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Germany > Banking and finance > Lending and borrowing > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Banking and finance: Lending and borrowing
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Anne Grewlich - Ashurst LLP
    • Mario Hüther - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Frank Schlobach - Gleiss Lutz
    • Sabine Schomaker - Taylor Wessing
    • Thomas Weitkamp - Clifford Chance

Who Represents Who

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Allen & Overy LLP impresses with a broad range of clients in the finance area, both on the lenders’ and borrowers’ side: the spectrum of advice spans from corporate finance to leveraged finance and acquisition finance, where the firm advises both investment banks and sponsors in the private equity and leveraged finance market on LBOs and MBOs from the mid-cap to the large-cap segment, classic acquisition loans, bank bond financing, unitranche debt and term loan B financing. A particular strength lies in corporate finance in connection with internal restructurings and spin-offs, such as advising Uniper on the €5bn financing in the context of the spin-off of E.ON. In the area of takeovers, the team assisted Evonik with the acquisition of the Specialty Additives business division from Air Products for $3.8bn, and for Hapag-Lloyd Thomas Neubaum handled various financing aspects related to the merger with United Arab Shipping Company. A highlight was also advising Bayer on the financing for the planned acquisition of Monsanto at a volume of $57bn. The team not only works closely with the firm’s London practice, but the Frankfurt-based John Coburn also offers advice on English law. In May 2017 Walter Uebelhoer took over as practice head from Peter Hoegen, who is equally recommended for his restructuring expertise. The renowned Neil Weiand, however, departed for Linklaters in October 2017.

Clients have ‘great respect’ for Clifford Chance’s broad, ‘continuously strong’ and ‘very visible’ finance practice with ‘good bench strength’, which advises banks, private equity investors and companies, including family-led corporations, on domestic and international transactions, including acquisition and corporate financings and refinancings. Bettina Steinhauer heads the ‘very well regarded’ team, which also includes the frequently recommended Barbara Mayer-Trautmann, and which not only covers German law but under Loren Richards also advises on English law and at an international level focuses in particular on Eastern Europe and Turkey. A highlight was advising Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse on a syndicated loan agreement of over $57bn for Bayer in connection with the financing of the acquisition of Monsanto. The firm also assisted J.P. Morgan with the financing of a portfolio of distressed loans of HSH Nordbank via hsh portfoliomanagement AöR; UniCredit with the structuring and procurement of the financing for the acquisition of Invitel Gruppe by CEE Equity Partners; and Deutsche Bank as agent in relation to a $3.6bn syndicated loan agreement for Henkel in the context of the acquisition of Sun Products Corp. Thomas Weitkamp furthermore acted for Raiffeisen Bank International and SEB in connection with the financing of the acquisition of the Losberger group by funds advised by Gilde Buy Out Partners.

Top firmFreshfields Bruckhaus Deringer provides an ‘excellent service with ready-for-use solutions’ in the financing area; the ‘very proactive’ team has ‘strong expertise with a good understanding for economic questions’ and ‘acts as a business partner’. With a focus on advising borrowers and sponsors the firm covers leveraged finance and acquisition finance, corporate finance, complex real estate finance and restructuring and insolvency-related loan finance. In the private equity area it assists Permira with the acquisition of a majority share in P&I Personal & Informatik and other longstanding clients include BC Partners, CVC, Charterhouse and Macquarie. Some clients on the corporate side are Infineon, Vonovia, ZF Friedrichshafen and Ströer; the team also advised Fresenius on the bridge financing for the €5.67bn acquisition of Spain’s private hospital operator Quirónsalud by Fresenius Helios. The team also acts for banks such as Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, J.P. Morgan and UniCredit and was able to expand its work for alternative lenders. It assisted H.I.G. Capital with the recapitalisation via a loan fund, a unitranche financing with a volume of €350m. Another highlight was providing finance advice to IVG Immobilien regarding the sale of its subsidiary OFFICEFIRST Immobilien to Blackstone Fonds. Clients appreciate the ‘legal advice in a multijurisdictional environment’ and the team advises both on German and English law. Practice head Frank Laudenklos is ‘experienced’, ‘very active’ and ‘popular with clients’; the ‘responsive’ Mario Hüther has ‘good knowledge and always practical solutions’; Maximilian Lang has ‘impressive negotiation skills and remains calm even under pressure’; and Michael Josenhans is also recommended. Yorck Jetter retired.

