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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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Switzerland > Commercial, corporate and M&A > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Commercial, corporate and M&A
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial, corporate and M&A clients in Switzerland using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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With a long-standing track record in public and private M&A and private equity transactions, as well as a sizeable corporate and regulatory team advising in all parts of Switzerland, Bär & Karrer Ltd. is one of the best known local practices. Banking M&A specialist Ralph Malacrida led advice to BZ Bank on the acquisition of United Grinding Group, while Christoph Neeracher assisted Porterhouse with its purchase of clinic group Paracelsus. Mariel Hoch and Thomas Reutter assisted Clearstream International with buying all shares in Swisscanto Funds Centre. Rolf Watter is another name to note.

Homburger is renowned for providing 'very knowledgeable and accessible' specialist teams, ensuring that 'the right people work on the right tasks'. The practice includes M&A and capital market transactions, as well as restructuring matters, compliance issues and internal investigations, as well as dispute resolution. In a major highlight, Dieter Gericke handled ChemChina's $43bn acquisition of Syngenta. Daniel Daeniker assisted Fairfax Financial Holdings with its $4.9bn merger with Allied World Assurance. Daniel Hasler acted for MTH Retail Group during its purchase of OWiba Group. M&A partner Frank Gerhard is another name to note, while clients also recommended the 'well-connected' Daniel Oser and Claude Lambert.

Lenz & Staehelin's 'highly recommended, hands-on' team stands out for its 'very thorough levels of preparation' and 'impeccable integrity', 'combining exceptional lawyers with tremendous collegiality and client service'. Focus areas include private and public M&A, corporate governance, and private equity transactions. In a recent highlight, 'world-class M&A lawyer'¬†Hans-Jakob Diem¬†assisted Saudi Basic Industries with its upcoming 24.99% share capital acquisition in Clariant. Rudolf Tsch√§ni¬†is another key practitioner, while clients further recommend 'extraordinarily smart'¬†Tino Gaberth√ľel;¬†'committed'¬†Beat K√ľhni, who has 'an encyclopaedic knowledge'; 'clear, proactive and quick'¬†Stephan Erni;¬†as well as 'efficient and flexible' Geneva-based¬†Guy Vermeil.

With 'good communication and appropriate leadership',¬†Niederer Kraft Frey AG¬†provides¬†'excellent support' and 'focuses 100 per cent on the client's needs'. Best known for public takeovers, private equity and other M&A transactions, a major highlight of 2018 was¬†Philipp Haas' advice to Broadcom on its $18.9bn acquisition of CA Technologies. The 'commercially minded and extremely responsive' Patrik Peyer¬†and 'reliable' senior associate Moritz Maurer¬†assisted Sportradar with its ‚ā¨2.1bn sale to Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, while 'pragmatic' Manuel Werder¬†acted for Paragon Partners on its acquisition of Asia Robotics. Other key practitioners include public M&A partner Philippe Weber, as well as Andreas Casutt¬†and¬†Ulysses von Salis. Transaction expert¬†Till Spillmann¬†joined from¬†B√§r & Karrer Ltd.¬†at the beginning of 2018.

The 'very knowledgeable, business-minded and pragmatic' team at Baker McKenzie is a popular choice due to its 'responsive and hands-on approach'. With a particular focus on cross-border transactions, the practice mostly handles public takeovers and private equity deals. The 'very dedicated and highly flexible' co-lead Alexander Fischer, who 'combines excellent technical knowledge with a pragmatic and patient approach', acted for Gerresheimer on its acquisition of Sensile Medical, while Martin Furrer assisted Mövenpick and Kingdom Holding with the sale of the global business division Mövenpick Hotels to Accor Hotels. Private equity specialist Martin Frey and finance partners Beat Barthold and Jingjin Guo are other names to note.

The practice at 'business-oriented, efficient and pragmatic firm'¬†Kellerhals Carrard¬†'cares about client objectives and offers great service and know-how in all areas'. It is especially known for mid-cap M&A transactions, corporate governance and fintech matters. 'Highly intelligent and entrepreneurial' managing partner¬†Beat Brechb√ľhl¬†advised the families In√§bit and Haag on the sale of its 70 per cent stake in Haag Streit Group to Metall Zug, while Edgar Philippin¬†acted for Accor on its acquisition of M√∂venpick's hotel business. Clients also recommend 'practical and precise thinker'¬†Ines P√∂schel.

Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd (MLL) 'is excellent in terms of experience, quality and client correspondence', with 'significant resources and a complete range of services available at short notice'. Areas of expertise include share and asset purchases, mergers, public tender offers, private equity and corporate governance matters. Practice head Dr Alexander Vogel acted for SAP on the de-merger and subsequent acquisition of Coresystems FSM. 'Highly deal-oriented' Andrea Sieber, who 'is able to deliver excellent results under pressure', advised Meyer Burger Switzerland on the sale of its energy systems division to solar industry specialist Patrick Hofer-Noser. TUI Suisse and Robert Bosch are among its other key clients. Mona Stephenson joined the Geneva office from Lenz & Staehelin in 2018.

Pestalozzi's team handles the full range of services in commercial, corporate and M&A, from governance aspects, liability issues and contracts to corporate compliance, reorganisations and transactions. New client American International Group instructed¬†Christoph Lang¬†and¬†Beat Schwarz¬†with the negotiation of an agreement to acquire Validus Holdings for $5.56bn, while Severin Roelli¬†advised on the purchase of Raiffeisen Privatbank Liechtenstein by Mason Group.¬†Christian Leuenberger¬†and¬†Martin M√ľller¬†are other key partners in Zurich, and¬†S√©bastien Roy¬†heads the Geneva practice.

'Top law firm' Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd provides 'straight-to-the-point, tailored advice on both the French- and German-speaking Swiss markets' and consists of 'very proactive and business-friendly corporate experts'. M&A, private equity and venture capital transactions are the core areas of expertise. 'Outstanding negotiator' Oliver Triebold was instructed by Schroder & Co Bank to structure the takeover of its Eastern European private banking unit by Compangnie Bancaire Helvétique. 'Extensively experienced in cross-border transactions', Geneva team lead Jean Jacques Ah Choon assisted Eiffage Construction with its acquisition of Priora, while 'solution-oriented' Tarek Houdrouge advised Hugo Fund Services on entering into a joint venture with Acolin Fund Services. Other names to note are Zurich M&A head Lorenzo Olgiati, transactional partner Martin Weber and 'smart and highly effective negotiator' Pascal Hubli.

VISCHER¬†has 'a strong position in the Basel market' and¬†'can assist very well in corporate transactions', with a particular focus on mid-market M&A and private equity deals, as well as Chinese inbound and outbound transactions.¬†J√ľrg Luginb√ľhl¬†and the 'very responsive' Robert Bernet¬†'align teams according to the size of the transaction' and provide 'pragmatic solutions while maintaining reasonable hourly rates'. Recent highlights include handling Dutch client Lundbeck's ‚ā¨905m acquisition of the entire share capital in Prexton Therapeutics, as well as advising¬†GreatStar Hangzhou Industrial¬†on the purchase of Lista. Life sciences and IT specialist¬†Matthias Staehelin¬†is the another key contact.

With approximately 50 M&A professionals, sizeable firm Walder Wyss Ltd is renowned for its 'deep commercial understanding, excellent regulatory relationships, as well as its extremely practical and business-oriented advice'. Major highlights include Urs Schenker's assistance to the Burkard family with the CHF3.22bn sale of all shares in Schenker-Winkler Holding to Saint-Gobain, as well as Markus Pfenninger advice to 40 North Latitude Master Fund on its acquisition of a significant stake in Clariant . Practice head Urs Gnos, Alexander Nikitine  and banking M&A specialist Patrick W Vogel, who 'demonstrates outstanding commitment, sound judgement and a deep legal understanding', are other names to note.

Wenger & Vieli LTD's 'down-to-earth, fast-thinking and interdisciplinary' team 'gives clear and efficient advice' while applying 'an honest and transparent' approach to business. With strength in the energy and manufacturing industries, it focuses specifically on private equity and venture capital, as well as mid-market M&A transactions. Zug-based Beat Speck assisted an international consortium of investors with the CHF700m structured sale of a Swiss utility out of a hydro power-plants portfolio, and also advised the company behind the Trans Adriatic Pipeline project on a CHF400m EU fundraising. Pascal Honold is another key partner in the team.

The 'fully dedicated, hands-on' practice at BianchiSchwald LLC 'combines excellent legal skills with a sound commercial sense' and 'always delivers on time'. Specialisms include private M&A transactions for Swiss SMEs, infrastructure joint venture projects, as well as public procurement matters in manufacturing and healthcare. 'Very good negotiator' Thomas Schmid, who 'has in-depth understanding of Swiss corporate law and an entrepreneurial mind', is advising a private equity firm on a potential investment in a group within the food industry. Marc Metzger, Hans-Peter Schwald and Manuel Bianchi della Porta are other names to note.

