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Brigard & Urrutia is a leading force in the corporate and M&A areas, with a team of over 30 fully dedicated lawyers whose service is ‘excellent – the whole team is always available for a comprehensive and in many cases multinational solution of the issues’. The M&A team is one of the largest in the market and the main focus of leading lawyers Sergio Michelsen, Dario Laguado and Jaime Robledo, former co-head of the corporate team at Gómez-Pinzón Abogados (GPA). The three of them co-lead the practice alongside Álvaro Cala. Recent mandates saw the practice advise Bolsa de Valores de Colombia (BVC) and Depósito Centralizado de Valores de Colombia (Deceval) in a $247m transaction with significant regulatory challenges by which BVC acquired a 100% stake-holding in Deceval through an integration between the two companies. Other clients include AIG Seguros Colombia, Telefonica, Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste and Equinix. Partner Alejandro García de Brigard is also well regarded. The practice also fields a notably strong second line of senior associates featuring Tomás Holguín, Jeison Larrota, Johann Schomberger, Mónica Gutierrez and Christian Díaz Ordóñez.

Knowledgeable, quick and commercially-mindedGómez-Pinzón Abogados (GPA)’s lawyers ‘get what client service means and they understand how to provide advice that is timely, concise, direct and with immediately actionable feedback’. The 35-strong team that includes 10 partners is co-led by Andrés Hoyos, a ‘consummate advisor’ and a ‘pleasure to work with’, and Pablo Rabelly. The practice advised Quala on the Colombian side of the sale of its personal care brands to Unilever. It also acted as deal counsel for Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM)’s takeover of counterpart Empresas Públicas de Rionegro (EPR) with the commitment to invest approximately $180m. The team also advised Colombian subsidiary Gerdau Diaco on a joint venture with Putney Capital Management, by way of Putney purchasing a 50% stake in Gerdau Diaco for $165m. Paula Samper, Daniel Londoño, Jose Luis Suarez, Patricia Arrázola, Natalia García, Alejandra Eslava, Angela Garcia, Pablo Jaramillo and recently promoted partner Felipe Mariño are all recommended. Former practice co-head Jaime Robledo has moved to Brigard & Urrutia.

Clients of Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría appreciate the ‘agile, timely, deep and successful service’ with contributions that have been ‘decisive for the success of operations’. Claudia Barrero led the counsel to Odinsa in the indirect sale of a 51. 22% stake of Genpac and certain accounts receivable. Hernando Padilla advised Osorio Capital on its acquisition of a majority stake in Colombian microfinance company Crezcamos; the firm also advised on a loan obtained by Osorio for the acquisition of the holding. Martín Acero, Felipe Cuberos, Juan Carlos Rocha and recently appointed partner Nicolás Tirado also head the practice alongside Barrero and Padilla. Principal associate Luz María Mercado is also noted. Other clients include Gerdau Group, Grupo Argos, Scotiabank, Banco Colpatria, Old Mutual and Team Foods Colombia.

A top choice in the area’, the 29-strong practice at Posse Herrera Ruiz provides strong multidisciplinary legal advice, especially in the M&A context, displaying ‘a very sophisticated knowledge of the local context’ and ‘excellent responsiveness and appropriateness of advice’. Oscar Tutasaura led the counsel to Lazard in the valuation, reorganization and $400m sale of Saludcoop’s strategic assets, including health insurance companies and healthcare institutions – notably Cafesalud EPS, the largest health insurer in Colombia covering 5.8 million individuals. Tutasaura and the much in-demand José Alejandro Torres, ‘a veteran advisor’ co-direct the firm’s compliance practice in addition to their transactional and general corporate activity. Jaime Cubillos, a ‘very strong M&A lawyer with solid knowledge about cross border M&A under Colombian and other key international jurisdictions’, advised Banmedica on the $2.7bn sale of its operations in Chile, Peru and Colombia to United Health Group. Jaime Herrera led the advice to IFM Investors in the €2.7bn global acquisition of 100% of OHL Concesiones. Gabriel Sánchez, who made partner in early 2017, and associates Vivianne Baptiste and Carolina Hernández are also noted. Other clients include Gas Natural Fenosa, Urbaser, The Abraaj Group, Grupo Orbis and AXA.

