Commercial, corporate and M&A in Austria
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Benefiting from its extensive global reach, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is frequently involved in the market's most significant transactions and most notably in those spanning various jurisdictions; Willibald Plesser and Iran country group head Farid Sigari-Majd are the main contacts for work in the CEE and CIS regions alongside Iran. In co-operation with the firm's Düsseldorf office, Thomas Zottl advised Vonovia on the conclusion of a business combination agreement with Conwert Immobilien Invest and its cross-border voluntary public exchange and cash takeover offer to acquire control in Conwert. Bertram Burtscher, who is a key contact for work in the telecoms sector, assisted Hutchison Drei Austria with the acquisition of Tele2 Austria, and Konrad Gröller advised LG Electronics and LG Corporation on the joint acquisition of the Austrian automotive supplier ZKW. Sebastian Lawson is the main contact for English corporate law.
Demonstrating 'great team spirit', Schoenherr (Schönherr Rechtsanwälte)'s 'very responsive, dynamic and pragmatic' practice is a regular fixture on many Austrian and cross-border headline deals. In recent work, Robert Bachner and the highly regarded Christian Herbst acted for Buwog as the target company in the voluntary public takeover bid for Vonovia, and Advent International received assistance with its acquisition of GE's distributed power business in Austria and Hungary, and UniCredit Group received advice on the establishment of two strategic partnerships with Allianz and Generali for the distribution of insurance products. Other key individuals include Alexander Popp, who is a specialist in TMT-sector transactions, 'reliable and committed' restructuring expert Sascha Hödl and private equity and venture capital expert Thomas Kulnigg.
The 'very responsive, highly professional and deal-driven' team at Binder Grösswang attracts praise for its strong M&A and corporate offering and is also well versed in handling restructurings and private client mandates. In the corporate sphere, Florian Khol and 'grand seigneur' Michael Kutschera acted as legal counsel for Lenzing on forming a joint venture with Duratex to build a dissolving wood pulp plant in Brazil and, in the transactional space, Thomas Schirmer advised Ardian on the sale of its shares in Esim Chemicals to Sun Capital Partners. The team, which includes Andreas Hable and Gottfried Gassner, also assisted the founding shareholders of the Greek company Argo SA with the sale of 100% of its shares to Alpla. Hermann Schneeweiss joined Eisenberger & Herzog in March 2018.
Handling the full spectrum of corporate and M&A work, bpv Hügel benefits from its strong tax practice, which it is able to call upon to advise on matters involving tax structuring and tax reorganisation issues. Christoph Nauer advised Immofinanz on the sale of its approximately 26% stake in CA Immobilien Anlagen to Starwood Capital, and Elke Maria Napokoj assisted International Airlines Group and Vueling Airlines with the intended takeover of Niki Luftfahrt; while the clients' bid was unsuccessful, it led to a follow-on mandate where the team assisted the client with the set-up of Austria-based new airline Level. Thomas Lettau, Florian Gibitz and Stefan Gaug are other key members of the team.
The 'responsive, professional and well-connected' team at Cerha Hempel has a strong profile for cross-border M&A, reorganisations and restructurings and has handled an increasing amount of corporate work for family offices. 'Quick, polite and creative' co-head Clemens Hasenauer advised General Electric on the sale of its distributed power business to Advent International, and assisted Fosun Industrial with the takeover of the textile group Wolford, and 'excellent negotiator' and 'very experienced, hardworking and extremely smart' co-head Albert Birkner, who 'always thinks two steps ahead, preventing potential problems', advised disposal and recycling company Saubermacher on setting up the joint venture Pink Robin with French company Veolia Environnement. Heinrich Foglar-Deinhardstein heads the Brazilian desk. Counsel Sarah Wared joined Wolf Theiss Rechtsanwalte GmbH & CoKG as a partner in September 2018, while Lorenz Pracht was promoted to the partnership in January 2019.
