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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP


Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP - New York
  • 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, Sa~o 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.

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.

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 themon the risks and likelihood of success with each course of action.

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 state-of-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 largestever 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

THE FIRM This exceptionally strong corporate team assists its clients with the most complicated questions of finance law. Known for its work counselling distressed banks, it advised Dexia on the negotiation of EUR85 billion sovereign guarantees and the unwinding of legacy financings between the bank and what is now Belfius.

Sources say: "Approachable, responsive and polished without being arrogant - unlike other US firms which can be the other way round." "More than just a law firm, it gets strategically involved and dedicates an entire team to the project and knows you as a client inside out."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Laurent Ruzette is the firm's most prominent partner for finance work, assisting clients such as Dexia and BNP Paribas.

Competition/European Law - Belgium

THE FIRM Universally regarded as one of the best competition teams in the country, this firm has a role in almost all the top cases at EU level. Complex multinational mergers continue to be a particular strength of the group, and it recently advised NYSE Euronext on its proposed merger with Deutsche Börse. Further standout highlights include assisting Google with clearance for its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, and IBM with complaints about its mainframe business.

Sources say: "The team combines state-of-the-art expertise with a client-oriented service." "The best firm I've ever seen in talent development and leadership – incredible strength globally and the lawyers work incredibly well as a team."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources agree that Nicholas Levy is "one of the best lawyers in the market." He acts out of both the London and Brussels offices, and is frequently involved in the firm's most important multinational mandates, such as the NYSE Euronext merger. Clients describe him as "incisive and focused. His ability to evaluate the market as well as our position going forward is fantastic."

Clients are impressed with Antoine Winckler, saying: "He is extremely well respected – he can really open doors with the authorities at the highest level." He is currently representing Otis and UTC in their ECJ appeal against fines for a cartel in elevators and escalators. As well as his excellent EU law expertise, he also handles a number of French competition matters.

Francisco González Díaz led the team's work on Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility and also advised Western Digital on its USD4.3 billion acquisition of Hitachi's hard disk drive business. Clients describe him as "outstanding, technically solid and a good litigator." He also continues to advise on Spanish matters.

Robbert Snelders "really gets to the bottom of the issues," according to clients. He successfully defended IBM in a series of high profile antitrust complaints before the European Commission related to mainframe emulation, mainframe pricing and maintenance services for mainframes.

Interviewees say Romano Subiotto QC is "very knowledgeable about competition law, and has a sound business mind." He assists clients from the UK and throughout the EU, and recently advised Telefónica O2 Czech Republic on the EC's Article 102 investigation.

Peers have the highest respect for Dirk Vandermeersch, who comes recommended for both EU and domestic competition. He recently assisted BNP Paribas Fortis with the acquisition of Fortis Commercial Finance Holding.

Christopher Cook "inspires confidence and always has a very thorough grip on the matter," note sources. He assisted Nick Levy with merger control cases for UTC and NYSE Euronext.

Commentators describe Thomas Graf as "an extremely sharp individual who understands the practical aspects of what in-house counsel need."

Till Müller-Ibold is a leading state aid specialist. Recent highlights include advising BNP Paribas on state aid matters related to its acquisitions from the former Fortis group, and assisting Alcoa with General Court and ECJ proceedings.

Damien Gerard joined the firm in July 2011 to bring dedicated domestic Belgian competition support. He publishes widely on competition topics and is affiliated with the University of Louvain.

Corporate/M&A - Belgium

THE FIRM This premium team remains a top choice for the largest and most complicated transactions, particularly privatisations and nationalisations. Its recent history has been dominated by financial crisis work, above all representing Dexia in its EUR4 billion acquisition by the state. Other clients that have benefited from its expertise in recent transactions include Bekaert, J.C. Flowers and Electrabel.