The ‘excellent’ corporate practice at Baker McKenzie S.A.S.'s long-established Bogota office acts as a regional hub for the rest of the firm’s offices across Latin America. 21-strong, the group is led by Jaime Trujillo who has ‘extensive knowledge and expertise on different M&A transactions’, in conjunction with Juan Felipe Vera; supported by corporate director, Clare Montgomery. Trujillo and Vera teamed up to lead advice to Brookfield on its $560m acquisition of a 59% stake in Gas Natural, a transaction that combined the highly regulated fields of securities, public utilities, gas distribution regulations and antitrust. The firm also advised Unilever on its purchase of Quala’s Colombian home and personal care business. Dual qualified (Colombia/New York) senior associate Natalia Villalba, who has particular expertise in Private Equity, is also noted; however, the practice lost Juan Manuel De La Rosa to DLA Piper Martinez Beltrán.

Clients of DLA Piper Martinez Beltrán applaud ‘the knowledge of the partners, the response times, the quality of the work, the accompaniment throughout the process responding to the needs on different fronts and the quality / price ratio’. The now 11-strong practice is led by ‘client favourite’ Camilo Martínez and made the headlines with the hiring of leading corporate practitioners Juan Manuel De La Rosa and Felipe Quintero (from Baker McKenzie S.A.S. and Garrigues, respectively), as well as José Miguel Mendoza a former head of the Colombian public utilities supervisor, Superintendencia de Servicios Públicos. The move substantially strengthened the office’s bench at partner level. Recent mandates include advising Accel-KKR on its acquisition of a majority stake in Colombia-based Siigo from Invtecinf. Additional matters included advising Keyran and Saturde Investment International on their $48m sale of thermal and solar operator GENPAC. Senior associates Andres Afanador and Sebastian Celis are also noted. Other clients include Highbridge LLC, QBO Constructores, Putney Capital Management and Concesionaria Vial Andina – Coviandina.

The Colombian office of a global operation, the ‘excellentDentons Cardenas & Cardenas renders a ‘very professional and knowledgeable’ service covering the full spectrum of local and cross-border corporate activities and transactions, including M&A work involving the Latam region. ‘Highly active’ and strongly praised Mauricio Borrero acted on a dozen M&A deals during the course of 2017, including advising Agrobetania on the $70m sale of the San Carlos 1 business park to real estate private equity fund Pacita. ‘Effective’ and ‘results oriented’, Bernardo Cárdenas is ‘the public face of the firm’; acting in conjunction with Catalina Pinilla, who made partner as of June 2018, he advised IFC on the $383m sale of a 4.87% stake in Sura Asset Management to Grupo Sura. Eduardo Cárdenas is also highlighted and advised Compañía de Puertos Asociados (Compas) on the $136m acquisition of 50% of its shares by Goldman Sachs from Grupo Argos. Competition and dispute resolution partner Ximena Zuleta, and associates Felipe Molano and Angela Botia are also noted. Other clients include Microsoft Corporation, Incofin Investment Management, Ford and International Finance Corporation.

Led by Santiago Gutiérrez and Andrés Hidalgo, Lloreda Camacho & Co.’s practice group is experienced in high-profile M&A transactions, especially cross-border deals, in a wide array of industries. The team is currently advising Glaxosmithkline Colombia on a capital reduction with effective reimbursements to the shareholders of its contributions; and also guided Unilever through the procedures required for the liquidation of two of its subsidiaries AC Cosméticos and Culver Colombia, completed in December 2017. On the M&A front, the team acted as local counsel to Harris International (on behalf of Reed Smith LLP in London) on the $425m sale of the CapRock’s commercial business, including assets and operations in Colombia, to SpeedCast International.

CMS Rodríguez-Azuero provides advice on corporate, commercial and civil law issues for clients with operations in Colombia, and advises on major, sophisticated transactions and cross-border M&A deals. Juan Camilo Rodríguez leads the practice, which advised Eforces on the review and drafting of the agreements required to conclude an integration process of three Latin American companies under the same brand, Xertica. Other clients include South 32 Energy, Interstate Batteries, Círculo de Viajes Universal and Elektra del Milenio. Daniel Rodríguez also receives praise.

