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The brand new edition of The Legal 500 Deutschland HAS NOW LAUNCHED. View the 2015 rankings here. Die brandneue Ausgabe von The Legal 500 Deutschland ist JETZT ONLINE. Die aktuellen Rankings (2015) finden Sie hier.
The rankings currently on www.legal500.com/c/germany are from The Legal 500 EMEA 2014, which was published in April 2014 and was a condensed translation and update of research from The Legal 500 Deutschland. The English-language content will be updated in March 2015.
Legal market overview
The German legal market has seen the emergence of a number of parallel trends. Bank lending work has been dominated by refinancing of loans due in 2014/15 or after, while the market for mid-cap transactions has been remarkably robust and has been coupled with an overall increase of larger transactions. However, such transactions are now significantly more complex. Deals above a certain size are commonly executed as mixed loan and bond deals, posing new challenges even for specialised lawyers. All this is taking place in an overall environment of increased regulations – among them the Capital Requirements Directive IV (CRD IV), European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) and the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) – significantly increasing the workload in particular for investment fund experts.
Capital markets work has continued to grow since the icebreaker IPOs of Talanx and Telefónica in 2012; the total placement value on the Frankfurt stock exchange exceeded €3.6bn in 2013, more than 50% higher than the previous year. Debt work remains strong too, but very few firms have specialist high-yield expertise. The takeover market has seen an influx of private equity money and fierce competition for suitable targets.
Patent lawyers are positive that the long-awaited and discussed Unified Patent Court (UPC) will finally become reality and signs are indeed positive. In recent years, patent litigators have mostly seen large disputes in the mobile phone sector but 2014 has brought a spike in medical devices and automotive sector cases. Trade mark lawyers note the increased importance of the registered design as a protective tool.
Dispute resolution specialists have felt the increased banking sector regulation, leading to a spike in financial services disputes which now not only include investor suits but also extend to litigation between financial institutions. Manager liability and D&O matters remain a major source of work for litigators, while increased regulation by the competition authorities has increased the oversight and the likelihood of antitrust disputes. In particular, multi-jurisdictional transactions are now being closely scrutinised by the authorities and co-operation between European competition authorities has led to a large number of cross-border investigations.
The legal market is populated by a mix of high-quality German law firms and many international firms, particularly US or UK originated entities.
The following text is a condensed translation and update of research from the German-language edition, The Legal 500 Deutschland.
Legal Business: country analysis
Breaking new ground – advisers hope shale revolution can restart CEE market
Weighed down by political unrest and slowing economies, energy and infra projects look like one area to be driving
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Among other things, the recent amendment to the Environmental Impact Assessment Act has broadened the rights of (what is termed) the "affected public". The affected public consists primarily of various citizens' initiatives pursuing environmental or public-health purposes. It may for instance file an appeal against a negative decision at the screening stage (i.e., a decision according to which the given project does not require the issuance of an EIA report), and seek its annulment in court. The affected public has been granted a stronger voice also in subsequent procedures in which the fate of a building project is being decided: zoning proceedings and the proceedings on the issuance of a building permit. Taken together, these legislative changes may make it more difficult to implement projects which require an EIA report; in particular, the length of permission proceedings may be substantially extended.
EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG (EnBW) is acquiring the 50% holdings of Eni Gruppe, Rome, in EnBW Eni Verwaltungsgesellschaft mbH, Stuttgart, thereby increasing its holdings to 100 %. This makes EnBW indirectly the sole shareholder of Gasversorgung Süddeutschland GmbH (GVS) and terranets bw GmbH. GSK Stockmann + Kollegen provided comprehensive legal advice to EnBW in connection with this transaction.
GSK Stockmann + Kollegen advised the shareholder of the PAMERA Asset Management GmbH, the PAMERA Retail GmbH and the PAMERA Development GmbH on the sale of these companies to the European Cornerstone subsidiary of US-American Cornerstone Estate Advisers LLC.
GSK Stockmann + Kollegen advised the GEWA 5 to 1 GmbH & Co. KG in connection with the issuance of a real estate project bond in the amount of up to € 35 million. Following the issuance by the Cloud No. 7 GmbH this is the second bond issuance for the construction of an apartment and hotel tower that GSK Stockmann + Kollegen has provided advice on.
In the information society trade secrets are among the most important assets of any business. The quantity and quality of the trade secrets represent a substantial part of the company's assets. In the European Union there are currently varying levels of protection, insofar as trade secrets are legally protected at all. This hinders cross-border business and companies that operate internationally are faced with legal uncertainty. The EU Commission now wants to change this and has submitted a proposal for a uniform level of protection and protective system across Europe.
