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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 international deals (€500m+) > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and M&A: M&A: Large international deals (€500m+)
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Hans Diekmann - Allen & Overy LLP
    • Andreas Fabritius - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Thomas Meyding - CMS
    • Ralph Wollburg - Linklaters
    • Hans-Jörg Ziegenhain - Hengeler Mueller

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Both German and international companies regard Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer as one of the leading law firms for large-cap M&A deals. For example, Arend von Riegen and Rick van Aerssen advised, as part of an international team, the Chinese home appliance group Midea on the public takeover of robotics and automation specialist KUKA for around $5bn, to date the largest acquisition of a German company by a Chinese bidder. In this transaction, as in several others particularly from the financial services sector, supervisory law matters played a significant role. Another instruction that gained plenty of media attention was Maersk’s acquisition of Hamburg Süd from the Oetker group, with the team acting for the buyer. Andreas Fabritius, Gregor von Bonin and van Aerssen advised Vonovia on corporate matters pertaining to the voluntrary public takeover bid to the shareholders of Conwert Immobilien Invest in the amount of €2.86bn; the client had previously already retained the group for assistance with the planned merger with Deutsche Wohnen. The M&A group is led by Matthias-Gabriel Kremer, with Christoph Seibt also recommended. Shortly before the editorial deadline, Annedore Streyl announced her move to Ernst & Young Law.

The German full-service firm Hengeler Mueller is also in demand on the international stage: The group acted in over 70 countries in recent years. For example, Fresenius Helios retained the group for advice on the €5.76bn acquisition of the largest private hospital operator in Spain, Quirónsalud, from CVC Capital Partners and its managing director. A sale with Chinese participation was handled for Robert Bosch: The company sold the previously spun-off business unit Starter Motors Generators to a Chinese buyer consortium for €545m. An example of a merger is the €38.18m merger of equals of Linde, the firm’s client, and Praxair through a share exchange under the umbrella of a new holding company. In addition, the group assisted some private equity funds with large-cap deals, for example KKR with the €1.1bn acquisition of Airbus’ defence electronics business. Advisors on this instruction include Martin Ulbrich, who made partner in early 2017, and Maximilian Schiessl. Also recommended are Hans-Jörg Ziegenhain, energy expert Nicolas Böhm and Matthias Hentzen, who specialises in restructuring-related M&A transactions.

Top law firmLinklaters regularly advises major German corporations such as Bayer, E.ON, RWE, Siemens and Volkswagen on acquisitions abroad, with the firm’s offices outside of Germany also frequently involved. For example, a German team and the Madrid office were responsible for advising Siemens on the acquisition of Gamesa. Another large-cap deal was the sale of Osram's lamp division to a consortium including M.L.S. Electronics and IDG Capital Partners, which included, according to media reports, the payment of over €400m plus royalties for the use of trademark rights; in this instruction, as in the sale of all shares held in thyssenkrupp Slab International to the Argentinian steel producer Ternium, the group acted for the seller. Ralph Wollburg and Hans-Ulrich Wilsing jointly head the group, which includes 27 partners since the promotion of Dirk Horcher in May 2017. Stephan Oppenhoff is another name to note for large-cap international transactions, while Nikolaos Paschos left for Latham & Watkins LLP.

Clifford Chance sets itself apart through its strong industry expertise in the automotive, banking, energy and health sectors. The ‘business-minded’ Thomas Krecek is regarded as an ‘excellent advisor’ along with Anselm Raddatz. Together, they advised Svenska Cellulosa on the €2.74bn acquisition of medical device company BSN medical. Nicole Englisch led advice to a joint venture founded by Audi, BMW and Daimler on the sale of a 15% stake in HERE to Intel and a 10% stake to a Sino-Singaporean consortium. Other transactions include the assistance of DIF Infrastructure and EDF Invest with the €700m acquisition of Thyssengas and the advice to KUKA concerning the $4.6bn public takeover bid over MECCA/Midea. In May 2017, Thomas Stohlmeier retired, while Christopher Kellett left for Linklaters. Simultaneously, Frederik Mühl and Gunnar Sachs made partner.