Bratschi Ltd fields 'a well-established, efficient team' that provides 'expert knowledge, a comprehensive service and sensible advice at reasonable costs'. The range of expertise includes mid-market M&A and international transactions for key clients in the financial sector, among others. Christian Stambach, who 'stands out as an extremely committed and service-minded legal expert', assisted Arbonia with the sale of Forster Profile Systems and related subsidiaries to Belgian Reynaers Group. St. Galler Kartonalbank and Raiffeisen Switzerland are other key clients. Thomas Peter heads the practice.

'Well-integrated law firm'¬†CMS¬†has 'a one-stop-shop attitude and uses straight-forward communication' while maintaining 'excellent legal quality and response times'. The team is best known for advising on cross-border transactions, frequently at mid-market level and in relation to private equity funds, while also focusing on directors' liability issues, W&I insurance matters and legal assistance to start-ups. 'Deeply knowledgeable'¬†Stefan Brunnschweiler¬†advised CCC Group on the ‚ā¨10m acquisition of a 70 per cent stake in fashion company Karl V√∂gele, while Pascal Favre¬†advised France-based Michelin on the purchase of a minority interest in A.T.U. Auto-Teile-Unger.

Eversheds Sutherland AG provides 'global access to subject matter experts and a personalised, 360 degree support' to its clients, with a major focus on cross-border transactions and multi-jurisdictional project management. A major highlight was Oliver Beldi's Swiss legal assistance to Eaton Corporation with the European-wide group restructuring and cash repatriation of Project Frontier, while Marc Nufer is advising Monsanto on the ongoing, Swiss-coordinated reorganisation of one of its European businesses. M&A specialist Urs Reinwald and 'professional, customer-oriented' partner Daniel Bachmann are also key attorneys.

'A reliable international partner',¬†Froriep's 'pleasant team'¬†serves as 'a one-stop shop' due to its 'flexible approach' and 'technical capability'. Private M&A and corporate transactions, especially up to mid-market value, are a particular focus of the department, alongside investment rounds for start-ups and the real estate sector.¬†Catrina Luchsinger¬†advised Palmarium Group and its Dutch subsidiary Vieo on the bond-issue acquisition of all shares in Lebara Group, while the 'responsive and trustworthy' Mattias Johnson¬†assisted Envican with its corporate reorganisation, its first financing round and entering into a strategic partnership. Clients further recommend 'organised and knowledgeable'¬†Dmitry Pentsov, who specialises in corporate transactions involving Russian companies, commercial partner¬†J√©r√īme de Montmollin¬†, who provides 'clear' advice',¬†and 'very good' B-corporations expert¬†Julie Wynne.

Due to its 'pragmatic and hands-on approach', id est avocats sàrl is perceived as 'a go-to firm for start-ups in the French-speaking part of Switzerland'. The team retains its technology focus through transactions, investment and financing rounds, as well as its fintech expertise. The 'excellent' Michel Jaccard advised Abionic on a CHF20m Series C financing round in order to develop a medical diagnostics platform. Cross-border M&A and financing partner Juliette Ancelle is another key practitioner, while Mehmet Toral, who made partner in January 2019, 'impresses with his tremendous commercial awareness'.

Loyens & Loeff covers transactions, including M&A, equity capital markets, private equity, corporate finance and public takeovers, as well as general corporate advice, restructurings and reorganisations. Marco Toni advised Bacardi on the $5.1bn acquisition of the full ownership of Patrón Spirits International, and also handled the client's joint venture with Ron Santa Teresa. Shanghai Pharmaceuticals, Trinseo and American transport company Specialized are also key clients.

The four-partner practice at Python handles corporate advice, reorganisation and transaction matters for domestic and international clients in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Marc Iynedjian, Christophe de Kalbermatten, Thomas Steinmann and Benjamin Humm are the key contacts.

Thouvenin Rechtsanw√§lte's national and international M&A clients mostly come from the manufacturing, healthcare and technology industries. Other areas of expertise include corporate advice, commercial leasing and distribution issues, as well as structuring financial investments. Microsoft, EOS Group, Hexagon and Leica Geosystems are among its clients. The team comprises of cross-border specialist¬†Arlette Pfister,¬†Markus Alder, who focuses on¬†mid-sized M&A transactions,¬†corporate and insurance specialist¬†Martin B√ľrkle¬†and commercial lawyer¬†Michael B√∂sch.

FBT Attorneys-at-Law is active in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, with key areas including international M&A transactions and commercial contracts advice. The team further assists with mergers, as well as investment, lease and distribution agreements. Marco Villa has experience in real estate and banking-related deals.

