Corporate and M&A in Argentina
‘Top-tier practice’ Bruchou, Fernández Madero & Lombardi is a ‘market leader in M&A transactions’. The firm, which counts major domestic and multinational corporations among its key clients, has a broad sector focus, which spans energy, commodities, retail and TMT. However, it is best known for its strength in transactions that combine both corporate and finance expertise. In a recent example, the ‘knowledgeable’ Estanislao Olmos acted alongside the banking and finance practice to advise Cargill on its $79.5m acquisition of a majority stake in Glucovil Argentina - the deal also involved a $12m loan. On the oil and gas front, transactional energy specialist Javier Rodríguez Galli teamed up with Exequiel Buenaventura and the banking group to assist Vista Oil & Gas with its $800m acquisition of an oil operating platform controlled by Pampa Energía and Pluspetrol. Mariano Luchetti, who leads the department, also has an impressive track record in energy and natural resources deals; he acted for Scatec Solar and Equinor on their acquisition of the Guañizuil II-A solar project from Martifer Renewables. The group further benefits from the senior experience of firm founder Enrique Bruchou and M&A and corporate governance specialist Pablo Falabella. Among its impressive band of associates, rising star Pilar Marcó is highlighted as ‘great to work with’.
‘Among the best in LatAm’, Marval O’Farrell Mairal’s corporate team secures rave reviews for its ‘clear, solution-oriented advice’, ‘unswerving focus on delivering results’ and ‘unmatched knowledge of the legal and economic implications of transactions’. The firm’s deep bench is a recurring theme and clients say ‘almost all corporate partners have a high level of proven expertise, which is rare in Argentina’. Among the names to note, Pablo Viñals Blake is ‘one of the finest corporate lawyers in Argentina’; he paired up with Diego Chighizola (‘a future market leader’) to advise Pampa Agribusiness Fund on Pampa Capital Management’s sale of crop sprayer manufacturer PLA to John Deere. Diego Krischcautzky provides ‘practical and business-oriented advice’ and acted with Hernán Slemenson and Fernando Hernández to advise Argentine biotech group Bioceres on a $456m share exchange agreement with private equity-owned Union Acquisition Corporation. Corporate head Pablo Artagaveytia is an ‘excellent communicator’ with a strong record in Brazil-related deals; he recently acted hand-in-hand with the banking practice to assist Banco do Brasil with its $202m acquisition of an additional stake in Banco Patagonia. Other key names include high-profile figure Héctor Mairal (‘the best "all-practice" lawyer in Argentina’), firm chairman Santiago Carregal, sector specialist Pablo Garcia Morillo , ‘knowledgeable and analytical’ up-and-coming partner Bárbara Ramperti; and María Macarena García Mirri, who made partner in August 2019.
A prominent member of the chasing pack, Beccar Varela is widely acclaimed for its ‘strong and well-deserved progress in the M&A sphere’. The ‘results-driven team’ excels across the full range of corporate, M&A and compliance matters, with clients highlighting its ability to seamlessly bring together ‘an integrated team of capable lawyers with different backgrounds and expertise’. Roberto Crouzel, noted for his ‘deep knowledge, expertise and dedication’, co-leads the group and he recently acted alongside ‘creative problem-solver’ María Shakespear to advise Prisma Medios de Pago, and the sellers, on Advent International’s $725m acquisition of a 51% stake in the client company. Shakespear also paired up with compliance specialist Maximiliano D’Auro (‘a great professional’) to advise Route One Investment Company on is participation in a mining project in Argentina, which involved many complex elements. Roberto Fortunati co-leads the practice and acted alongside real estate specialist Pedro Nicholson to assist Goldman Sachs with its acquisition, together with Equity International, of the real estate business of the Pegasus fund. Other partners to note are Alejandro Poletto (‘outstanding commercial sense’) and of counsel María Benson (‘very committed’), while senior associates Carolina Serra (‘remarkably practical’) and María Eugenia Radaelli are also recommended.
