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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Germany > Corporate and M&A > M&A: large deals (€500m+) > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. M&A: large deals (€500m+)
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

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Advising on large-cap deals, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer can take full advantage of its ‘excellent’ consulting experience. It provides ‘very cost-effective advice despite its high hourly rates’ on high-profile transactions. In recent work, it advised on the sale of various assets and subsidiaries of Air Berlin and Niki Luftfahrt to multiple companies in bidding procedures following the insolvency of both companies. The group assisted BASF with concluding a declaration of intent to establish the joint venture Wintershall DEA with LetterOne for the merger of the oil and gas subsidiaries. As part of an international team, the group handled a public takeover in the infrastructure sector, namely Hochtief’s €33.5bn acquisition (cash payment and share swap) of Abertis Infraestructuras. The practice also assisted Vonoiva with a voluntary public takeover offer made to the shareholders of the Buwog Group. Matthias-Gabriel Kremer heads the group, which comprises 32 partners since the appointment of Nicholas Günther in May 2018. Other key names include Andreas Fabritius, Arend von Riegen, Rick van Aerssen and Gregor von Bonin. Christoph Seibt provides ‘very fast and good advice’ and Stephan Waldhausen is ‘an outstanding M&A expert’.

Outstanding legal competence, business acumen and unambiguous binding statements, especially in crucial, critical situations’ lead clients of major German law firm Hengeler Mueller to have ‘the greatest confidence in its advice’. The transactions handled often have an international component, as advising Vitol on the €1.37bn acquisition of Petrol Ofisi shows. Another highlight was assisting innogy with the merger of npower, innogy’s UK distribution business, with SSE’s end customer and EnergiePlus business to create an energy distribution company in the UK. Maximilian Schiessl, Martin Ulbrich, Nicolas Böhm and Daniela Favoccia are noted. Hans-Jörg Ziegenhain has ‘excellent business acumen’ and Matthias Hentzen stands out for his ‘ingenuity and negotiation skills’. Daniel Möritz and Sebastian Schneider made partner at the beginning of 2018. Steffen Oppenländer joined Milbank in August 2017.

Linklaters has ‘a very good understanding of the commercial aspects of a transaction’. It acts for DAX 30 companies and major German corporations such as Continental, Siemens and thyssenkrupp. The group advised E.ON on the sale of its stake in Uniper and handled Fortum’s public takeover offer to Uniper shareholders. In other work, it advised Deere & Company on the €4.4bn takeover of the German Wirtgen group and assisted with the €15bn merger of thyssenkrupp’s European steel business with Tata. Ralph Wollburg and Stephan Oppenhoff are recommended, the latter particularly for public takeovers. Tim Johannsen-Roth was appointed practice head in May 2018.

Clients can expect ‘consistently clear advice’ from Clifford Chance. Thomas Krecek, who is the ‘absolute benchmark for M&A lawyers in Germany’, leads the practice together with Anselm Raddatz. It has particular expertise in advising banks and financial institutions on transactions, for example it handled BNP Paribas’ takeover of ABN Amro’s asset management and insurance activities. Another highlight was assisting Fresenius Kabi with the €670m acquisition of Merck’s biosimilar business. The team grew with the addition of Markus Stephanblome, who joined from White & Case LLP in December 2017.

Latham & Watkins LLP is commended for its work in transactions with an international component, particularly due to its good network with its US and UK offices. As part of a cross-office team, the group advised Siemens on the merger of its mobility business with Alstom. Other highlights include assisting Henkel with the $1.05bn acquisition of the Darex Packaging Technologies business from GCP Applied Technologies, and advising Israel Chemicals on the $1bn sale of its fire protection and oil additives businesses to SK Capital Partners. Harald Selzner leads the group, which also includes Martin Neuhaus, Rainer Traugott and Henning Schneider. In early 2018, Natalie Daghles made partner and in March 2018 Tobias Larisch, who is particularly experienced handling energy sector transactions, joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Noerrimpresses with its expert knowledge and foresight’, and ‘always sets up teams – interdisciplinary if needed – appropriate to a deal’s size and complexity’. It regularly acts for large German companies and financial investors on large-cap transactions in the e-commerce sector and increasingly in the regulated industries. Highlights included assisting Bayer with the €1.7bn sale of its crop science businesses to BASF; advising Johnson Controls on the $2bn sale of its subsidiary Scott Safety to US group 3M; and acting for Chiltern during its $1.2bn sale to LabCorp. The M&A practice is headed by Alexander Hirsch and Florian Becker, who ‘knows what the client needs, what the market standard is, and can bring both into line’. Marlies Raschke made partner at the beginning of 2018. Other key names are Michael Brellochs, Tibor Fedke (‘technically excellent and always responsive’) and Volker Land (‘a strategic thinker’ who advises ‘quickly, wisely and with a high level of economic understanding’).