Hengeler Mueller’s ‘excellent’ financing team is noted for its ‘very good, very professional collaboration’ and ‘good advice primarily in the areas of syndicated loans, acquisition finance and Schuldschein loans’. It advises on carve-outs, for example advising Waterland Private Equity on the financing aspects of the carve-out of MEDIAN Akutkrankenhäuser into the newly founded and independent emergency hospital group ATOS, which is held and developed by Waterland, and also in takeover situations, for example assisting KION with the €3bn syndicated bridge loan for the financing of the acquisition of Dematic. Expertise furthermore lies in bank bond financing; the firm advised Braas Monier on the refinancing via a syndicated loan and a high-yield bond with collateral security ranking pari passu. Also in complicated market environments, such as solar and steel, the team handles syndicated loans for clients including SMA Solar Technology and Schmolz + Bickenbach. Also noteworthy is its advice to a banking syndicate consisting of Citigroup Global Markets, Deutsche Bank and Deutsche Bank Luxembourg regarding a €3.5bn term loan and revolving credit facilities with currency option for ZF Friedrichshafen under Thomas Cron and Nikolaus Vieten’s lead. The practice saw increased work in the issuing of Schuldschein loans and here advised mobilcom-debitel, freenet and Phoenix Pharmahandel, amongst others. Johannes Tieves has an ‘excellent sense for the economic side of finance structures and considerations’ and is ‘somebody who always looks carefully at how to reach a result and in the process has outstanding ideas’. Ralph Defren is also recommended and the ‘rising’ Daniela Böning, who was promoted to partner at the start of 2017, is considered a ‘name to note for the future’.

Cutting-edge and market leading’, Latham & Watkins LLP’s finance practice ‘enjoys a very good reputation’ and ‘belongs to the preferred firms, particularly for transactions with bond aspects and for mid-sized German LBOs’. The team is ‘recommended by financial institutions and clients (private equity, corporate) and is equally strong on both sides and always professional and performance-oriented’. Thanks to close links with the firm’s practices in London and the US, a strength lies in cross-border matters. Besides acquisition finance, bank-bond financing and LBO transactions the team also advises on restructurings and real estate financings. Clients include US sponsors (Advent International, Carlyle and Hellman & Friedman), European private equity firms (Equistone, Nordic Capital and Orlando), banks (Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan) and German key players (UniCredit, pbb Deutsche Pfandbriefbank and LBBW). Recently the firm advised BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, J. P. Morgan and Rabobank on the granting of a €60m loan to HelloFresh, and the banking syndicate on the financing of the planned public takeover of Stada. Other highlights included advising Société Générale Corporate & Investment Banking on the financing of the voluntary public takeover offer of Vonovia to the shareholders of the Austrian conwert Immobilien Invest, and Pfleiderer on the refinancing of its existing loans and operating line of credit. The ‘very experienced lawyer’ Alexandra Hagelüken is considered ‘one of the best lawyers in credit law in Germany’. The ‘extremely solution-oriented’, ‘sociable and commercialAndreas Diem and the ‘pragmaticChristian Jahn are also recommended; all are noted for their ‘negotiation strength, decisiveness and concentration on what is essential and doable’. The team was also strengthened with the addition of counsel Sibylle Münch from White & Case LLP.

Very commercial and pragmatic in its approach’, Ashurst LLP continues to be one of the ‘best firms for LBO documentation’, according to clients, and besides acquisition finance also covers corporate loans, asset and real estate finance and financial restructurings and loan portfolio transactions. Traditionally strong in advising on mid-cap LBOs, the practice also increasingly handles large-cap transactions. Highly regarded practice head Anne Grewlich advised an international banking syndicate led by UniCredit on the granting of an €800m loan to the Scout24 group and the firm also acted for UniCredit as financing bank for the Chinese bidder Kingclean in the auction process for the €1.6bn acquisition of the German tableware manufacturer WMF. The equally recognised Bernd Egbers assisted UniCredit, Commerzbank, ING and IKB Deutsche Industriebank with the financing of the acquisition of a majority share in Universal Investment via the British financial investor Montagu. Besides advising banks and companies, the team also increasingly acts for loan funds and was able to expand its work for private equity sponsors such as Capvis and Chequers. Derk Opitz focuses on real estate and asset finance and is ‘pragmatic and pleasant in his cooperation’. After a few departures in the past years the remaining large and ‘very good’ team was strengthened with counsel Nikolos Tsagareli from Gleiss Lutz in May 2017 and thereby expanded particularly its acquisition and project finance practice. Sebastian Schoon, however, departed for Gibson Dunn in the summer of 2017.