‘Responsive, sophisticated and strategic’, Mitrani Caballero & Ruiz Moreno Abogados combines ‘deep knowledge of legal matters with strong business understanding’. Lawyers are valued for being ‘calm under pressure’, with key figure Cristian Mitrani highlighted as ‘probably the top corporate lawyer in the country’. Mitrani co-leads a group that is best known for its expertise in cross-border transactions, particularly for trophy clients Tenaris and Ternium. Diego Parise co-heads the department and assisted Raízen Combustíveis with its $916m acquisition of Shell’s downstream business in Argentina. Cristian Krüger is ‘extremely business savvy’ and advised Union Acquisition Corporation on its $456m share exchange with Bioceres. Sources also laud Julio Martínez as a ‘great professional with outstanding knowledge’; he advised Mitsui & Co on its acquisition of a 34% interest in a wind project from Total Eren. The firm has significantly invested in its corporate offering over the past two years and in 2018 Siro Astolfi and Aixa Sureda joined from Aerolíneas Argentinas and Bruchou, Fernández Madero & Lombardi respectively — together, they are highlighted for their ‘great experience, track record and seniority’. Since publication the team has been further strengthened with the election of corporate practitioner and anti-corruption specialist María Paula Díaz to the partnership, effective January 2020.
Pérez Alati, Grondona, Benites & Arntsen
‘Strong performer’ Pérez Alati, Grondona, Benites & Arntsen is respected for its ‘strong tradition and track record in the corporate and M&A arena’. The group, which is particularly active in the energy, agribusiness and technology spheres, handles a significant volume of M&A, private equity, restructuring and joint venture transactions, with notable supplementary expertise in tax, antitrust, environmental and regulatory law. On the energy front, corporate finance specialist Diego Serrano Redonnet acted for San Antonio Oil & Gas Services on the $105m sale of San Antonio International Oil & Gas Services and Armadillo Drilling. The firm also secured a steady stream of real estate deals, which included Mariano Grondona advising Equity International and Goldman Sachs on the acquisition of both the Tortugas Open Mall and the Urbana Centro Empresarial complex of buildings, worth around $300m. Elsewhere, Santiago Daireaux, who co-leads the department, advised Lucens Capital on its $11.5m acquisition of Diransa San Luis. Founding partner Jorge Pérez Alati and corporate specialist Pedro Eugenio Aramburu co-lead the department alongside Daireaux. In 2018, associates Pedro Menéndez San Martín and Tomás Pérez Alati were both promoted to counsellor.
Salaverri, Burgio & Wetzler Malbran
‘Compact but highly effective’, Salaverri, Burgio & Wetzler Malbran houses ‘one of the best M&A teams in Latin America’, according to satisfied clients. The group, which packs a punch in M&A, private equity and capital markets, is roundly praised for its ‘strong corporate knowledge’, ‘great drive to produce high-quality work’ and ‘hands-on service’. Practice lead Diego Salaverri is a respected figure in the market and recently, together with Martín Fernández Dussaut, advised key client Pampa Energía on the sale of $398m-worth of oil assets. In another headline deal on behalf of Pampa, Tomás Arnaude (‘a truly top-notch and brilliant lawyer’) acted alongside Germán Wetzler Malbrán to advise the Argentine energy giant on the $125m sale of Petrobras Argentina’s downstream business to Trafigura. Elena Sozzani, who advises Turner Internacional Argentina and Transener on general corporate matters, is also recommended. Other representative clients include Sophia Capital, Grupo Albanesi and Grupo Newsan.
‘A respected name for corporate law’, Allende & Brea strikes the right note with its ‘solid technical knowledge’, ‘committed partners’ and ‘fast turnaround times’. The group, which sources highlight as increasingly active in the market, enjoys a strong reputation for agribusiness-related transactions — it has also recently acted for clients in the TMT, energy and pharmaceutical industries. Department co-head Valeriano Guevara Lynch is a ‘very skilled specialist’; he recently advised Sapphire Systems on its acquisition of assets from Argentis Consulting. Santiago Sturla, who co-heads the practice, advised Ferrero International on the local aspects of its $2.8bn acquisition of Nestlé’s US confectionery business. Raúl Fratantoni, who leads the agribusiness unit, is also a name to note.
Baker McKenzie’s ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ corporate and M&A group is composed of ‘intelligent, personable and friendly lawyers’. The practice, led jointly by Gustavo Boruchowicz and ‘great team leader’ Roberto Grané, handles a comprehensive spread of matters, with private equity standing out as a notable strong suit. Among its other key attributes, the firm’s extensive global network positions it as a popular choice for cross-border transactions. In a recent example of both of the group’s sweet spots, it advised Advent International on its acquisition of a 51% stake in Prisma Medios de Pago — corporate finance partners Gabriel Gomez Giglio and Francisco Fernández Rostello teamed up with compliance specialist Vanina Caniza to lead that work. In another multi-jurisdictional highlight, Boruchowicz acted with Mercedes Masjuan to advise Spectrum Brands on the Argentine aspects of the $2bn sale of its batteries business to Energizer.