Equipped with ‘competitive industry knowledge’, Latham & Watkins LLP is clearly one of the leading firms for large-cap international transactions, as illustrated by current instructions: The group assisted Henkel with the mandatory takeover offer for the $1.05bn acquisition of Darex Packaging Technologies from GCP Applied Technologies, and advised Siemens on the $4.5bn acquisition of Mentor Graphics. The sale of Kaiser’s Tengelmann and Tengelmann E-Stores – the firm’s clients – to EDEKA attracted plenty of media attention. With the addition of Nikolaos Paschos, who formerly worked at Linklaters, in October 2017, the group gained another highly regarded partner. In the previous year, Rainer Traugott, who has a ‘high level of expertise and integrity’, had already joined the group. Now, Martin Neuhaus and Henning Schneider lead an 18-partner strong group, which also includes Harald Selzner and Christoph Engeler.

With Noerr, a German law firm is also at the top of the international large-cap ranking, as the quality of the advice is ‘measured against international standards’. Therefore, some clients highlight the ‘very good value for money’ offered by the group led by Alexander Hirsch and Florian Becker. One of the largest transactions handled by the group in 2017 was the $2bn sale of Johnson Controls subsidiary Scott Safety to 3M, with the group advising the seller. Assistance to the former Lazada shareholders concerning the $1.5bn sale to Alibaba was rendered, among others, by Christian Pleister; he is recommended along with Gerald Reger. In the first half of 2017, the group added two partners: Martin Haisch came from Dechert and Volker Land from White & Case LLP; in addition, Katrin Andrä and Sebastian Schürer made associated partner.

CMS’ good network especially in Europe, with a focus on Southeastern Europe, is regarded to be particularly advantageous by clients for outbound business. In 2016, Telefónica Deutschland, for example, retained the group for the sale of mobile towers following the spin-off of the group to Telxius. Another highlight was advising the Partners Group as the lead investor of a consortium on the joint acquisition of a majority stake in the company, which holds the project rights to the Merkur offshore wind farm. Maximilian Grub, Hilke Herchen and Ernst-Markus Schuberth co-lead the practice, in which Thomas Meyding and Christian von Lenthe are also recommended. Thomas Sonnenberg joined from Triton in August 2016 and Tobias Grau, Christoph Lächler, Jochen Lux and Michael Wangemann made partner in early 2017.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s international network, particularly with the US offices, ensures a steady flow of instructions in the area of large-cap transactions. For example, a large German team in collaboration with partners in Paris, London, Brussels, New York and Washington recently advised General Motors on the €2.2bn divestment of the European Opel and Vauxhall business and the European GM Financial business; the buyer, Groupe PSA, became the second largest car manufacturer in Europe as a result of the acquisition. The group also advised LVMH Moët Hennessy - Louis Vuitton on the €640m acquisition of RIMOWA. Oliver Schröder, who is recommended along with Gabriele Apfelbacher and Michael Ulmer, played a leading role in both transactions. With ‘high standards’, the six partners work from the Frankfurt office, while the Cologne office is staffed with one counsel in the M&A sector.

Gleiss Lutz is increasingly active in the international high-end business, where it cooperates with partner law firms as required. A 2017 highlight was the advice given to JAC Capital and Wise Road Capital on the $2.75bn acquisition of the standard product division of the Dutch semiconductor manufacturer NXP Semiconductors. Two private equity examples are advising KION on the $3.25bn acquisition of Dematic from AEA Investors and Ontario Teachers Private Capital and the assistance of GoDaddy with the €1.7bn acquisition of the Host Europe Group from Cinven. The client base also includes numerous DAX30-listed companies, which retain the firm for strategic outbound transactions. The integration of the real estate transaction and the capital market transaction teams in the corporate and M&A group at the turn of the year 2016/2017 aimed at further bundling the transaction capacities. At the same time, Martin Viciano Gofferje made partner. Christian Cascante and Ralf Morshäuser co-lead the group, in which Thomas Menke and Fred Wendt are also recommended. Since Rainer Loges no longer acts as managing partner, he is increasingly active handling client work. Former counsel Roland Sterr has been general counsel at HeidelbergCement since October 2017.

M&A advice at Hogan Lovells International LLP is ‘timely’ and ‘always rendered with commercial expertise’ by ‘excellent lawyers’. Düsseldorf-based Christoph Louven leads the practice at the Continental European level and Munich-based Lutz Angerer leads the German group. Matthias Jaletzke and Tim Brandi are recommended in Frankfurt, Birgit Reese is another name to note in Düsseldorf and Peter Huber, who recently made partner in Munich, keeps ‘all the balls in the air and ensures that the cooperation with the client runs smoothly’. Most recently, the group advised financial institutions, including Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, and the German association of savings banks (DSGV), on the sale of credit card company Concardis to Advent International and Bain Capital for about €600m, according to media reports. In further highlight transactions, Statoil retained the firm for the acquisition of a 50% stake in the AWE Arkona wind farm development company from E.ON Climate & Renewables; and NXP Semiconductors was advised on the $2.75bn sale of standard product lines to AC Capital and Wise Road Capital.

Jones Day’s ‘very good’ M&A practice is particularly well known for acting on large US-German transactions and is also very active in public takeovers. One example is advising GfK on the public takeover offer by KKR followed by the squeeze-out and delisting. Of particularly high volume was Total’s €3.2bn sale of specialty chemicals subsidiary Atotech to Carlyle, with a team led by Adriane Sturm acting for the seller. The practice group was strengthened in June 2016 by the addition of Kerstin Henrich from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP and a month later by Christian Trenkel’s addition from Clifford Chance. Ansgar Rempp leads the now 17 partner-strong group, which is spread over three locations, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Munich.

Above all, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP stands out for its excellent experience handling the defence against takeover attempts. The group also advised Standard Industries on the successful $1.2bn takeover offer to Braas Monier. Carsten Berrar, one of the partners involved in this transaction, previously led advice on the largest acquisition of a US company by a foreign buyer and the largest M&A transaction of a German company: rendering advice to Bayer on the final merger agreement with Monsanto with a total value of $66bn; the six partner-strong Frankfurt team made international headlines acting on this transaction. Managing partner Wolfgang Feuring and York Schnorbus are also key figures.

Hans Schoneweg leads Allen & Overy LLP’s group, which advises with ‘utmost resilience’, ‘incredible dedication’ and ‘24/7 availability’. ‘Excellent negotiator’ Nicolaus Ascherfeld is ‘very pragmatic’ and led advice to DEME on the acquisition, construction and financing of the €1.6bn Merkur offshore wind farm. Advent International and its portfolio company, Allnex, retained the group for the planned €812m acquisition of chemical company Nuplex Industries. In 2016, the group saw two losses with the departure of Michael Bernhardt to Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP and Michael Ulmer to Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. The year 2017 started with the addition in the Frankfurt office of Michiel Huizinga, who came from King & Wood Mallesons. In Düsseldorf, where Hans Diekmann and Jan Schröder are considered excellent consultants, Murad Daghles made partner. In Frankfurt, Hartmut Krause and the ‘extremely pleasant’ Matthias Horn are recommended.

With ‘business sense and a pragmatic approach’, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP acts for numerous large companies, mainly from Germany and the US, on international large-cap transactions. Often, inbound deals are led by partners in the US office, who count on the German team for support; for example, this was the case when assisting Cardinal Health with the $6.1bn cash acquisition of three businesses from Medtronic. The German group also advised Air Products & Chemicals on the $3.8bn sale of its specialty additive business to Evonic Industries. A highlight was assisting Lanxess with the $2.4bn acquisition of Chemtura. The main contact is Frankfurt-based Matthias Horbach since Lutz Zimmer left the firm in August 2017.

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