Gleiss Lutz’s ‘professional team’ continues to enjoy a ‘very good standing in the market’ for financing advice with ‘evident skills in the area of syndicated loans’; it is noted for its ‘competent and proactive support with good suggestions and feasible structures’. Traditionally strong on the borrowers’ side, the practice also increasingly acts for banks and advises on corporate finance, including syndicate loans and Schuldschein loans, and acquisition finance in the sub-investment grade segment. Key client Steinhoff sought the firm’s advice on the financing of the takeover offer by subsidiary Steinhoff Europe for Poundland, noted on the London Stock Exchange, and the £673m financing of the planned takeover of Darty via its subsidiary Conforama. Another client is United Internet regarding the financing of the voluntary public takeover offer for Drillisch. Clients also include private equity houses; the frequently recommended Frank Schlobach advised DBAG for the first time in the LBO segment on the financing of the acquisition of the Dieter Braun group. Helge Kortz, who is particularly recommended for restructuring cases, and Eva Reudelhuber assisted a banking syndicate of seven banks led by Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale with the restructuring of the €2.5bn financing for the construction of Berlin Brandenburg Airport via the airport operating company Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg. In the area of real estate finance the ‘very prompt and focused’ Burkhard Jäkel has an ‘incredible commitment and is an excellent lawyer’. Nikolos Tsagareli joined Ashurst LLP as counsel in May 2017.

Linklaters advises both borrowers and lenders, covers acquisition, corporate and real estate finance and is known as particularly active in the LBO segment. Practice head Marc Trinkaus assists Montagu with the financing of the takeover of Universal-Investment and acts for HSH Portfoliomanagement AöR in connection with the financing of the acquisition of a €6.2bn loan portfolio of HSH Nordbank. On the banking side two clients were JP Morgan and Barclays Bank concerning the €1.9bn financing of the acquisition by Evonik Industries of Air Products’ Speciality & Coating Additives business. The firm also saw increased work for Chinese investors in connection with inbound business in Germany, such as for Chinese bidder Goldvac Trading regarding the financing of the attempted acquisition of WMF. In the corporate finance area, on the borrowers’ side the team advised FUNKE on the refinancing of its loan for the acquisition of Axel Springer publications. In real estate finance it is active for both banks and investors and assisted several international investors with cross-border transactions; clients include ING, DekaBank, CBRE and some debt investors. Occasionally the firm also acts for loan funds, such as for Alcentra regarding the financing of the acquisition of the d+b audiotechnik group via the private equity investor Ardian. Carl-Peter Feick is also recommended, Julian Zaich, however, left the firm in June 2017 and joined Gütt Olk Feldhaus in September 2017. Prominently, in October 2017 Neil Weiand arrived from Allen & Overy LLP.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s ‘outstanding’ finance practice is ‘worth the money’: it includes ‘top people, not only at partner but also at associate level’ and is noted for its ‘very high commitment for clients and total reliability’. The team ‘enjoys the utmost trust of banks and private equity investors’ and focuses on complex acquisition financings and LBOs, especially those that require a particular financing structure, the involvement of non-bank lenders and capital market products. It advised Barclays Bank and J.P. Morgan on the collateralised bank bond financing for the takeover of Atotech by Carlyle, and Wasser und Gas Westfalen on the refinancing via revolving credit facilities and Schuldschein loans. The firm also acted for KfW, SEB, ING and Mediobanca as lenders in the acquisition financing for First State Investments’ offer for the acquisition of Thyssengas and assisted Pemberton with the refinancing via a unitranche facility and a senior term and revolving facility by Deutsche Bank. Also in the area of corporate finance the team primarily handles selective, time-sensitive transactions. A recent example is advising UniCredit on the extension and adjustment of credit lines for CBR-Modegruppe via an English scheme of arrangement. Lastly, the practice also increasingly covers advice on debt funds, especially in connection with acquisition finance in the mid-cap segment via unitranche and super senior loans. According to clients and peers Thomas Ingenhoven is ‘one the best financing lawyers in the German market: very experienced; assertive without being aggressive and commercial in the best sense of the word’. Associate Alexander Klein is also considered ‘excellent, exceptionally trained, authoritative and clear in negotiations’.