With a focus on cross-border transactions, Dorda Rechtsanwalte GmbH's 'very reliable' team is particularly active for corporates, investment banks and private equity clients and 'does not shy away from outside-the-box solutions'. Public M&A team head Andreas Mayr advised Chinese conglomerate HNA Group on the acquisition of a majority shareholding in C-Quadrat Investment, and 'very responsive and dedicated' private M&A practice head Martin Brodey and the 'hardworking and efficient' Christian Ritschka acted for Capvis on its acquisition of a majority stake in Amann Girrbach. Jürgen Kittel has a strong focus on M&A and private equity, Christoph Brogyányi is the key contact for corporate matters at the intersection with capital markets law, and Bernhard Rieder frequently advises on corporate restructurings and heads the corporate litigation group.
With transactional work at its core, Eisenberger & Herzog has particular expertise in the financial services, energy, telecoms, infrastructure and real estate sectors. The team acted as local counsel for a group of creditors of Steinhoff Holdings' subsidiary Hemisphere Properties on its sale of Kika-Leiner's property assets in Austria and several other CEE countries to Signa. Other work includes joint ventures and finance-related matters. Alric Ofenheimer and Peter Winkler jointly head the team, which includes Josef Schmidt, who returned to the firm's Vienna office in September 2017 from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, Hermann Schneeweiss, who joined from Binder Grösswang in March 2018, and Marco Steiner.
'Providing to-the-point advice', Wolf Theiss Rechtsanwalte GmbH & CoKG's team is 'very reliable', well equipped to guide clients through the entire corporate life cycle and and able to call upon colleagues in various other departments, such as tax and real estate. Together with the firm's real estate and restructuring groups, the team advised Hemisphere, a subsidiary of Steinhoff Europe, on insolvency and restructuring matters. In the transactional space, Hartwig Kienast and practice head Horst Ebhardt assisted T-Mobile with the acquisition of UPC Austria from Liberty Global. Sarah Wared joined from CHSH Cerha Hempel Spiegelfeld Hlawati in September 2018. The 'efficient' Christian Mikosch is 'easy to work with' and Dieter Spranz is also recommended. Eva Fischer left the team in January 2018 to work independently.
CMS' strength lies in providing assistance with M&A transactions, while also advising on the full corporate life cycle. Managing partner Peter Huber, who jointly heads the team with Rainer Wachter, advised Johnson & Johnson on the sale of a large business across various jurisdictions, and Clemens Grossmayer assisted TowerBrook Capital Partners with the acquisition of Schweighofer Fiber, and, together with the firm's Budapest office, Alexander Rakosi advised the Austrian packaging group Alpla on the acquisition of all shares in Greek company Argo. Johannes Trenkwalder is another key individual.
Fellner Wratzfeld & Partners is particularly adept at dealing with matters at the intersection of M&A, corporate, banking and real estate law leading to a steady flow of transactional and restructuring mandates. Markus Fellner assisted Steinhoff Europe with the sale of Kika-Leiner to Signa, including handling restructuring matters. In other noteworthy work, he and Florian Kranebitter advised Bawag P.S.K. and its subsidiary easybank on the acquisition of Six Payment Services (Austria)'s credit and prepaid card issuing business. Paul Luiki is also noted. Christian Thaler moved to Schindler Attorneys in August 2018.
At Baker McKenzie • Diwok Hermann Petsche Rechtsanwälte LLP & Co KG, the 'professional and well-prepared' team provides 'tailor-made' advice on corporate matters at the intersection with finance and capital markets law, including M&A and private equity transactions as well as investments, and also assists clients, including several financial services, TMT and life sciences sector players, with restructurings and litigation. The firm advised THQ Nordic on the acquisition of Koch Media Group. Gerhard Hermann heads the team, which also acts for Allegion and Österreichische Post.
