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The Swiss legal market has a rather decentralised structure, mirroring Switzerland itself. Zurich, the country’s largest city and location of the principal stock exchange, is home to the majority of leading banking and capital markets lawyers. It is located in Switzerland’s German-speaking region, in which Basel and the capital Bern are also significant legal centres. Geneva, the country’s second largest city, with its many private banks and international organisations, is home to many leading banking and international arbitration lawyers. It is located in the French-speaking West, where Lausanne is another important legal centre. Also noteworthy is Lugano, the third most important financial centre in Switzerland and legal centre of the Italian-speaking region in the Southeast.
Among the seven law firms that achieve the most top tier rankings in Switzerland, only Bär & Karrer AG is well established in all three language regions. Baker & McKenzie, Lenz & Staehelin, and Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd have offices in the German and the French-speaking parts, while Homburger and Niederer Kraft & Frey AG are based in Zurich only. Walder Wyss Ltd, which has several offices in the German speaking region, opened a Lugano office in 2013 and entered the French-speaking region in 2016, with the opening of new offices in Geneva and Lausanne and lateral hires from Froriep.
The Swiss legal market, which is usually notable for its stability, has also seen some other movement recently: Kellerhals, with offices in Basel, Bern and Zurich, merged with Carrard, with presences in Lausanne and Sion, to form Kellerhals Carrard and cover the German and the French-speaking regions. Python & Peter experienced several departures, some of which went to Pestalozzi, strengthening the latter’s presence in Geneva. International law firms Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP and White & Case LLP opened new arbitration practices in Geneva in 2015.
Firms in the spotlight
Bär & Karrer AG
Bär & Karrer is a leading Swiss law firm with more than 150 lawyers in Zurich, Geneva, Lugano and Zug. Our core business is advising our clients on innovative and complex transactions and representing them in litigation, arbitration and regulatory proceedings. Our clients range from multinational corporations to private individuals in Switzerland and around the world.
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Transports publics fribourgeois Trafic (TPF TRAFIC) SA closed the financing of its maintenance and exploitation centre in the canton of Fribourg. The financing was partly made through a CHF 40 mio. private placement, a CHF 32 mio. secured bank loan and a CHF 55 mio. unsecured bank loan.
The Migros Group, through Mérat & Cie. SA, has acquired Tipesca SA, a company incorporated in the canton of Tessin. Tipesca offers a wide range of fish products.
Japan-based Sharp Corporation, part of Taiwan’s Foxconn Group, enters into a strategic business alliance with Skytec Group Limited (“Skytec”) regarding the manufacture and sale of Sharp branded products and services in Europe. For that purpose, Sharp acquires a majority stake of 56.7% in the newly incorporated joint venture Skytec UMC Ltd.
Zug Estates Holding AG (SIX: ZUGN) has successfully issued its first CHF 100 mio. fixed-interest bond with a 0.7% coupon and a 5-year maturity.
Bischofszell Nahrungsmittel AG, a company of the Migros Group, has acquired a majority interest in Sushi Mania SA, a company incorporated in the canton of Fribourg. Sushi Mania specialises in Japanese cuisine and Asian gastronomy.
Baloîse (SIX: BALN) is to acquire a majority stake in publicly listed real-estate company Pax Anlage AG (SIX: PAXN). By entering into agreements with majority shareholders Pax Holding (Genossenschaft), Pax, Schweizerische Lebensversicherungs-Gesellschaft AG and Nürnberger Lebensversicherung AG, Baloîse Life Ltd will acquire around 70 per cent of the share capital and voting rights. Today, Baloîse published the pre-announcement of a public takeover offer for the remaining approx. 30 per cent of shares in free float at a price of CHF 1,600 per share (subject to dilution effects). The aggregate transaction value amounts to approx. CHF 288 mio. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.
Intershop has acquired the World Trade Center Lausanne as per 1 December 2016 for a purchase price of CHF 105.5 million. The acquisition represents one of the largest real estate M&A transactions in Switzerland during 2016.
Mercury Systems, a NASDAQ listed leading commercial provider of secure processing subsystems, acquires the Swiss mission computing company Creative Electronic Systems (CES).
Swiss insurtech startup FinanceFox has successfully completed its Series A financing round with Target Global and Horizons Ventures as lead investors. The financing round also included the conversion of existing venture loan investments from, amongst others, Salesforce Ventures. Idinvest, Speedinvest and AngelList.
The independent private investment company Ardian has won the bidding for the Germany based lighting maker SLV. Ardian entered into an agreement with Cinven to acquire SLV. The completion of the transaction is subject to approval of the applicable anti-trust authorities.
Earlier this month Mergermarket published its review on the 2016's most prolific individual DACH legal advisors. We are pleased to be ranked with Christoph Neeracher and Luca Jagmetti on the top of the table on rank one and two. Both are associated for 2016 with 11 completed deals and a total value of EUR 3 bn. The Mergermarket Profiler App lists Christoph Neeracher in total with 54 deals and Luca Jagmetti with 35 transactions.
Bär & Karrer Advises Valora on the Acquisition of Pretzel Baron
Bär & Karrer Advises Priora on Acquisition of Large Minority Stake in Galenica
Bär & Karrer Advises Sanofi on Exchange Transaction with Boehringer Ingelheim
Bär & Karrer Advises Pax Anlage on the Public Takeover Offer of Baloise
Bär & Karrer Advises Alpine Select on Public Share Buy-back.
AF Group ASA, listed at the Oslo Stock Exchange (OSE-AFG), a leading international civil engineering and construction group headquartered in Oslo, has acquired the renowned Swiss engineering and construction planning company Edy Toscano AG with 370 employees. Together with AF Consult Switzerland AG, AF Group will be among the three largest Swiss engineering and construction planning companies with a combined turnover in Switzerland exceeding CHF 100 million.
We are pleased to announce that our employees Ayesha Curmally, Michael Isler, Robert von Rosen and Stefan Knobloch, who have been with us for many years, have now been appointed as partners in our chancellery, effective from 1st January 2017.
We are pleased to announce that a new partner, Roger Staub, as well as new consultants, Thiemo Sturny and David Vasella, will be joining our chancellery as of 1st January 2017.
Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (Fairfax) (TSX:FFH) (TSX:FFH.U) and Allied World Assurance Company Holdings, AG (Allied World) (NYSE:AWH) have entered into a merger agreement (the Agreement), pursuant to which Fairfax will acquire all of the outstanding registered ordinary shares of Allied World. Under the terms of the Agreement, Allied World shareholders would receive a combination of Fairfax subordinate voting shares and cash equal to USD 54.00 per Allied World Share, for a total equity value of approximately USD 4.9bn.