Clients continue to have ‘good experiences’ with CMS’ finance practice, which gradually has expanded its original focus on the corporate side to also advising banks and private equity sponsors, such as Oaktree. The firm recently saw an increased work load in connection with public takeover offers and cross-border matters, including assisting Coherent with the financing of the takeover of ROFIN-SINAR Technologies, which is listed in New York and Frankfurt, in all relevant jurisdictions. The team is also strong in real estate finance: It advised Allianz on the participation in a credit line for Invesco for the refinancing of existing real estate financings and the financing of further real estate acquisitions in various jurisdictions, and another client was GEG regarding the financing of the acquisition of the International Business Campus in Frankfurt. Other clients in the area include pbb Deutsche Pfandbriefbank and Savills. The team based in Hamburg is very active in the financing and refinancing of ships. Kerstin Block was promoted to partner at the start of 2017. Markus Pfaff and Marc Seibold head the practice.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s ‘excellent’ financing team ‘delivers work quickly and effectively’ and covers acquisition, corporate, real estate but also trade and export finance. Besides companies and banks it also advises alternative lenders, including debt funds, FinTechs and insurers. In the corporate finance segment it assisted Globus with a €150m revolving facility, which was issued by a syndicate led by Commerzbank, LBBW, Saar LB and UniCredit, and recently advised Vapiano on a syndicated loan in the context of its IPO. A client in acquisition finance is HNA regarding the first phase of a complex €1.5bn debt financing in connection with the CHF2.7bn acquisition of the Swissport group. Patrick Mittmann (‘very quick, technically unchallenged, clear and precise language, no unnecessary top dog behaviour, unpretentious’) focuses on real estate finance and acted for Deutsche Hypo, Berlin Hyp and HSH Nordbank with regard to a €960m financing of various companies under the DIC group. Clients appreciate the ‘consideration of sector specifics and particularities of the asset and the regulatory requirements of the lenders’. The ‘very competent’ Katlen Blöcker is ‘also an excellent lawyer’, who stands out for her ‘extremely pleasant collaboration’.

At Noerrthe complete package is just right’: The ‘very innovative’ team, which places a focus on real estate financings but also handles corporate and acquisition financings, is ‘very competitive with high personal engagement of all lawyers’, ‘extremely competent and yet pragmatic’ and was able to ‘take a big step forward’ and gain ‘much visibility’. The firm was able to position itself particularly on the banking side, such as by advising LBBW and Siemens Bank on the financing of the acquisition of the Dieter Braun group by DBAG, and recently also assisting LBBW with the financing of a high-volume real estate transaction, the takeover of the City Carré in Magdeburg by the British investor REVCAP. Other clients include NordLB and BayernLB. On the corporate side the team advised Scout 24 on the signing of a new syndicated loan agreement with new credit lines over €800m, and handled an international financing transaction for Novelis. Andreas Naujoks (‘high competency; very pragmatic and systematic in his approach; good ideas’) heads the expanding team, which also includes the frequently recommended Tom Beckerhoff and the ‘very pragmatic and resolute’ Nikolai Warneke, who was promoted to partner at the start of 2017. The practice furthermore gained Kai-Michael Hingst in April 2017 with the takeover of White & Case LLP’s former Hamburg office; associated partner Torsten Werhahn is also recommended.

With a focus on advising domestic and international banks and financial institutions the ‘excellent’, ‘always available, tactically adept and overall very client-oriented’ team at Norton Rose Fulbright focuses in particular on corporate, real estate and asset finance. It advised KfW IPEX-Bank on a $154m loan agreement covered by Euler Hermes between KfW IPEX-Bank and Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank for the purchase of an airbus A330-200 and an airbus A330-300 by RwandAir. Anthony Morton, who advises on English law, assisted the IFC with a loan agreement with PT. B Braun Medical Indonesia and PT. B. Braun Pharmaceutical Indonesia as borrowers and B. Braun as guarantor. Clients on the banking side also include LBBW and The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, and AEW Europe and Invesco Real Estate sought the firm’s advice on various real estate financings in Germany and abroad. The client portfolio, however, also consists of mid-sized companies on the borrowers’ side, such as a German real estate company in connection with the refinancing of an existing margin loan agreement. The well regarded Oliver Sutter has a ‘longstanding wealth of experience’ and is noted for his ‘expertise, flexibility, quick grasp, goal-orientation and pragmatism’. Nadine Bourgeois is also recommended. The firm merged with Chadbourne & Parke in June 2017.