Herbst Kinsky Rechtsanwalte GmbH
'Always available when needed', Herbst Kinsky Rechtsanwalte GmbH's team 'finds innovative and unconventional solutions to problems that could otherwise easily lead to a road block if not approached with a broader vision'. Its private equity and venture capital expertise leads to regular corporate and transactional mandates at the intersection with IP. In a recent example, Philipp Kinsky advised Hookipa Biotech on a series C financing round, and, in a separate matter, he assisted Del Fabro with its intended merger with Kolarik & Leeb. Together with 'pragmatic problem-solver' Wolfgang Schwackhöfer, he also acted for Miracor Austria on its cross-border merger with Miracor Medical. Other key individuals include Phillip Dubsky, Christoph Wildmoser and Christoph Herbst.
With offices in Vienna, Linz, Wels and Graz, Saxinger, Chalupsky & Partners (SCWP Schindhelm) has a strong regional presence and handles a wide range of transactional and corporate matters with a particular focus on the real estate sector. Immanuel Gerstner, who regularly acts at this intersection, advised Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing and CC Real Group on the sale of Nimos Immobilienprojekt, and in other work, Franz Mittendorfer advised the seller on the sale of Bernecker + Rainer Industrie-Elektronik to ABB Group, and Thomas Ruhm assisted Baumit Beteiligungen with its acquisition of w&p Baustoffe. Gerald Schmidsberger is another key member of the team, which includes Matthias Steyrer, who joined the team in April 2018 from an in-house role.
Brandl & Talos Rechtsanwälte GmbH's 'very diligent and thoughtful' team has substantial expertise in handling M&A transactions in the gaming sector but is also becoming increasingly active in the stationery and coatings space alongside biotech, real estate and financial services industries. 'Very experienced' main contacts Roman Rericha and Thomas Talos advised Ring International on the sale of its coatings business to Kansai Paint through a structured auction process. Other work includes assisting Apex Ventures with the establishment of a venture capital fund and other venture capital-related matters.
With a strong focus on transactional work, the 'dedicated' team at DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach is an attractive choice for corporates, family offices and private clients. Practice head Christoph Mager advised HBB-Haas Beratung und Beteiligungen on the sale of its global group headquartered in Austria to the Swiss company Bühler. Together with the firm's Shanghai office, he also assisted the Chinese conglomerate Wanfeng Auto Holding Group with the acquisition of Austrian aerospace manufacturer Diamond Aircraft Industries. Maria Doralt is another key individual.
With a focus on cross-border work, Pelzmann Gall Größ Rechtsanwälte GmbH covers reorganisations and restructurings alongside M&A transactions and joint ventures and has particular expertise in matters at the intersection with capital markets and banking law. Mario Gall advised Link Mobility Group on the acquisition of Simple SMS and Simple SMS Wholesale, and Helen Pelzmann acted for the Vale Group on the restructuring of its Austrian group structure involving several mergers.
PHH Rechtsanwälte received several instructions from refractory sector players to advise on various transactional and corporate matters but the team also acts for clients from other industries, including machine manufacturing, pharmaceutical, banking and real estate, and also assists start-ups and investors with venture capital matters. Co-head Rainer Kaspar acted for RHI Feuerfest on the sale of all shares in two production companies, and advised Swedish company Cidan Machinery Group on the acquisition of Austrian machine manufacturing company Forstner Maschinenbau. Co-head Hannes Havranek is another key contact.
Schindler Attorneys has substantial expertise in advising private equity clients on M&A transactions but is also experienced in providing family businesses and corporates with advice on reorganisations, general corporate structures and succession planning, as well as handling tax-related issues and litigation. 'Strong negotiator' Clemens Philipp Schindler assisted private equity fund OpCapita with the proposed takeover of the textile group Wolford, and, together with Martin Abram, he advised the United Energy Group on the acquisition of OMV's upstream, exploration and production business in Pakistan. Florian Cvak is another key member of the team, which was augmented by the arrival of Christian Thaler from Fellner Wratzfeld & Partners in August 2018.
