated worldwide partnership. Clients include corporations, banks and other financial institutions engaged in domestic and international business, as well as sovereign governments and international organisations, individuals, private equity firms, trusts and non-profit institutions. The firm has substantial experience in the investment banking, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, energy, automotive, industrial, e-commerce and media sectors.

Main Areas of Practice:  

Mergers & Acquisitions: Cleary Gottlieb stands as a recognised leader in mergers and acquisitions, with global experience that heightens its ability to handle cross-border transactions seamlessly. The firm is expert in representing public and private corporate acquirers and targets, private equity and leveraged buyout firms, institutional and private investors, and banks and financial advisors in negotiated and contested transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, hostile takeovers, asset and/or stock sales and purchases, tender offers, leveraged buyouts, minority investments, corporate restructurings, and proxy contests.

Capital Markets & Finance: Cleary Gottlieb is a world leader in US and international capital markets and finance. The firm represents issuers and all the major investment banks in all types of complex financing transactions, including international equity offerings and listings; equity-linked and debt offerings; leveraged and acquisition financings, including high yield bond offerings, mezzanine facilities and senior secured facilities; structured financings; project financings; and securitisations. The firm is also active in restructuring existing financings of corporate and sovereign clients worldwide, and advises companies on the impact of EU directives intended to create an integrated European capital market.

Competition/Antitrust: With leading competition/antitrust lawyers practicing in most of the firm’s offices, the breadth and depth of Cleary Gottlieb’s competition/ antitrust practice is unmatched. Given the growing cooperation among regulators in Europe and the United States, competition/antitrust lawyers from the firm’s different offices work closely together to meet the needs of companies with global interests. The firm advises on all aspects of EU and major European national competition laws, including merger control, market dominance and restrictive practices, and its lawyers appear regularly before the European Commission and other national competition authorities.

Litigation/Arbitration: Cleary Gottlieb has a dynamic domestic and international litigation and arbitration practice, representing clients in matters ranging from major commercial cases to sensitive internal investigations. From the outset of each matter, litigators help to establish a litigation strategy, seek to develop creative solutions, and advise on the best course of action to assist clients in achieving their legal and business goals. While the objective is often dispute avoidance, the firm works with clients to determine when they should utilise proactive strategies – litigation, arbitration or mediation – and advises them on the risks and likelihood of success with each course of action.

Tax: Cleary Gottlieb’s Tax Practice enjoys a worldwide reputation for tax planning; providing domestic and cross-border solutions related to public and private mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganisations, joint ventures, and business sales; designing innovative financial products and global financial business structures; resolving difficult tax controversies; and offering stateof- the-art analyses of legislative developments. The group includes internationally recognised experts in Belgian, UK, French, German, Italian and US tax law.

Intellectual Property: The firm-wide Intellectual Property Practice advises clients worldwide on all aspects of IP matters, including the protection and exploitation of patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets and design and database rights. Working alongside the firm’s complementary expertise in corporate, tax, competition/antitrust, restructuring, arbitration and litigation matters, IP lawyers anticipate and meet the challenges of protecting and exploiting these intellectual property rights.

International Work:
Cleary Gottlieb’s long history in Europe began with the firm advising Jean Monnet, the chief architect of the European Community, on the implementation of the Marshall Plan and the development of the Treaties of the European Communities. In 1949, Cleary Gottlieb opened an office in Paris, the first step in the development of its international capability. At about the same time, the firm made the decision to recruit and train local European lawyers who had received a portion of their legal training in the United States. The decision to make these lawyers a part of the firm as equal partners gave Cleary Gottlieb a unique dimension in terms of its international presence. Today, the European Practice comprises aproximately 500 lawyers, many of who are dualqualified and admitted to practice in leading European jurisdictions and in the US. Recent matters include advising:
•The Hellenic Republic (Greece) in the largest-ever bond exchange and the largest-ever sovereign debt restructuring
•Rosneft in its $55 billion acquisition of Russia’s third-largest oil company TNK-BP, a joint venture between BP and the Alfa Access Renova Consortium
•Dexia in the proposed E5.5 billion recapitalisation of Dexia SA by the Belgian and French states
•The Central Bank of Russia and Sberbank of Russia in connection with the $5.2 billion secondary public offering of Sberbank shares
•Western Digital in securing EU antitrust clearance for its $4.8 billion acquisition of Hitachi’s hard disk drive business
•Lafarge in its 50:50 UK joint venture with Anglo American
•The Republic of Iraq in successfully defending its sovereign immunity in the UK Supreme Court