Shearman & Sterling LLP focuses especially on LBO transactions, international bank bond financings, unitranche loans and PIK and Schuldschein loans, but also covers corporate finance and financial restructurings. It assisted longstanding client Ardagh Group with its refinancing. Highlights in the area of acquisition finance included advising Avenue Capital, BlueBay and Invesco on the financing of the acquisition of Kimble Chase Life Science by DURAN Group, and BIP and new client Luxempart on a unitranche financing for the acquisition of ARWE. The team also handled an ECA covered export credit facility and a commercial credit facility for the financing of technical innovations for ICIG and subsidiary Vynova. The ‘amiable team’ includes the ‘very activeWinfried Carli, who focuses on the LBO segment and on advising financial investors, and the ‘very solution-oriented’ counsel Matthias Weissinger. Esther Jansen, who primarily covers acquisitions and corporate financings, is also recommended.

White & Case LLP is traditionally strong on the banking side and stands out for its advice on cross-border finance transactions. The firm often acts as local counsel in close collaboration with its practices in London and New York and offers advice on German, English and New York law from its offices in Germany. In the acquisition finance segment it also increasingly advises private equity houses: The ‘very active’ Vanessa Schürmann assisted Triton with the financing of the acquisition of WernerCo. Thomas Flatten focuses on real estate finance, but also handled the $4.4bn financing for the acquisition of Akron by Fresenius for a banking syndicate led by Credit Suisse. Expertise furthermore lies in financial restructurings: The ‘highly esteemedTom Schorling advised Commerzbank as documentation agent on the refinancing of Ströer’s syndicated credit facilities and recently on the €1.75bn refinancing of Evonik Industries’ syndicated credit line. Local partner Sibylle Münch joined Latham & Watkins LLP as counsel in May 2017 and with the closure of the Hamburg office the team lost Kai-Michael Hingst to Noerr in April 2017.

Clients have ‘good experiences’ with Baker McKenzie’s finance practice, which primarily acts on the banking side and focuses on syndicated loan business, particularly in the area of trade and export financings. Oliver Socher predominantly advises on acquisition finance with additional expertise in asset-based lending. He advised a banking syndicate led by DZ Bank on the financing of the acquisition of multiple hospitals by Vitanas. Other clients include BerlinHyp and ING regarding the refinancing of the Taunusturm in Frankfurt and new client Corestate in connection with several real estate financings and also the takeover of 94.9% of shares in Hannover Leasing. Real estate finance expert Filip Kurkowski, who joined from Allen & Overy LLP in July 2016, left the firm again for Ashurst LLP in February 2018.

DLA Piperparticularly stands out for the team’s technical expertise and pleasant collaboration in comparison to other firms’; the finance practice provides an ‘extraordinarily high level of service’ advising on corporate and acquisition finance with a focus on the corporate and sponsors’ side. It assisted Sun Capital as sponsor and Flabeg Automotive as borrower and guarantor with the refinancing of the acquisition of the Flabeg group by Sun Capital and in the debt fund segment gained Proventus Capital and Rantum Capital as new clients in connection with a mezzanine Schuldschein loan by Cheplapharm. The team also advised an international company in the wind energy sector on a corporate financing by the European Investment Bank and relevant intercreditor issues in connection with the existing corporate line and high-yield bond, and assisted a German pharmaceutical supplier with Schuldschein loans. Additionally the firm occasionally positions itself on the banking side, expanded its work for DZ Bank, among others, and advised on a syndicated corporate financing for Poppe + Potthoff. The ‘level-headed and technically and legally extremely strongTorsten Pokropp is noted for his ‘outstanding skills and always makes clients feel they are in good hands’. The equally recommended former practice head Wolfram Distler, however, departed for Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in September 2017.