Taylor Wessing Austria assists clients with the entire corporate life cycle including cross-border transactions, most notably in the CEE and SEE regions, reorganisations, joint ventures and buy-outs. Philip Hoflehner advised Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers and its subsidiary Mascus International on the acquisition of its online business from foreign licensees, and Raimund Cancola and Claudia Steegmüller advised Eternit Österreich on its group reorganisation. Iman Torabia was appointed counsel in January 2018.
Frequently acting as local counsel, DSC Doralt Seist Csoklich Rechtsanwälte GmbH 'provides timely and accurate solutions', assisting clients with various transactions, restructurings, mergers and capital markets-related matters. Acting as local counsel, the 'knowledgeable' Christoph Leitgeb advised HSBC on internal restructuring matters, and assisted iTouch with the cross-border merger of its Austrian subsidiary. Christoph Diregger jointly heads the team with Leitgeb and has specialist expertise in takeover law.
At Graf & Pitkowitz, 'solutions are delivered quickly and to the point'. The practice works in close co-operation with its insolvency and restructuring team, leading to particular expertise at this intersection. In recent work, the team advised insolvent airline Niki Luftfahrt on various corporate issues pertaining to its insolvency proceedings. In other work, Ferdinand Graf assisted longstanding client kraftwerk Agentur für neue Kommunikation with a management buy-in, and the 'experienced' Andreas Edlinger advised Lukoil International on a capital increase.
Graf Patsch Taucher Rechtsanwälte
Much of Graf Patsch Taucher Rechtsanwälte's work pertains to M&A and private equity transactions but the team is also well versed in handling corporate restructuring mandates as recently demonstrated by its advice to Head Group on various restructuring issues, including the negotiation of contribution, merger and asset purchase agreements; Bernd Taucher, who jointly heads heads the team with Wolfgang Graf, led the advice. Other work includes assisting start-ups with financing rounds and advising corporate clients on finance transactions and investment-related matters.
Assisting clients with various transactions, including distressed ones, is a central pillar of Grama Schwaighofer Vondrak Rechtsanwälte's practice, which is led by Bernd Grama. Grama recently advised F/List on the acquisition of insolvent OHS Aviation Services. On the corporate side, the team is well versed in dealing with restructurings, joint ventures and matters at the intersection with tax law. Other key individuals include Mirza Benca, Georg Zacherl, who made partner in 2017, and Michael Pramberger, who joined the team in 2017, having previously worked independently.
The 'highly responsive' practice at Jank Weiler Operenyi has widened its scope by adding Gabriele Etzl from Wolf Theiss Rechtsanwalte GmbH & CoKG and counsel Johannes Lutterotti from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer; both joined the team in November 2017. Etzl has a specialism in real estate transactions and Lutterotti handles a wide range of transactional and corporate work. The latter's expertise reflects the team's broad offering, which includes public and private M&A transactions, corporate restructurings and litigation. Alexander Operenyi, who jointly heads the team with the 'very knowledgeable' Maximilian Weiler, is advising the airline operator Air Berlin on the sale of all its indirectly held shares in Niki Luftfahrt to Etihad Investment Holding Company, and assisted Schneider Electric with the acquisition of nxtControl.
KWR Karasek Wietrzyk Rechtsanwälte GmbH
KWR Karasek Wietrzyk Rechtsanwälte GmbH handles the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious corporate and M&A work for national and international clients. Gerold Wietrzyk and Thomas Haberer advised private foundation Wunderer on the sale of its 100% stake in Egston Holding to the American Pulse Electronics Group, and acted as local counsel for the Saudi Arabian Amiantit Company on setting up the joint venture Amiblu with Austrian company Wietersdorfer Group. Jörg Zehetner is another name to note.
Torggler Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Torggler Rechtsanwälte GmbH covers a broad spectrum of corporate and M&A work, including restructurings and contentious matters. On the non-contentious side, Kathrin Weber advised TÜV Austria on the acquisition of a majority stake in an Austrian company specialised in water analysis, and assisted Schlumberger with the restructuring of the group. On the contentious side, the team acted for Team One International in a dispute with an Austrian company over the termination of a franchise agreement. Reinhard Kautz is another key individual in the team.