There are a number of ways how a foreign entity or private individual can pursue business activities in Germany. First, you can become active without creating a physical presence in Germany simply by supplying goods and services to German clients from abroad. Second, the foreign business might establish a fixed place in Germany (e.g. a permanent establishment) from which it pursues its German activities. Third, the foreign business might set up a German subsidiary either as a partnership or as a corporation. Last but not least, collective investment schemes, whose taxation regime has been extensively reorganized recently, might also be an interesting alternative for foreign investors. Which route to follow will mainly depend on the kind and the size of the business activities to be carried out in Germany or with German clients as well as on tax considerations that will have an impact on the decisions to be made. This GSK Tax Newsletter shall provide a first introduction to the taxation issues a foreign business considering to expand its activities to Germany will have to take into account. We would be pleased to help you with any questions in this regard!
GSK Stockmann + Kollegen advised 2D Holding GmbH in connection with the sale of SÜDDEKOR Group, a leading specialist in surface finishing of wood materials, to SURTECO SE. On October 23, 2013, 2D Holding GmbH and SURTECO SE entered into a pur-chase agreement regarding the sale of SÜDDEKOR Group consisting of SÜDDEKOR GmbH in Laichingen, Dakor Melamin Imprägnierungen GmbH in Her-oldstatt, SÜDDEKOR Art Design + Engraving GmbH in Willich, SÜDDEKOR LLC (USA) and Süddekor OOO (Moscow) to SURTECO SE. The transaction was suc-cessfully completed on December 2, 2013 after antitrust release had been obtained. The parties agreed to keep the purchase price confidential.
Getting the Deal Through has published the fully revised and updated sixth edition of Banking Regulation, a volume in the series of annual reports, which provide international analysis in key areas of law and policy for corporate counsel, cross-border legal practitioners and business people.
Getting the Deal Through has published its fully revised and updated tenth edition of Dispute Resolution, a volume in the series of annual reports, which provide international analysis in key areas of law and policy for corporate counsel, cross-border legal practitioners and business people. Following the format adopted throughout the series, the same key questions are answered by leading practitioners in each of the 47 jurisdictions featured. GTDT's German Chapter was authored by GSK attorney Dr. Karl von Hase. In his article he gives an overview of civil and commercial litigation in Germany, arbitration agreements and alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
Getting the Deal Through has published the fully revised and updated fifth edition of Banking Regulation, a volume in the series of annual reports, which provide international analysis in key areas of law and policy for corporate counsel, cross-border legal practitioners and business people.
After the successful completion of the refinancing of the office and hotel complex at Frankfurt airport, IVG Immobilien AG remains owner of THE SQUAIRE.
GSK advises Rockspring on the formation of a joint venture and the acquisition of 23 big box retail parks with a value of EUR 350 million
On 29 January 2015, the extraordinary general meeting of ADC African Development Corporation AG resolved a squeeze-out resulting in the transfer of the minority shareholders' shares to the majority shareholder Atlas Mara Beteiligungs AG, a holding company indirectly held by London listed Atlas Mara Co-Nvest Limited (Atlas Mara). Hengeler Mueller is advising Atlas Mara on the transaction as on the voluntary public takeover offer (by way of an exchange offer) for all outstanding ADC shares last year. Thereby Atlas Mara further expedites the integration of ADC; little more than five months lapsed between the closing of the offer and the resolution upon the squeeze-out.
GSK Stockmann + Kollegen again appoints Local Partners from their own ranks: Andreas Dimmling (Corporate, Munich) and Oliver Koos (Real Estate, Frankfurt/M.) were promoted to local partners effective from January 2015.
GSK Stockmann + Kollegen are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Philipp M. Kuhn as Equity Partner in their Heidelberg office effective 1 January 2015.
Internationally cooperating law firms GSK Stockmann + Kollegen (Germany), Lefèvre Pelletier & associés (France), Nabarro LLP (United Kindgom), Nunziante Magrone (Italy) and Roca Junyent (Spain) have strengthened their combined international advisory service by establishing a single umbrella brand. In future, the five alliance members will render their services under the umbrella brand “Broadlaw Group”.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch has provided refinancing for the property The Squaire located at Frankfurt Airport.
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and Deutsche Immobilien Chancen Real Estate GmbH have founded a joint real estate company named German Estate Group AG (GEG) which shall focus on the development and acquisition of commercial property.
On 31 October 2014, Hella KGaA Hueck & Co., one of the world's leading suppliers of lighting and electronic components for the automotive industry, announced its going public in an innovative and tailored structure. Read more...
ImmobilienScout24 expands its activities in the field of Customer Relation Management systems (CRM) and acquires FLOWFACT AG, headquartered in Cologne. FLOWFACT AG is a leading provider of software in the real estate sector in Germany. The company was founded in 1985 and has more than 120 employees at the location in Cologne. Read more...