The Legal 500

Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Work +1 212 558 4000
Fax +1 212 558 3588

Werner F. Ahlers

Work +1 212 558 1623
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP


Werner Federico Ahlers is a partner in the Firm’s Mergers & Acquisitions, Capital Markets, Finance and Restructuring and Project Development and Finance Groups. His practice includes a wide range of cross-border mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures, as well as various corporate, project and asset-backed financings. He has particular experience advising strategic and financial investors in investments in countries across Latin America in the energy, natural resources and infrastructure sectors, as well as in highly regulated industries, including telecommunications, healthcare and financial services. For further information on his practice, please visit S&C's website:

Latin America: International firms

Corporate and M&A

Within: Corporate and M&A

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s record in big-ticket Latin America M&A is virtually unrivalled. Despite operating a relatively small Latin America team, it maintains a high market share of high-value and complex transactions. Team members operate more as generalists than many peers at other international law firms and are noted for their experience in handling political, cultural and regulatory considerations; it has gained a reputation for trans-continental deals including M&A involving Chinese acquirers. The team is ‘top of the market’, ‘the service is consistently extremely good’ and is backed up by ‘sharp legal skills’, ‘great business acumen’, ‘spectacular negotiation skills’ and partners who ‘ensure that deadlines and in-depth assessment of the transaction are observed’. Peers at leading Brazilian and Latin American firms indicate that the team’s ‘level of service and commitment’ is above the average of other ‘premium firms’ and that the practice is ‘one of the top choices for US law M&A transactions, especially for large tickets and blue-chip clients’. Major engagements include advising UnitedHealth Group on its wholly-owned subsidiary’s definitive purchase agreement with Empresas Banmédica and tender offer for all of Banmédica’s outstanding shares, which valued the company’s equity at some $2.8bn. The team also continued to advise China’s State Grid International Development on its $4.53bn acquisition of a 95% interest in Brazil’s largest privately-owned electric energy generation and distribution group, CPFL Energia; as well as representing a consortium led by China Three Gorges Corporation on its proposed $1.39bn acquisition of Empresa de Generación Huallaga from Odebrecht Energia del Perú and Odebrecht Energía. On the private equity side, the team advised PointState Capital on the acquisition of Sheraton Buenos Aires Hotel and Convention Center, the Park Tower Hotel and adjacent development property located in Buenos Aires by its wholly owned subsidiary Argentum Investments III. Head of the Latin America practice Sergio Galvis is ‘a hands-on senior strategist’ who ‘reviews drafts carefully’ and is ‘a beacon in the Latin America practice’. Werner Ahlers is a ‘brilliant right hand’ to Galvis and ‘an extremely capable negotiator’ in his own right who impresses with this ‘intelligence and knowledge of M&A contracts’; Ahlers is noted for his record in private equity transactions for clients such as PointState Capital and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB). Christopher Mann is another senior name with outstanding experience in Latin America M&A.

[back to top]

Projects and energy

Within: Projects and energy

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is ‘a fixture in the mining and oil and gas scene’, primarily for sponsors. It is also noted for complex and big-ticket infrastructure projects. The firm has operated at the forefront of Latin America project finance for decades and is typically engaged in a relatively small number of top-strata transactions. It is ‘the best in the business’, with a team that is ‘strong and deep’ and ‘extremely good at giving business focused advice that addresses the key issues and focuses on problem solving’; one client says its ‘knowledge of Latin America mining is unparalleled’. The firm does indeed have a significant market share of mining projects in Latin America, especially on the sponsor side, and with the recovery of commodity prices, it is experiencing higher levels of activity in the sector. In addition, it has advised on a series of bulge-bracket acquisitions in the energy sector, including a number by Chinese investors. It continued to represent State Grid International Development on its acquisition of a 95% interest Brazil’s largest privately-owned electric energy generation and distribution group, CPFL Energia. It also advised Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) on a series of transactions, including its acquisition of a majority stake in Transportadora de Gas del Perú. Head of the Latin America practice Sergio Galvis is ‘the leading mining lawyer in Latin America by a long margin’, according to one client who says he is ‘smart, calm, insightful and a pleasure to work with’. Christopher Mann, who heads the firm’s global infrastructure practice, also impresses in infrastructure, power, energy, mining and natural resources. John Estes is noted for mining sector transactions and Werner Ahlers has worked on a series of M&A deals involving energy assets. All partners are based in New York.

[back to top]

United States: Industry focus

Energy transactions: oil and gas

Within: Energy transactions: oil and gas

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s New York office is regularly engaged on ‘board level’ international and domestic M&A and financings for midstream and downstream operators such as Tesoro and Transportadora de Gas. Recent work includes Joseph Frumkin and George Sampas advising Enbridge on its $43bn merger with Spectra Energy, and Inosi Nyatta and John Estes acting for Cheniere Energy on various billion-dollar bond offerings. Werner Ahlers and Christopher Mann were highly active for key client Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

[back to top]

Energy: renewable/alternative

Within: Energy: renewable/alternative

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is handling an increasing amount of renewables work from its New York office. Highlights included Inosi Nyatta advising JP Morgan on a virtual power purchase agreement and energy hedging arrangement in connection with the development of the Buckthorn Wind Project, and Sergio Galvis and Werner Ahlers acting for a consortium on its proposed approximately $1.4bn acquisition of Empresa de Generación Huallaga.

[back to top]

Back to index

Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to