‘A truly engaged business partner’, Bomchil scores highly for its ‘timely responses’, ‘tailor-made service’ and ‘strong business acumen’. The group acts for a diverse portfolio of domestic and multinational clients, with the wider firm’s regulatory prowess delivering a significant volume of transactions relating to the energy, health, TMT and food and beverage sectors. Highlights included advising Miramar Power on the acquisition of the shares and machinery of the subsidiary of the Energyst Group in Argentina — ‘keen strategist’ Adrián Furman led that work. Other representative clients are AMC Networks Latin America, Nestlé and Televisión Federal. Marcelo Bombau, who also spearheads the media and entertainment practice, and managing partner Javier Petrantonio, who has ‘outstanding negotiation skills’, jointly lead the department.
Errecondo, González & Funes
Among Errecondo, González & Funes’ recent highlights, the firm advised energy company Genneia on the acquisition of three energy companies from 360 Energy. It also advised Telecom Argentina on its merger with cable TV provider Cablevisión, which notably created Argentina’s largest listed company. The team, which benefits from the senior experience of heavyweight corporate finance specialist Javier Errecondo, also brings to bear an impressive record in private equity deals and capital markets transactions. Saturnino Funes is another name to note.
Martínez de Hoz & Rueda’s ‘knowledgeable and responsive’ practice is distinguished by its ‘unique partner-led service’. The firm excels in energy and natural resources deals, with founding partner José Martínez de Hoz commended as a ‘nationally recognised expert in energy matters’. Martínez de Hoz co-heads the M&A department alongside the ‘highly commercial, proactive and detail-oriented’ Fernando Zoppi; together, they advised Trafigura on the acquisition of Pampa Energía’s downstream business. In a highlight outside of the energy sphere, Zoppi assisted Sun Dreams with its acquisition of Nuevo Plaza Hotel Mendoza, owner of the Park Hyatt Hotel and Regency Casino in the city of Mendoza. The group has also recently undertaken work for ExxonMobil, Gramercy Funds Management and Pan American Energy.
In the ultimate accolade, clients of Estudio O'Farrell assert it is ‘comprised of deal-makers, rather than deal-breakers’. The group, which is particularly prominent in the energy, agribusiness and automotive sectors, scores highly among clients for its ‘commercial approach to legal issues’. YPF is a key client and the firm continues to advise the Argentine energy giant on acquisitions, joint ventures and capital markets transactions, among other matters. Other highlights included advising Monsanto Argentina on the exercise of certain rights to participate in securities issued by Bioceres. ‘Specialist professional’ Uriel O’Farrell leads a department that also includes Ernesto Genco. Former department co-head Ricardo Castañeda left to join YPF.
Brons & Salas
Corporate stalwart Brons & Salas climbs a tier on the back of a busy year, which saw the firm act for an enviably diverse roster of local and multinational clients, including GroupM, General Mills and Grupo Peñaflor. Among the team’s recent matters, Mariano del Olmo advised Opus Inspection on the $14m acquisition of two local companies that render vehicular inspection services. Guillermo Malm Green co-leads the department alongside del Olmo.
A solid performer in the mid-market, Bulló Abogados specialises in advising its stellar roster of financial services clients on M&A and general corporate matters — it also has an increasingly broad footprint in the energy sector. Highlights included advising the Association of Argentine Insurance Companies (AACS) on the establishment of a non-profit entity to promote scientific research in insurance medicine. Gustavo Torassa and Esteban Gramblicka co-head a team that also acts for HSBC, Liberty Mutual and Mapfre.
Estudio Garrido Abogados
Estudio Garrido Abogados’ group, which is led by managing partner Gustavo Garrido, brings to bear broad industry experience, with recent strong showings in the energy, private equity and technology spheres. In 2018, the firm advised InvertirOnline on its $38.5m acquisition by Grupo Supervielle. L Catterton-backed apparel company Rapsodia also turned to the firm for assistance with its acquisition of Peru’s Babycottons.
Hope, Duggan & Silva
Hope, Duggan & Silva’s comprehensive corporate practice routinely advises on M&A, joint ventures, shareholders’ agreements and compliance matters, with the retail industry standing out as a significant source of instructions. Together, group co-heads Juan Duggan and Rufino Arce advised Géant Argentina and Libertad, both subsidiaries of retail giant Almacenes Éxito, on the sale of Ceibotel.