The largest Medellin-based firm offering general practice services, Contexto Legal Abogados, advises both local and international clients on the structuring, sale and acquisition of companies, as well as in designing legal solutions for corporate matters. Guillermo Hernán Villegas heads the six-strong practice, which counselled Mérieux NutriSciences Corporation on the company’s first incursion into Colombia through its acquisition of the outstanding 80% of equity in Tecnimicro Laboratorio de Análisis. The team also advised Compañía de Créditos Rápidos on the issuance of new preferred shares to obtain further investment by foreign angel investors. Other clients include Tannpapier, Proyectos Agropecuarios de Colombia and Grupo Biopapel (Scribe Colombia).

Garrigues receives praise for its multidisciplinary focus and expertise, providing specialised and comprehensive advice on M&A deals and joint venture transactions. The ‘strongly recommended’ Ignacio Londoño advised Ufinet Telecom on its acquisition of managed network and cloud solutions provider, IFX Networks. The firm boosted its team with the incorporation of Andrés Ordóñez, as counsel, from Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, Diana Guevara, from Gómez-Pinzón Abogados (GPA), as senior associate, and Paola Valderrama as associate, but lost Felipe Quintero to DLA Piper Martinez Beltrán. Other clients include China Harbour Engineering Company, Bain Capital Private Equity, Lafarge, Eiffage, Prosegur, Grupo Prisa, and OHL.

Holland & Knight represents clients in a wide range of transactions, including M&A, new company formation, corporate reorganizations, spinoffs and capitalization structures, real estate and contracts. ‘Very well-known in the market’, managing partner Enrique Gómez-Pinzón heads a 12-strong practice group which includes the energy-focused José Vicente Zapata, tax, contracts and corporate structuring specialist Juan Carlos Valencia, litigator Danilo Romero and cross-border expert Julián Santos as key members. The team advised Infrared Capital Partners on the purchase and sale agreement to secure a 50% interest in the Ruta Al Mar, a fourth-generation highway concession project. Other highlights included acting as local counsel to GeoPark Limited on its $425m secured amortizing notes issuance.

Norton Rose Fulbright advised Bucanero on the sale of 100% of its shares to Cargill Colombia Food Holding. The team, led by Ana Cristina Jaramillo, also acted as legal counsel to the founding shareholders of Newlink Comunicaciones Estratégicas in relation to the acquisition of 51% of its shares by SEC Spa. Other clients include Ingenio Pichichi, Bridgestone Firestone, Mesoamerica, Gran Tierra Energy and The Boston Consulting Group.

Muñoz Tamayo & Asociados is particular experienced in transactional work, notably the acquisition of Colombian companies by foreign acquirers and private equity funds on in-bound investment into the country. The 12-strong practice, led by Diego Muñoz and key practitioner Felipe Trías, was boosted with the additions of José Miguel Azpúrua Alfonzo and the return to the firm of Carlos Mantilla Gómez after six years in CCX Colombia as legal manager. The practice assisted Talanx International with its acquisition of a 91.33% stake in Generali Colombia Seguros Generales and a 23.71% stake in its subsidiary, Generali Colombia Vida Compañía de Seguros, from Assicurazioni Generali. Other clients include Sibelco, Cafesalud, Ribera Salud, Medimpact Holdings, Parmalat and Xerox Corporation.

At the top’ and demonstrating ‘experience and knowledge’, Parra Rodríguez Abogados’ clients value the ‘excellent’ service delivered which is ‘up to date with regulations’, ‘very proactive’ and ‘quick to answer’. The highly regarded Bernardo Rodriguez Ossa and Alvaro Parra Gomez lead a practice whose highlights included assisting a global company with asset acquisition in Colombia; and corporate advice on the operations of its Colombian branch, including third party contracts, for a major international aviation company.

Being the country’s leading real estate firm, Pinilla González & Prieto Abogados’s roster of clients frequently come from the construction sector but it also provides ‘excellent service’ to others drawn from the pharmaceutical, education and communication sectors, in particular. The 11- strong team, led by Felipe Pinilla and Julian Felipe Rojas (‘strong lawyers’), assisted ETS Global with both the incorporation of local company Elderly Transportation Services Colombia – DBA Transcita Colombia and obtaining the necessary government operational authorizations. The team also worked on the drafting of the contract required to allow owners, constructors and institutional investors to participate in a $1.6bn PPP infrastructure project in northern Bogotá.