The 'efficient and excellent' team at¬†GHR Rechtsanw√§lte¬†is renowned for 'focusing on what matters in a deal'. The practice, led by the 'very experienced and pragmatic'¬†Marc Gr√ľninger¬†and¬†Bruno Hunziker, covers the full spectrum of corporate and transaction-related matters, including private and public M&A, divestments, takeovers, joint ventures and private equity, as well as corporate governance, compliance and shareholder relation issues. A recent highlight was Cemex's issuance of ‚ā¨650m-worth of senior secured notes, with a number of international banks acting as joint bookrunners. Other work includes assisting Unic Group with an acquisition.

With a highly international outlook, HFW attracts corporate finance and M&A work in the infrastructure, energy, logistics and transport sectors. Practice head George Racine's team frequently assists many African and Middle Eastern clients, such as the Republic of Senegal's Agence de Promotion des Investissements et Grands Travaux, which receives advice on the corporate aspects of the Dakar-Diamnadio-AIBD express regional train project. In another highlight, the team is drafting numerous agreements for a $300m private-public-partnership project for the Kuwait Authority for Partnership Projects .

Jacquemoud Stanislas provides a broad range of services from its Geneva office, including corporate restructuring, financing rounds, corporate governance matters, private M&A transactions and contract drafting. Philippe Jacquemoud is the key partner.

Clients consider Jeantet's strengths to be its 'competence and availability', which help the 'committed and tenacious' team to 'find innovative solutions for multi-jurisdictional issues'. The firm is active in cross-border transactions, restructurings and financing rounds relating to companies and financial institutions within the European French-speaking markets. Patrice Lefèvre-Péaron is the main contact.

Mangeat Attorneys at Law LLC¬†is recommended for having 'in-depth knowledge of commercial and corporate matters, combined with a thorough understanding of business implications and technological development'. M&A, corporate governance matters, reorganisations, compliance, commercial contracts and shareholder agreements form the bulk of its workload, while the banking, real estate and healthcare industries are sector strengths. The 'thorough and innovative'¬†Fabien Aepli¬†heads the practice, which also includes¬†Jo√ęl Chevallaz¬†and senior associate¬†Nurith Cohen.

Active in both the French- and German-speaking parts of Switzerland, boutique firm Oberson Abels Ltd provides corporate advice, handles contract negotiations and transactions for clients in regulated industries such as banking, energy and technology. Corporate and finance expert Sébastien Bettschart leads the team together with M&A specialist Stefan Eberhard.

Prager Dreifuss AG¬†is recommended for providing 'commercially minded, professional advice' and for having 'shrewd business acumen'. M&A, public takeovers, corporate finance, private equity and restructurings form the key areas of expertise. Co-lead¬†Andreas Moll's assistance is 'top-notch'. Fellow co-head¬†Daniel Hayek, the transactions-focused¬†Matthias B√ľrge¬†and corporate lawyer¬†Urs Bertschinger¬†are also prominent team members.

Staiger Attorneys at Law Ltd handles M&A, restructuring and corporate governance matters, private equity and venture capital transactions, as well as compliance and contractual issues. Andreas von Erlach, whose firm Haymann von Erlach merged with Staiger Attorneys in January 2018, heads the team, which also includes Gaudenz Geiger, Désirée Wiesendanger, of counsel Daniel Sauter and senior associate Yasemin Varel.

Wenger Plattner's 'efficient and diligent team works together seamlessly' and 'provides flawless legal work together with a commercial and transaction-driven approach'. Apart from a general focus on M&A transactions, the team also handles contract drafting and negotiations. The 'business-oriented, innovative and knowledgeable'¬†Oliver K√ľnzler¬†and senior associate¬†Eva Schott¬†advised Eneco Group on the acquisition and subsequent post-merger implementation of Ampard. Another highlight was assisting Trom with the sale of Alvier PM-Technology to H√∂gan√§s.

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  • B√§r & Karrer awarded by Mergermarket as "Switzerland M&A Legal Adviser of the Year 2018"

    At this year's Mergermarket European Awards Ceremony on 6 December 2018 in London, Bär & Karrer has been awarded as the "Switzerland M&A Legal Adviser of the Year 2018".
  • B√§r & Karrer Advises the Sellers of Astes4 SA