Clients feel ‘well taken care of’ at Jones Day’s finance practice, which continues to position itself in advising on acquisition finance, corporate loans and real estate financings. On the borrowers’ side it assisted MAHLE with financial matters in connection with the sale of the industrial filtration group division to the Filtration Group, a subsidiary of Madison Industries, and recently also with the financial aspects of the sale of its forging activities to the Frauenthal Group, noted at the Vienna Stock Exchange. The team also acted for SEB as documentation agent regarding the granting of a €210m refinancing for Vetter Pharma. The client portfolio also includes private equity sponsors, such as Aurora Resurgence, a fund by Aurora Capital Group, concerning the financing of the acquisition of Karl Höll via the portfolio company Alltub. In the real estate segment Claudia Leyendecker in Düsseldorf advised Hansteen Holdings on the sale of its German and Dutch real estate portfolio at a purchase price of €1.28bn to the Onyx joint venture by The Blackstone Group and asset manager M7 Real Estate. In Frankfurt practice head Sandra Kamper and the extremely active European counsel Sascha Schmidt are recommended.

Mayer Brown LLP’s advice ranges from mid-cap acquisition financings for sponsors and banks to financial restructurings, asset-based finance transactions, real estate financings and advising companies on debt finance transactions. The firm’s focus predominantly lies on acting for banks and private equity funds, but the client portfolio also includes some prominent corporations. The team often collaborates with the practices in Paris, London and the US: Together with the Paris office Markus Strelow assisted BHF-Bank with the financing of the buy-out of Avedo and Vocando by Seafort Advisors and the financing of the buy-out of WEETECH by Pinova Capital. The very active Martin Heuber handled the financing of the Allgäu Center Parcs in Baden-Wuerttemberg for BNP Paribas.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s finance practice around Johannes Kremer stands out for its ‘quick response times with a strong service orientation coupled with professional advice at the client’s level’ and ‘good industry and legal expertise plus local availability of the lawyers’. The portfolio includes acquisition and real estate financings, syndicated loan business and debt restructurings and the team acts primarily on the borrowers’ side with a focus on high-volume, complex financings and expertise in cross-border transactions. Recent highlights include advising Lanxess on the bridge financing of its $2.5bn acquisition of Chemtura Corporation, and together with the London office assisting Fabbrica Italiana Lapis e Affini with the financing of the acquisition of France-based Canson from Groupe Hamelin. AGRAVIS Raiffeisen and the provincial government of Carinthia are also clients, among others.

At the start of 2017 Taylor Wessing gained a team of King & Wood Mallesons’ former Frankfurt office and thereby strengthened its practice particularly in acquisition finance but also corporate and restructuring finance; in Hamburg the firm continues to focus on real estate finance. Clients appreciate the ‘consistently good advice and good service also in complex cases’; the team is considered ‘very client-oriented with a high grasp of economics’. Clemens Niedner advised Kalorimeta on the acquisition finance of Qundis and Sabine Schomaker advised EQT on the financing of the acquisition of a majority stake in Ultimaco. Ulf Gosejacob, who joined as salaried partner, assisted DBAG on the financing of the acquistion of Polytech Health & Aesthetics, and Silver Investment Partners on the acquisition of Varicor. Other clients include DZ Bank, LBBW, Helaba, Steadfast Capital and a few savings banks. A client on the corporate side is REWE and in the real estate finance segment a key client is HSH Nordbank, recently regarding the financing of two office buildings in Stuttgart. Hauke Bornschein in Hamburg is ‘consistently service-oriented, flexible and matter-of-fact in the realisation of projects’.

Besides the very active project finance practice Watson Farley & Williams LLP’s ‘very uncomplicated and pragmatic’ team also covers acquisition, corporate and asset finance and advises clients in the transport, real estate, private equity, energy and infrastructure and banking sectors. With rolling stock expertise the ‘commercially trained and well regarded’ Frederik Lorenzen in Frankfurt assisted HSH Nordbank with the financing of Railpool’s acquisition of 196 electric trains from DB Cargo. In Hamburg, where the team is primarily based, the also ‘very commercially minded, entrepreneurial-oriented and pragmatic’ Clemens Hillmer recently advised Commerzbank on the granting of a corporate loan to the FRS group for the further expansion of the company. The firm also frequently gives advice around loan portfolios, in particular in the shipping area, such as to KKR Credit regarding the acquisition of a portfolio of distressed and non-distressed shipping loans together with a sovereign wealth fund. Stefan Kilgus focuses on mid-cap acquisition financing; Alexandra Michalopoulos advises on English law.