  • City Place House,
  • 55 Basinghall Street,
  • London,
  • Greater London
  • UK
  • EC2V 5EH
  • Tel (020) 7614 2200
  • Fax (020) 7600 1698
  • Website : www.clearygottlieb.com
  • Rue de la Loi 57,
  • Brussels,
  • Brussels Capital Region
  • Belgium
  • B-1040
  • Tel +32 2 287 2000
  • Fax +32 2 231 1661
  • 12, rue de Tilsitt,
  • Paris,
  • France
  • 75008
  • Tel +33 1 40 74 68 00
  • Fax +33 1 40 74 68 88
  • Main Tower,
  • Neue Mainzer Strasse 52,
  • Frankfurt-am-Main,
  • Hessen
  • Germany
  • 60311
  • Tel +49 69 97 1030
  • Fax +49 69 97 103 199
  • Theodor-Heuss-Ring 9,
  • Cologne,
  • North Rhine-Westphalia
  • Germany
  • 50668
  • Tel +49 221 800 400
  • Fax +49 221 800 40 199
  • Piazza di Spagna 15,
  • Rome,
  • Lazio
  • Italy
  • 00187
  • Tel +39 06 69 52 21
  • Fax +39 06 69 20 06 65
  • Via San Paolo 7,
  • Milan,
  • Lombardy
  • Italy
  • 20121
  • Tel +39 02 726 081
  • Fax +39 0286 9844 40
  • Paveletskaya Square 2/3,
  • Moscow,
  • Russia
  • 115054
  • Tel +7 495 660 8500
  • Fax +7 495 660 8505

Banking & Finance - Belgium

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners covering corporate and finance
- 1 senior counsel
- 1 counsel
- 20 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Focuses on complex, high-end deals involving major corporates, funds and financial institutions. Noteworthy experience assisting key clients with issues related to the European financial crisis. Specialists covering both bank finance and debt capital markets.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"There is good communication with the lawyers, and they really deliver high-quality work."

"The team is pragmatic and proactive. The Brussels office has an excellent corporate practice, is able to link this experience to the financing documents."

Work highlights Advised Dexia as lead counsel on various transactions arising from the wind-down of its activity, including a EUR5.5 billion group recapitalization, an issuance of shares to the Belgian and French states and the negotiation of an EUR85 billion financing guarantee granted by the Belgian, French and Luxembourg states.  

Assisted Telenet with a proposed EUR700 million note issuance designed to finance a self-tender in accordance with Belgian takeover and share buy-back legislation.

Notable practitioners  

Jan Meyers and Jacques Reding are key contacts for the firm's banking & finance practice.

Significant clients Bekaert, BNP Paribas Fortis, Goodyear, Telenet, KBC, ING.

Competition/European Law - Belgium

Basic facts about the department
- 11 partners
- 1 counsel
- 70 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for A market leader for high-calibre competition work, winning plaudits for its prowess on major international merger control mandates. Assists clients with complex cartel investigations and prominent abuse of dominance claims before the European Commission. Particularly praised for its breadth of expertise and experience at the partner level.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Our key contacts are excellent advocates and strategists. They are proactive, and help us think through long-term strategies for our business in Europe."

"Cleary is the gold standard for international work. We would not consider going anywhere else for transactions of any importance."

"First-class lawyers with astute business minds and uniquely consistent quality."

Work highlights Advised Rosneft on its major acquisition of TNK-BP, a joint venture between BP and Russian consortium AAR.

Assisted UTC with the EU competition aspects of its acquisition of aircraft component manufacturer Goodrich.

Advised HarperCollins on an investigation by the European Commission into alleged cartel activity in the e-book market.  

Notable practitioners 

Senior counsel Dirk Vandermeersch is a vastly respected figure for both domestic and European competition work, with enviable experience of merger control filings.

Nicholas Levy works between the London and Brussels offices and is highlighted for his work on international merger control mandates and cartel cases. "He is a high-calibre individual who understands the business risks and has excellent connections," says an impressed source.

Till Müller-Ibold has an excellent reputation in state aid, with notable recent highlights including advising Dexia on European law issues related to its restructuring and recapitalisation.

Sources unanimously highlight Antoine Winckler as "one of the top people in the field." His recent highlights include advising Rosneft on the European competition aspects of its USD55 billion acquisition of TNK-BP, a joint venture between BP and AAR. He is additionally noted for his ability to handle French competition matters.

Francisco Enrique González Díaz is valued for his extensive network, and described as "the kind of lawyer you want to have near you because he adds value and gives solutions." He handles European and Spanish competition law matters.

Robbert Snelders is noted by sources for his understanding of the regulatory environment and awareness of market developments. His clients include Citigroup, Gazprom and ExxonMobil. 