    The owners of Astes4 SA, a company based in Balerna, Switzerland, which is engaged in development, production and sales of patented automated sorting solutions for sheet metal laser processing machines, sold their interests in the company to Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. Mitsubishi Electric is active in the manufacture, marketing and sales of electrical and electronic equipment used in information processing and communications, space development and satellite communications, consumer electronics, industrial technology, energy, transportation and building equipment. By acquiring Astes4, Mitsubishi Electric will further strengthen its lineup of automation systems together with sorting solutions for sheet metal laser processing machines to provide its valued customers with integrated solutions that require less manual loading, unloading and sorting to realize higher productivity and efficiency.
  • B√§r & Karrer Advises Constellium on the Sale of Rolling Business Assets in Sierre, Switzerland, to

    On 23 July 2018, Constellium Valais SA, a company of the Constellium group engaged in the aluminium plate and extrusions businesses for industry, aerospace and transportation applications, successfully completed the sale of its aluminium rolling business assets in Sierre, Switzerland, to Novelis Switzerland SA for EUR 200 million. The assets, consisting of real estate, machinery and equipment, were previously leased by Constellium Valais to Novelis Switzerland and both parties will continue to operate in Sierre following the transaction. Concurrently with the asset sale, Constellium Valais contributed the Sierre site's shared infrastructure to a newly established 50-50 joint venture with Novelis Switzerland.
  • B√§r & Karrer Advises Bank Cler in Connection with the Public Tender Offer by Cantonal Bank of Basel

    On 20 June 2018, the Cantonal Bank of Basel, which already holds 77.52% of the share capital and the voting rights of Bank Cler Ltd., published the preannouncement for a public tender offer for all publicly held bearer shares of Bank Cler, which is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. Subsequently, Bank Cler concluded a transaction agreement with the Cantonal Bank of Basel regarding the public tender offer. The Cantonal Bank of Basel offers CHF 52 per share of Bank Cler. Taking into consideration the results of the Fairness Opinion of an independent Expert, the board of directors of Bank Cler recommends to its shareholders to accept the offer.
  • B√§r & Karrer Successful in Appeal Proceedings before the Federal Administrative Court Against the F

    On 11 May 2016, the French tax authorities requested administrative assistance from the Swiss Federal Tax Administration. The request was made based on lists containing several thousand UBS Switzerland AG account numbers which are or were held by persons presumed to be French residents for tax purposes. The French tax authorities were asking for Switzerland to provide names and dates of birth of the persons connected to the accounts as well as the account balances. UBS Switzerland AG (which the Federal Administrative Court ("FAC") had granted party status in its judgment A-4974/2016 of 25 October 2016) and private individuals directly affected lodged appeals with the FAC against the Federal Tax Administration’s final decisions, which were issued on 9 February 2018.
  • B√§r & Karrer Advises BZ Bank on Purchase of United Grinding Group

    BZ Bank Aktiengesellschaft, through its acquisition company LEMRO AG, purchased the United Grinding Group from Körber Beteiligungen GmbH. The United Grinding Group is one of the world's leading suppliers of precision grinding machines.
  • B√§r & Karrer advised PSP Swiss Property on Sale of a Commercial Property

    PSP Swiss Property sold a commercial property in Petit-Lancy, Geneva. The property at the Av. des Morgines 8/10 (approx. 14'000 m2 of rentable space) was sold for CHF 55 million to an affiliate company of Epic Suisse AG.
  • B√§r & Karrer Advises Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs in a Combined Offering on the Placement of Sha

    Idorsia Ltd successfully placed 11,912,000 new shares by way of an accelerated bookbuilding in a private placement with institutional investors. The placed shares are sourced from the company's existing authorized share capital and the pre-emptive rights of the existing shareholders have been excluded. The offer price was set at CHF 25.62 per share. Additionally, Idorsia successfully placed CHF 200 million of senior unsecured convertible bonds due 2024 in a private placement with institutional investors.
  • B√§r & Karrer Advises Vontobel on the Placement of CHF 450 Million Tier 1 Bonds to fund the acquisit

    Vontobel Holding AG successfully completed the placement of CHF 450 million perpetual additional tier 1 subordinated bonds. The additional tier 1 subordinated bonds were issued at 100% of their nominal amount with an interest of 2.625% until 2023. The proceeds of this capital market transaction will be mainly used to finance the acquisition of Notenstein La Roche Private Bank.
  • B√§r & Karrer Advised Swiss Re in the Offering of USD 500 Million Senior Exchangeable Notes with Iss

    Swiss Re Ltd (Swiss Re) has completed an offering of USD 500 million, 6-year senior exchangeable notes, which may be stock settled at the option of Swiss Re or may be exchanged at the option of noteholders for registered shares of Swiss Re, unless Swiss Re elects to settle the exchange of notes in cash. Swiss Re has purchased call options on its own shares, which allow it to settle an exchange by noteholders without issuing new shares.