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s Frankfurt office has extensive experience of large-cap transactions. Most recently, the group acted on a number of high-profile mergers: in addition to assisting Bayer with its merger with Monsanto, it handled Praxair’s merger of equals with Linde, which created the largest global industrial gases company with a combined market value of over $67bn. In other work, the team assisted Drillisch with its merger with United Internet. Another highlight was advising Marsella Holdings on the $1.2bn acquisition of Braas Monier Building Group. Carsten Berrar and York Schnorbus are other names to note in managing partner Wolfgang Feuring’s team.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton’s M&A group is ‘characterised by professional expertise and intercultural competence’. With ‘a will to complete a transaction successfully’, it often acts for banks and financial institutions such as Citi, which acted as financial adviser to RWE concerning the sale of innogy’s stake in E.ON. In 2017, the group assisted General Motors with the €2.2bn sale of Opel-Vauxhall to PSA, and advised 3M on the $900m sale of the communications markets business to Corning. Michael Ulmer is ‘a great help in keeping a demanding team on the other side in check’ and counsel Michael Brems ‘has a strong sense of a client’s structures, decision making approach and communication culture’. Gabriele Apfelbacher and Oliver Schröder are also recommended.

Several clients are impressed by the ‘pragmatic advice’ provided by Gleiss Lutz. In addition to acting for German clients, the M&A group also receives regular instructions from companies from other European countries on large-cap transactions. Recently, it advised the shareholder of the automotive supplier ZKW on its €1.1bn sale to LG Corporation and LG Electronics. All six German offices offer M&A expertise, with Christian Cascante and Jochen Tyrolt recommended in Stuttgart, Ralf Morshäuser and Rainer Loges key names in Munich, Thomas Menke the contact in Düsseldorf and Fred Wendt active in Hamburg. Jörn Wöbke joined Schnittker Möllmann Partners in early 2019. Andreas Löhdefink was a new arrival from Shearman & Sterling LLP.

Hogan Lovells International LLP delivers ‘solutions that work the first time around and keep the effort for clients low’. The team also successfully cooperates with ‘equally qualified and readily available lawyers in other jurisdictions’, which is an advantage for clients involved in large international transactions. Highlights in this space included advising Woodward on the acquisition of engineering firm L’Orange for a value of €700m according to media reports; assisting BASF with the merger of its paper and water chemicals business with US specialty chemicals manufacturer Solenis; and acting for Daimler on the formation of a joint venture with BMW to bundle global mobility services. Lutz Angerer leads the German team, while Volker Geyrhalter heads the Continental European practice. Nikolas Zirngibl is also noted and Hanns Jörg Herwig made partner at the beginning of 2018.

Jones Day fields M&A lawyers in Frankfurt, Dusseldorf and Munich, which frequently cooperate with US colleagues on large-cap deals. For example, the group assisted Cardinal Health with the $6.1bn acquisition of some of Medtronic’s businesses, and advised Procter & Gamble on the €3.4bn acquisition of Merck’s global consumer health business, both of which were led by a US team. The German group coordinated advice for Hilti on its acquisition of the Norwegian company Oglaend System. Practice heads Ansgar Rempp and Martin Schulz are noted, and Christian Krebs and Markus Weber made partners in January 2018.

Allen & Overy LLP’s ‘solution-oriented’ team frequently advises US clients on M&A transactions with a focus on Germany. In one example it is assisting Superior Industries with the $715m public tender offer for Uniwheels; Hartmut Krause, who is recommended by clients for his ‘exceptional experience’ in public takeovers, led the advice on the German side of the transaction. Hans Diekmann is ‘risk aware, proactive and diligent’; he advised Allianz on the £1bn retail insurance joint venture with Liverpool Victoria. Practice heads Hans Schoneweg and Michiel Huizinga are also recommended. Hans-Christoph Ihrig left the firm in August 2017 to co-found Mannheim-based boutique Ihrig & Anderson Rechtsanwälte and Murad Daghles left for White & Case LLP in January 2019.

In addition to German SMEs, CMS also acts for large, often international companies; it recently advised HP on the $1.05bn acquisition of Samsung Electronics’ global printing division. Another highlight was advising IVG on the sale of its stake in Triuva Kapitalverwaltungsgesellschaft to Patrizia Immobilien. Maximilian Grub, Hilke Herchen and Ernst-Markus Schuberth lead the 65-partner group, which saw the promotion of three new partners in January 2018: Carolin Armbruster, Igor Stenzel and Tilman Weichert. Malte Bruhns has ‘a high advisory competence and business understanding’, and is recommended alongside Thomas Meyding and Christian Lenthe.

DLA Piper’s ‘down-to-earth’ team is also increasingly involved in large-cap transactions. It assisted Rolls-Royce Power Systems with the sale of L’Orange to Woodward, and advised Syngenta on the €1.4bn acquisition of Nidera Seeds. A particular highlight was acting for BASF on the €1.6bn acquisition of Solvay’s polyamide business. The ‘outstandingBenjamin Parameswaran, who stands out for his ‘negotiating skills’, led all transactions.

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