Since opening its first office in Germany in 2015 Goodwin was able to continuously expand its finance practice around the well-known Stephan Kock. The main pillar of the practice lies in real estate finance, however, it also covers other loan financing and has particular expertise advising on matters with a US aspect. Pbb Deutsche Pfandbriefbank, Helaba and Bank of America Merrill Lynch were first time clients with regard to the refinancing of OFFICEFIRST. Other new clients include HSH Nordbank and Natixis Pfandbriefbank. On the sponsors’ side the firm advises key client Gramercy on the sale of the €1bn portfolio Gramercy Property Europe to Axa, and Slate Asset Management on the financing of the acquisition of 67 food markets, operated by large retailers such as Lidl, Aldi, Edeka and REWE.

Herbert Smith Freehills Germany LLP’s finance practice has been growing since 2015 and broadly covers acquisition, corporate and real estate financings primarily on the banking and sponsor side. Key figure Julia Müller advised RBC Europe, ING and SEB on the financing for DIF and EDF Invest to support their acquisition of Thyssengas and acted for the financing banks Natixis and Citigroup regarding the planned $3.9bn sale of Engies Exploration and Production International (EPI) business to Neptune Energy. Kai Liebrich assisted ICBC with the financing of the successful public takeover of the German automation company Kuka by the Chinese electrical appliance manufacturer Midea. Clients in the real estate finance segment are Qatar Investment Authority, Amundi Immobilier and Cording Real Estate Group, among others; the portfolio furthermore includes Danske Bank, China Construction Bank, NordLB and Beechbrook Capital.

With a focus on advising lenders and firm roots in the German mid-sized sector, Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek covers acquisition finance, corporate finance, including financial restructurings and the optimisation of financings, and also occasionally real estate financings. Recent highlights include advising Vetter Pharma on a €210m refinancing and Railpool on several financings of rolling stock. The team is also often active in the public sector due to advising savings banks and state banks, for example advising Helaba regarding the financing of the acquisition of a minority share in the BGM corporate group from a market leading DIY chain; another client is the district savings bank (Kreissparkasse) Hannover. Thomas Schrell is the key figure.

K&L Gates LLP covers asset finance with particular expertise in rail transport and rolling stock, real estate finance, particularly real estate acquisitions and portfolio transactions, and acquisition finance, and advises German and international banks and other financial institutions, companies, municipalities and regional authorities on domestic and cross-border transactions. The team acts increasingly for private equity and debt investors, infrastructure funds and other sponsors and alternative lenders. Key clients include AerCap, Bayerische Landesbank, KfW IPEX-Bank, KKR and Paragon Partners; the practice also gained new clients such as Mainsite and a leading French transport company. Frank Thomas, who enjoys a ‘very good reputation’, advised a bank specialising in project and export financings on the refinancing of the acquisition of a portfolio of 32 used Vossloh Locomotives; a private operator of public means of transport on the completion of a leasing financing of 28 regional trains; and a bank specialising in transport financing on financial restructurings of a French leasing company for cars and trucks. Matthias Grund heads the practice.

King & Spalding LLPachieves complete client satisfaction’ and the team, which focuses on real estate financings, is recommended particularly ‘for complicated processes, especially abroad’. On the lenders’ side it frequently advises clients such as LBBW, Helaba, Münchener Hypothekenbank, BayernLB and Natixis, and on the borrowers’ side TRIUVA, HANSAINVEST, Orion Capital Managers, AEW Europe and Barings Real Estate Advisers, amongst others. Tishman Speyer sought the firm’s advice on the acquisition and financing of the Pressehaus on Alexanderplatz from media corporation Bertelsmann for the new fund Tishman Speyer European Real Estate Ventures VII. Another client is DekaBank regarding real estate financings in Germany, Europe and the US. Highly recommended Andreas Böhme is admitted in Germany, England and Wales and focuses on advising borrowers and Sebastian Kaufmann, who is admitted in Germany, New York, England and Wales, divides his time between Frankfurt and New York with expertise on the lenders’ side for cross-border transactions with the US. Werner Meier now heads the restructuring practice at Simmons & Simmons LLP.

Besides an important presence on the borrowers’ side, specifically in the upper mid-market, Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH also acts for banks and debt funds and has additional expertise in advising on factoring; clients appreciate the ‘very quick response rate, good advice, negotiation skills and industry knowledge’. Key figure Christoph Schauenburg ‘delivers good work’ in loan financing and restructuring matters. He assisted key client Idinvest Partners with a unitranche financing for Steadfast Capital’s acquisition of Stanz- und LaserTechnik Jessen; advised HIG Whitehorse on an acquisition financing for Belgian company Legris’ acquisition of the German target company Schiederwerke; and handled the revision and increase of a syndicated loan agreement for STEICO. Other active clients include UNIWHEELS, FIEGE, Banco Santander and Raiffeisenlandesbank Niederösterreich-Wien.

In close collaboration with the London and New York practices Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is particularly strong on the sponsors’ side (Montagu Private Equity, Advent International, Angelo, Gordon & Co.), but also acts for banks (Barclays Bank, UniCredit). The team surrounding Michael Kohl was strengthened significantly in September 2017 with the arrival of Wolfram Distler, former head of banking and finance at DLA Piper, who has broad expertise in corporate, acquisition, energy and infrastructure, real estate and export finance. The firm also advises on financial restructurings. It assisted Centerbridge and its portfolio company on the adjustment and restructuring of existing bank financing in connection with the private placement of Senvion shares at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. A highlight was assisting the shareholders of Tipico with the sale of Tipico shares in CVC Capital Partners and the related financial commitments by various banks.

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  • LAG Düsseldorf: Dismissal with immediate effect valid in response to threat

    Anyone who seriously threatens their employer or superior should expect to be dismissed with immediate effect. This was confirmed by a ruling of the Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) Düsseldorf [Regional Labour Court of Düsseldorf] from June 8, 2017 (Az.: 11 Sa 823/16).
  • Tax evasion: Only voluntary disclosure affords protection from severe penalties

    Anyone who has been caught for tax evasion should expect to be faced with severe penalties. Voluntary disclosure is the only way of returning to a state of normal tax affairs and avoiding penalties.
  • GSK Update: AIFM Marketing in Germany - The clock is ticking for U.S. and other non-EU fund managers

    Our GSK Update informs about the impact of recent German investment fund legislation (UCITS V Implementation Act) for AIF managers, who are not domiciled in the EU (“non-EU-AIFM”) and who seek to market AIF shares in Germany in accordance with applicable German investment fund law under the EU-AIFM Directive (2011/61/EU).
  • GSK expands Luxembourg presence with a new tax partner

    Opened at the beginning of March 2016, GSK Stockmann + Kollegen continues to expand its Luxembourg office. Mathilde Ostertag recently joined the Luxembourg team of Equity Partners Dr. Marcus Peter, Andreas Heinzmann and Dr. Philipp Mößner as Local Tax Partner.
  • EIA - Strengthening the role of the public

    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.
  • New Top Level Domains – Noerr expert warns against trademark infringements

    On June 13, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) published the names of those who have applied for a new top level domain the ending of which may be geographic, such as "munich", industry identification such as "insurance" and even all trademark names and company descriptions such as "canon" and "adidas".
    - Noerr
  • No obligation to set up filtering systems in order to prevent copyright violations

    ECJ, decision of February 16th, 2012, ref. C-360/10 – SABAM
  • Further ECJ Ruling concerning NGO’s right of action under German environmental law

    For the second time within a short period of time, the non-governmental organisations right to challenge administrative decisions under German law is going to be subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). In January 2012, the German Supreme Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht) referred a case to the ECJ for a preliminary ruling concerning the NGO’s right of action.
  • Lessons in Cross-Border M & A Transactions

    The fundamental advice for international business transactions is obvious and easy to understand: different countries have different laws, business habits and cultures. These differences may range from minor nuances, such as lengthy French business lunches or unusual Spanish office hours, to significant legal roadblocks, such as strict European employment laws.
  • Priority rental rights in insolvency

    Parties to rental contracts for commercial premises often agree priority rental rights. In practice, this concept is used to cover a whole series of legal structures. These range from fixed options for the tenant to a promise made by the landlord as a business policy that if any additional premises become available, they will be offered to the tenant. In 2010 the Berlin Court of Appeal issued a ruling on such priority rental rights in insolvency; the decision has recently been published.

Press Releases in Germany

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