‘A strong player in the mid-market’, Nicholson y Cano Abogados leverages its solid oil and gas practice to shine in energy-related deals. For example, Nicolás Perkins advised Qatar Petroleum International on the local aspects of its acquisition of a minority stake in several concessions in the Vaca Muerta formation from ExxonMobil’s local subsidiaries. María Fraguas is also a key contact.
Salaberren & Lopez Sanson (SyLS)
Sophisticated boutique Salaberren & Lopez Sanson (SyLS) garners a steady stream of instructions relating to the technology, food, energy and agribusiness areas. Among its recent transactions, general corporate head Juan Campos Alvarez advised Jaguar Ventures on the structuring of a venture capital fund to invest in start-ups. Rafael Salaberren, who leads the M&A team, is also a name to note.
Zang, Bergel & Viñes Abogados continues to diversify its ever-broadening corporate practice; while real estate deals remain a mainstay, the team secured several high-profile mandates relating to the food, energy and TMT sectors over the past year. The M&A group, which is valued for its ‘great communication skills and strong cross-border experience’, is led by ‘top-notch specialist’ Pablo Vergara del Carril. He paired up with Juan Quintana to advise Radio Victoria on its $30m joint venture with China’s TCL. Karina Kucyk, who leads the compliance practice, is also recommended.
Alfaro-Abogados is best known for its solid experience in private equity and cross-border transactions, with its capability in the latter supported by offices in New York and Beijing. Highlights included advising Apax Partners on the local aspects of its acquisition of AEB Group. Carlos Alfaro and Sebastián Rodrigo are key contacts.
Beretta Godoy is best known for its ‘strong focus on energy and natural resources’; the group also counts companies from the infrastructure, technology and telecoms sectors among its clients. Managing partner Federico Godoy teamed up with Juan Sonoda and Armando Fabián Ricci to advise Yamana Gold on the sale of the Gualcamayo gold mine in Argentina to Mineros.
Córdova Francos Abogados acted on an impressive run of cross-border deals over the past year. In a highlight example, M&A head Sebastián Córdova Moyano advised ICAP Group on the local leg of the global sale of its hybrid voice-broking business to Tullett Prebon. Private equity lead Guillermo Francos is also a key contact.
At Cerolini & Ferrari Abogados, Agustín Cerolini heads a diverse practice that has recently been active for clients within the agribusiness, finance and technology areas. Highlights included advising C5 Capital on the negotiation of a lease for a milk production farm. Notably, in August 2019 the firm announced the opening of a tax practice with the incorporation of former Bruchou, Fernández Madero & Lombardi partner, Javier Malamud, a step that will undoubtedly strengthen the firm's broader corporate offering. Other representative clients include Catapult International, Corpag Group and QuanticMind.
Severgnini, Robiola, Grinberg & Tombeur
Corporate finance specialist Severgnini, Robiola, Grinberg & Tombeur shines in energy, financial services and infrastructure-related deals. In a headline piece of banking M&A, Matias Grinberg and Francisco Lagger acted for the selling shareholders in Banco do Brasil’s $202.3m acquisition of an additional stake in Banco Patagonia.
Corporate finance specialist Tavarone, Rovelli, Salim & Miani handled a string of corporate restructurings and M&A transactions during 2018. A case in point saw Juan Pablo Bove advise Grupo Sancor Seguros on the acquisition of a 70% stake in Banco del Sol. The team, which has also recently undertaken work for Alicorp Argentina, Medanito and Village Cinemas, was notably boosted in October 2019 with the hire of Pablo Tarantino and Agustín Griffi - both formerly in house at well-known Argentine corporate Grupo Werthein.
Put simply, Wiener Soto Caparrós is ‘truly focused on being an extension of the client’s internal legal team’. The ‘personable, practical and extremely responsive’ group advises on the full spread of incorporation, M&A and operational matters for clients such as Coca-Cola Andina Argentina, BAN Music Worldwide and Park Place Technologies. Recommended names include the ‘business-minded’ Laurence Wiener and the ‘very responsive and professional’ Mariela del Carmen Caparros.
Estudio Ymaz Abogados
Estudio Ymaz Abogados has a strong record in construction and infrastructure-related matters, with clients commending its ‘deep knowledge and hands-on experience in the public works area’. The ‘responsive and dedicated’ Pilar Ymaz Videla heads the group and recently advised Bombardier Transportation on establishing its subsidiary in Argentina.