Romano Subiotto QC has an excellent track record in advising on complex and contentious competition matters for high-profile clients. "He not only understands your business, but your business visions too," says an impressed source. Subiotto recently advised Lundbeck on an Article 101 investigation into reverse payment settlement agreements.

Recently promoted partner François-Charles Laprévote is highlighted by sources for his state aid work in the financial services sector. He has assisted Dexia with its recapitalisation plan, and advised BNP Paribas on its acquisition of Fortis.

Senior counsel Christopher Cook has recently featured on a number of the market's most prominent mandates, including advising on the EU competition aspects of the USD18.4 billion acquisition of Goodrich by UTC. 

Damien Gerard advises primarily on domestic competition issues, including restrictive practices as well as merger control. 

Up-and-coming partner Thomas Graf is building an excellent reputation in this area. His clients include such leading players as Google, IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

Significant clients Google, Sony, DuPont, Citigroup, IBM, ExxonMobil.

Corporate/M&A - Belgium

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 22 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Remains at the forefront of the market, advising on many of its most important transactions. Recent activity includes banking sector consolidation transactions, public takeovers and large-scale privatisations. Impressive client portfolio featuring both public and private sector entities, such as domestic and international blue chips, state bodies, financial institutions and private equity houses.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The team plays a crucial role in many of our complex M&A transactions. I prefer to take my work there."

"I was impressed with what they did and how they did it. It is important to have high-quality people with the right legal knowledge and social skills." 

Work highlights Advised Telenet on a EUR700 million public self-tender offer for 18.2% of its own shares, as well as on a subsequent EUR2 billion takeover bid by controlling shareholder Liberty Global.

Notable practitioners 

Jan Meyers has an unrivalled reputation for his experience, expertise and gravitas. According to an interviewee, "he is pragmatic, analytical and a top negotiator - he can see the helicopter view, and never forgets the issues affecting any side." Another source cites his ability "to adapt to his audience, to convince and inspire confidence."

Laurent Legein is described as "a very savvy and broad-thinking M&A lawyer who takes into account the context and the dynamics of a situation. He really gives you the full picture of what is going on in the company you are looking at." He has played a key role in a number of matters linked to Dexia's recapitalisation and reorganisation.

Corporate partner Laurent Ruzette is "hard-working, intelligent and excellent for complex issues." He recently advised Infrabel on the reorganisation of the Belgian railways.

Jacques Reding is praised for his comprehensive expertise and broad experience: "He is great at balancing legal obligations with the things a business needs to operate. He can simplify complex information to take it to the board - he knows what he is talking about and listens to what you want as a customer."

Significant clients BNP Paribas Fortis, Dexia, J.C. Flowers & Co., Allianz, Truvo.

Public Law - Belgium

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners

What the team is known for Small but technically excellent team handling public, competition and state aid law at the highest level, especially mandates with an international aspect. Often involved in large-scale privatisations where a combination of public law, M&A and capital markets expertise is required. Also involved in governmental affairs related to banking.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Without doubt, the firm's high level of service and the quality of its work are distinctive."

"The lawyers are not only part of an international network, but they are themselves very international in their approach. They also have in-depth knowledge of how the European Commission works."

Work highlights Advised the Belgian Federal Government and Bpost on European public procurement law and its relation to postal services.

Assisted rail network operator Infrabel with the implementation of Belgian railway reforms and reorganisation.

Notable practitioners

Jan Meyers is best known in the market for advising the Belgian state, government agencies and international institutions. Clients are quick to highlight his "broad expertise covering corporate, public and EU law," and his "superb analytical skills. He thinks fast and provides top legal advice." 

Laurent Ruzette enjoys a great deal of respect in the market for his intelligence and his involvement in high-profile public law files, especially in the banking sector. "He has very complete expertise," say sources.

Significant clients Belgian Federal Government, Bpost, Dexia, Infrabel, BNP Paribas.

TMT - Europe-wide

What the team is known for Excellent cross-border expertise in the telecommunications industry, advising clients on privatisations, financings, regulatory structures and global offerings. Further extensive knowledge of the technology sector. Notable teams in Italy, Belgium and Russia. 

Work highlights The Moscow and London offices recently advised Russian investment company Sistema on a USD500 million Eurobond offering by Sistema International Funding. 

Represented Megafon in its Moscow and London USD1.7 billion listed IPO.

Notable practitioners 

The key contacts are Mario Siragusa in Rome, Murat Akuyev in Moscow and Thomas Graf in Brussels.

Significant clients RTI, Sistema, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS).