Legal market overview
With the notable exception of activity in media and telecoms, Sweden’s transactional market remained otherwise rather static with few signs that it would return to pre-financial crisis levels. No Swedish IPOs were completed successfully in 2013, with work on the equity side mainly consisting of potential and aborted public offerings, and completed private placements. Reflecting the relative lack of new instructions, banking and finance matters included a significant proportion of restructurings for distressed or struggling companies, and insolvency and dispute resolution departments were kept busy with the fallout from massive bankruptcies such as those of Saab and HQ.
One area of activity was the divestment of media operations to overseas investors and private equity houses. In the large-cap space, Mannheimer Swartling advised Tele2 on the $3.5bn sale of its Russian arm to VTB Capital, which was represented by White & Case Advokat AB. Among several other deals in the relatively buoyant media sector, Hannes Snellman Advokatbyrå AB advised Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1 Media on the divestment of part of its Nordic operations to Discovery Communications; and Advokatfirman Delphi acted for Carlyle Group during its acquisition of Broadcast Text International.
The legal market rankings continue to be dominated by long-established market leaders Mannheimer Swartling and Advokatfirman Vinge, closely followed in the corporate, M&A and finance fields by Finnish firms Roschier and Hannes Snellman Advokatbyrå AB. Several domestic IP and IT boutiques are targeting the full-service firms’ market shares, with dispute resolution specialist Frank Advokatbyrå singled out as being a major new force – a view borne out by the firm’s high-profile recruitment of noted arbitrator Christer Danielsson from sole practice.
The main international players are Linklaters LLP, which remains active in the big-ticket space despite the loss of several partners in recent years; White & Case Advokat AB, which is particularly noteworthy for construction disputes and private equity; IP expert Bird & Bird; and Ashurst, which is performing robustly in the EU and competition and M&A spaces.
Claes Lundblad and Claes Zettermarck, senior statesmen in Swedish dispute resolution, joined together to form a boutique to focus on sitting as arbitrators having left their respective firms, Roschier and White & Case Advokat AB. In another major move, Håkan Borgenhäll was recruited to head Advokatfirman Vinge’s IP practice, having previously led the group at Advokatfirman Lindahl KB.
All lawyers named in the editorial are based in Stockholm, unless otherwise stated.