Sources say: "An extremely good service. The Rolls-Royce for large transactions."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients are enthusiastic in their praise for Jan Meyers, saying: "He is very good in giving commercial, strategic advice but at the same time is very thorough, reads everything and drafts very well." Traditionally known for his work for the State, recently he has been assisting Electrabel with the formation of its joint venture with the Blue Sky consortium. He is much sought after for boardroom advice or complex litigation at the highest level.

Laurent Legein rises to the first tier on the back of an impressive roster of recent clients and deals, above all the distressed bank Dexia. He led the team for Dexia's EUR4 billion sale to the Belgian state, and the sale of its Luxembourg branch to Precision Capital. Other highlights included J.C. Flowers' acquisition of Fidea and BC Partners' sale of Bureau van Dijk. Clients describe him as "brilliant. Very fast in reacting to a sophisticated or complex situation."

Clients say that recently elected partner Laurent Ruzette "very quickly understands the key business issues." He has focused on distressed banks in recent months, helping BNP Paribas Fortis disentangle itself from Ageas.

Sources highlight Jacques Reding as "attentive, sensitive and skilled." He helped Coca-Cola restructure its tea joint venture with Nestlé in late 2011.

International Trade - Belgium

THE FIRM This firm is valued by multinational clients for its in-depth knowledge of EU regulation. Its trade remedies activity includes representing respondents and complainants in EU investigations, and defending clients in proceedings abroad; representing Whirlpool in connection with a Ukrainian safeguard investigation into refrigerators and freezers is a recent example. The firm also advises a variety of household names on trade sanctions and export control issues.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Till Müller-Ibold is commended for the "remarkable quality of his work" and for his wider understanding of the workings of the EU institutions.

Public Law - Belgium

THE FIRM This international firm has a respected public law team in Belgium which is especially recognised for its state aid expertise. The team provides high level advice to noteworthy national and international public institutions, as well as assisting with the reorganisation of public bodies and acting in significant litigations. Major clients include BNP Paribas, Dexia and the Belgian state.

Sources say: "Outstanding quality, technical and legal skills, and a perfect knowledge of both national and international regulations.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Jan Meyers receives high praise for his communication skills, with one source noting: "He can explain very complex subjects perfectly, and can write agreements in a number of languages.” Meyers' commercial understanding is also cited.

Commended for his “broad knowledge and experience,” Laurent Ruzette enjoys a strong reputation for his work on complex mandates.

TMT - Belgium

THE FIRM This TMT practice primarily handles competition and M&A work for an impressive list of IT and telecoms clients such as Google, Hewlett-Packard and Telefónica. In telecoms, the team frequently advises Telenet on transactional matters and recently assisted Sony with its acquisition of Ericsson's 50% stake in Sony Ericsson. It is additionally developing a capacity in media, acting for clients such as Disney and HarperCollins.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Key partner Thomas Graf focuses on competition and regulatory matters in the IT and media sectors. He was part of the team that advised Google on its acquisition of Motorola Mobility and assisted Sony with the antitrust aspects of its acquisition of EMI's publishing division.

International Trade - Europe-wide

THE FIRM This firm is valued by multinational clients for its in-depth knowledge of EU regulation. Its trade remedies activity includes representing respondents and complainants in EU investigations, and defending clients in proceedings abroad; representing Whirlpool in connection with a Ukrainian safeguard investigation into refrigerators and freezers is a recent example. The firm also advises a variety of household names on trade sanctions and export control issues.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Till Müller-Ibold is commended for the "remarkable quality of his work" and for his wider understanding of the workings of the EU institutions.

Technology - Europe-wide

THE FIRM This firm receives particularly high praise for its ability to advise major clients on pan-European transactions and sector-specific issues. It is especially strong in Brussels and brings considerable competition and regulatory expertise to large-scale cross-border deals. Clients include banks, private equity houses and well-known IT and telecoms players such as IBM, Google and Telecom Italia.  

KEY INDIVIDUALS European contacts for the team include Thomas Graf in Brussels, Mario Siragusa in Rome and Murat Akuyev in Moscow.