Deloitte Asesores y Consultores provides support to companies on all their corporate legal requirements such as the analysis and drafting of contracts, the issuance of legal concepts and legal representation before public authorities, as well as in M&A related matters. Clients include Aerzen, Allied Aviation, Atresmedia, Asahi Kasei Medical, Cepsa Colombia and Congrupo. Mario Andrade leads the team with Juan German Osorio also a key name.

Esguerra Asesores Jurídicos’s ‘specialised knowledge in health issues distinguishes it’. The firm has particular expertise in the health and financial industries, but ‘demonstrating commitment and opportunity’ its experience is far more extensive. The 12-strong practice is led by Juan Pablo González, whose ‘panoramic vision’ of the different areas of law ‘constitute a great strength against the different variables that arise in the business world’. The firm is acting as legal counsel to the Daimler Colombia in connection with the sale of its vehicle retail and maintenance operations, as well as the sale of its current high value premises.

Highly recommended, especially for foreign entities setting up operations in Colombia’, Gallego Abogados’s lawyers’ knowledge of German makes the boutique a top choice for Austrian, German and Swiss companies in an array of industries. Helmuth Gallego heads the 10-strong practice, with deputy director of the firm Camilo Franco also noted. The service provided receives praise as being ‘extremely well informed, up to date with legal and fiscal advice and very quick response times’. Highlights included acting for a telecommunications multinational on its contract for the distribution and supply of electronic communications equipment.

A member of the ‘BBGS’ alliance of four firms aiming to offer integrated services in Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Chile, BBGS Barrios Montenegro is a small to medium size firm which exhibits a distinct focus on the entertainment and telecommunications industries, but is also experienced in oil-related services, including drilling and well services. Luis Felipe Barrios and Mónica Serrano head the practice, which has clients such as Sed International de Colombia, Frontera Energy Corporation, HBO Lag Servicios Internacionales, Forus Colombia and Lifestyle Brands of Colombia.

Energy boutique Chalela | Abogados advises on general corporate matters, commercial agreements, corporate governance, shareholder agreements and tax matters. Federico Chalela leads the practice, which advised Petrosud in connection with the $22m partial divestiture of an undivided 35% working interest in the new phase of exploration and production activities in the El Dificil field to an entity wholly owned by Argentine Petroquímica Comodoro Rivadavia.

DG&A-Abogados advises primarily industrial, commercial and service companies, as well as national and foreign investment agencies, across industry sectors such as consumer product manufacturing, food and drink producers, retail, real estate, travel and leisure. The practice, led by María del Rosario Gómez, recently assisted Trade Alliance Corporation on the consolidation of its commercial operations in Colombia and wider growth in the region.

Transactional mandates for the energy and natural resources-specialised Sanclemente Fernández Abogados S.A. included advising Acero Engineering on a $4m share acquisition. The team also provides permanent legal advice to clients including Telpico Colombia (particularly service agreements), and Cepsa Colombia (particularly regarding its development of operations in Peru). Antonio Sanclemente and Diana Sanclemente are the key names.

Established in 2017, new entry to the ranking SERRANOMARTINEZ S.A.S. is a boutique specialised in corporate and competition law. Juan Diego Martinez heads the corporate and M&A area with co-founding partner Felipe Serrano. Both are praised by clients who recommend them ‘for a personalized counsel in complex and elaborate corporate matters’. The team advised JA Advisors on its $3.5m acquisition of the outstanding 73% of share capital of Dreamer US, parent company of the Colombian hostel chain Dreamer Hostels.

Carolina Solano and Carolina Munar head VS+M Abogados’s integrated corporate, tax, international business and regulatory law practice area. The team advises on the constitution of companies, statutory reforms, liquidation procedures and legal representation in the Superintendence of Corporations, among other matters. It also provides strategic support in the negotiation of international business. Recent work saw the seven-strong group undertake a corporate due diligence on Sertecpet Colombia, identifying the need to restructure the shareholding composition of its foreign investors.

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