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Legal market overview
Geneva and Zurich are the key legal centres of Switzerland, with Basel, Berne, Lugano and Lausanne also featuring prominently. Zurich, the country’s largest city and its financial centre, is home to the majority of leading banking and capital markets lawyers. Geneva, in the French-speaking west, is the location of choice for many international organisations for arbitration and litigation.
Switzerland’s banking and private client markets were rocked in August 2013 by a joint statement issued by the Swiss Federal Department of Finance and the US Department of Justice regarding a programme to encourage Swiss banks to co-operate in DoJ’s ongoing investigation into the use of foreign bank accounts for tax evasion.
Language barriers between the German-speaking east of the country, the Francophone west and the Italian-speaking area in the south shape the legal landscape, and mean that most of the national law firms have several offices across the different regions.
Geneva-based firm Lalive opened an office in Zurich and hired two well-known partners from Walder Wyss Ltd, while the latter firm opened a new office in Lugano. Both firms are part of a well-established group of national players which includes Baker & McKenzie, Bär & Karrer AG, Homburger, Lenz & Staehelin, Niederer Kraft & Frey AG and Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd. CMS now has an office in Geneva as well as Zurich following its merger in January 2014 with ZPG Avocats.
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TTIP, the free trade agreement that is currently being negotiated between the United States and the European Union, if successfully concluded by both parties will create the single most important common market in the world where more than one third of the world economic output is already being produced in these two sovereign blocks. A possible establishment of such a significant common market with its specific emphasis on legal compliance across the Atlantic between these two jurisdictions, will inevitably have wider legal and economic consequences for several different business sectors. The issue has already been on the agenda for the American Defense industry which has been keeping a keen eye on the latest developments in the TTIP negotiations.
Background of the Reform
On March 3, 2013, the Swiss people voted in a nationwide ballot in favor of the so called “rip-off” initiative by the businessman-turned-politician Thomas Minder...
Dividing an estate can be - depending on its complexity and on the behavior of the heirs - quite complicated. Swiss Law gives a possibility to heirs and/or executors to call upon the State authorities to assist them in liquidating the deceased person's estate.
Foreign insolvency administrators facing the task of recovering assets located in Switzerland typically find themselves in an uncomfortable legal situation since:
Much importance is attached to the collaboration between the different communities in the Canton of Zurich. There is hardly any community today which, because of the number and complexity of their obligations, does not need to find it necessary to collaborate.
Inheritance contracts are only one possibility among many other matters to be kept in mind when trying to regulate one's own estate. Estate planning is, however, much more than just drawing up a will or setting up a trust or an inheritance contract. Estate planning has to be understood as an overall plan to regulate matters, while keeping in mind the possibility of retirement and the certainty of death with all appropriate consideration to the different areas of law. Following a decision recently published by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, this article tries to summarize the most important issues regarding inheritance contracts under Swiss law in an international environment.
The Swiss Federal Patent Court has recently issued a decision of relevance regarding provisional measures relating to patents. It specifies that, at least in the field of intellectual property – not only patents –, a preliminary injunction may not be obtained in order to ascertain rights on intellectual property.
Am 1. Januar 2013 treten die neuen Verjährungsfristen für die Gewährleistung im Kauf und werkvertragsrecht in Kraft.
Am 1.1.2013 wird das Börsenrecht verschärft. Die Kontrollprämie bei öffentlichen Übernahmen wird abgeschafft, das Insiderrecht wird ausgedehnt und die FINMA erhält mehr Kompetenzen. ...
Walgreen Co., the largest drug store chain in the United States, has completed the acquisition of the remaining 55% equity ownership in Alliance Boots GmbH, the Swiss parent company of a leading international pharmacy-led health and beauty group. Walgreens had acquired 45% in Alliance Boots GmbH in 2012 with the option to proceed to a full combination by acquiring the remaining 55%.
We are pleased to announce that we elected Daniel Leu as partner as of 1 January 2015. Daniel Leu, a Certified Inheritance Law Specialist, advises private clients on corporate and estate planning, on the handling of estates, in connection with foundations and trusts and on questions in connection with the place of residence. Other areas of work include advising clients who buy or sell real estate in Switzerland and art law.
On 5 January 2015, Swissgrid acquired further parts of the Swiss transmission grid, including the transmission grid company of the city of Zurich.
In the cash public tender offer by KUKA Aktiengesellschaft, Augsburg, Germany, for the publicly held shares of Swisslog Holding AG, listed on SIX Swiss Exchange and headquartered in Buchs/Aarau, Switzerland, a total of 230'678'047 Swisslog shares were tendered into the offer, corresponding to 91.80% of all shares issued by Swisslog as of 29 September 2014. KUKA consummated the offer on 15 December 2014.
On 18 December 2014, Funds advised by Apax Partners announced that they have agreed to sell Orange Communications SA to NJJ Capital, Xavier Niel's private holding company, for a total transaction value of CHF 2.8 billion (EUR 2.3 billion). The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approval and expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2015.
Bär & Karrer was elected Switzerland M&A Legal Adviser of the Year at yesterday's annual Mergermarket M&A Awards. Based on a comprehensive analysis of Mergermarket's league tables, the judging panel chose Bär & Karrer from among seven shortlisted Swiss and international law firms that were particularly active in the Swiss M&A market in 2014.
Onex Corporation has agreed to acquire SIG Combibloc Group AG for up to EUR 3.75 billion (USD 4.66 billion). EUR 3.575 billion (USD 4.44 billion) will be paid at the closing of the transaction, with an additional amount of up to EUR 175 million (USD 217 million) payable based on the financial performance of SIG in 2015 and 2016. The transaction is anticipated to close in the first quarter of 2015, subject to customary conditions and regulatory approvals.
Following the opening of our offices in Lugano in 2013, Walder Wyss has further expanded its operations with the opening of new offices in Basel. We warmly welcome our new team which consists of 12 experienced legal professionals and 9 staff members.
Under pressure from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), states known for their investors-friendly tax systems (so called ‘tax havens') for some years have been concluding tax information exchange agreements enabling, in some circumstances, access to information of substantial significance for tax basis, assessment and collection. Poland for instance concluded such agreements with Andorra, Belize, Bahamas, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guernsey, Cayman Islands, Liberia, San Marino and Isle of Man.
The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO has decided to terminate its extensive investigation proceedings conducted against a Swiss entity with major global operations for an alleged circumvention of sanctions without taking any action. In a case with an extremely complex and intertwined factual set up taking place in several different countries, the Swiss entity, represented by NKF, succeeded in demonstrating to the authorities that the alleged misconduct lacked any basis and that, in particular, most of the alleged activity was not even comprised by the sanctions, which the SECO had initially deemed circumvented.