Firms To Watch: Private equity

Boutique firm Ace Law is a regular advisor to private equity funds on their Belgian fundraisings and investments, leveraging its team's corporate, M&A, and capital markets expertise. Key names for private equity work include Didier Roemers, Filip Meire, and Bert Van Camp.
Cambrian acts for start-ups, investors and corporates and is establishing itself as a key name for venture capital.
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Private equity in Belgium

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP advises many of the top names in the private equity market, including major domestic and international PE houses, and has strong capabilities in cross-border work, notably in key markets such as Germany and the US. The firm also advises management teams, target companies, and banks, and handles related regulatory, tax, and employment issues arising from investments. Of particular note during 2021 is the firm’s work in the SPAC field, handling two major deals. Wouter Van De Voorde leads the team, and works with many of the firm’s blue-chip PE clients, while Dirk Meeus and Pierre-Olivier Mahieu are also active dealmakers. Frederiek Adams has played a key role in the firm’s major Belgian SPAC deals, while Hans Kets specialises in corporate disposals to private equity.

Practice head(s):

Wouter Van de Voorde

Other key lawyers:

Dirk Meeus; Pierre-Olivier Mahieu; Frederiek Adams; Hans Kets; Diewertje Castelein; Juno Hautekiet; Bert Verhoeven

Testimonials

‘Juno Hautekiet is an excellent senior associate. She knows how a private equity transaction is done.’

‘Extremely strong presence in the Belgian market across the different fields of law. Leading experts across the board. As they see so many deals, they have the latest expertise in-house about state of the market and innovations.’

‘Frederiek Adams is a young, dynamic, smart, commercial and pleasant lawyer able to run transactions in a remarkably efficient manner.’

‘Fun team to work with that is highly active in Belgian private equity industry with deep local network and hence very much aware of the needs, issues and attention points for private equity clients. Competent in serving due diligence projects, SPA and shareholder agreement negotiations and good fiscal practice.’

‘Frederiek Adams is a result oriented and pragmatic lawyer that thinks and acts fast and focuses on what matters for PE clients.’

‘Juno Hautekiet- very promising lawyer, dedicated to clients and cases and constructive in negotiations.’

‘Hands on, competent, flexible team over viewing all aspects of the process and calling in the appropriate competent people to help the client and assure an efficient process.’

‘Stand out lawyers include Dirk Meeus, Juno Hautekiet and Bert Verhoeven.’

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL‘s broad private equity offering encompasses fund formation and structuring, venture capital investments, and buyouts, alongside management advice and tax structuring. The team acts for a number of major buyout funds, VC investors, and fund managers, both institutional and start-up. The practice is led by Roel Meers, with Luc Meeus a regular adviser on fund structuring and buyouts, as well as working with the Belgian government on private equity regulations. Koen Vanhaerents is also highly active in transactions, including buyouts and take-privates, while Davinia Martens has played a key role in several cross-border deals. Senior associate Kristoff Cox has a strong focus on fund formation, with counsel Kim Stas also a key player in the team.

Practice head(s):

Roel Meers

Other key lawyers:

Luc Meeus; Koen Vanhaerents; Davinia Martens; Kristoff Cox; Kim Stas

Testimonials

‘Highly regarded team with strong expertise in advising private equity clients in (global) due diligence processes and negotiating SPAs or shareholder agreements.’

‘Dominique Maes: smart, commercially-minded to-the-point and pragmatic with right gravitas.’

‘Davinia Martens: very efficient, highly dedicated young partner with a lot of expertise and willingness to get to a deal without losing time on drafting/language details.’

‘Strong, dedicated and results-delivering team which is very pleasant to work with.’

‘Dominique Maes is one of the best corporate lawyers in the country, combining a commercial spirit, very hard work and deep legal knowledge. Davinia Martens is also a very dedicated, precise, trustworthy and efficient professional.’

‘Broad experience in fund structuring; unique combination in tax, regulatory and corporate skills.’

‘Outstanding content knowledge – simply rock solid and thorough.’

‘Ability to deliver bespoke solution that meets needs, all while leveraging extensive experience. Quality of the advice and recommendations.’

‘Negotiating with Luc Meeus on our side is a pleasure. His creativity and dedication to reach our deal objectives is unmatched.’

Key clients

TA Associates

Core Equity

Ergon Capital

Korys Investments

CVC Capital

M80 Capital

Federal Holding and Investment Company (FPIM-SFPI)

The Faktory

Kebek III

Re-Vive

OMX Venture Europe

Newton BioCapital

Walloon Region Investment Company (SRIW)

Fortino Capital

De Cronos Groep

KBC Securities

Work highlights

  • Advised management on the exit of the Desotec group by EQT to Blackstone and the reinvestment by management.
  • Advised Vicinity Affordable Housing Fund on its establishment and launch.
  • Advised Ergon Capital Partners on its buy-out of Summa from Gimv.

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance advises a combination of local and international private equity sponsors on transactions, fund structuring, tax issues, and employment considerations relating to their investments and buyouts. The firm has developed its presence in deals within the tech sector, alongside infrastructure, and also has a long-standing strength in the energy sector. Practice head Niek De Pauw advises sponsors and portfolio companies on acquisitions, exits, and joint ventures, including in the telecoms infrastructure space, while Xavier Remy is noted for his work on energy sector PE investments. Alexandre Ooms focuses on tax structuring for private equity clients, while senior associate Patrice Viaene advises a number of private equity houses and venture capital investors on transactions and financings, and also has a strong record in energy transactions.

Practice head(s):

Niek De Pauw

Other key lawyers:

Xavier Remy; Alexandre Ooms; Patrice Viaene

Testimonials

‘Niek De Pauw- commercial spirit, no-nonsense, effective oversight, team player.’

‘Arthur Barbé- very trustworthy and reactive. The kind of person you want to see accompanying the partner on a file.’

They think along with the client.

Key clients

Consortium APG /QIC/Swiss Life/PMV

APG

EQT

Waterland

Triton

Deliverect

Marnix Luxembourg Holding SARL

CVC

Straco

Verlinvest

KKR

Ardian

Antin

Work highlights

  • Advised EQT Infrastructure on its joint venture agreement with Proximus for the roll-out of a fiber network for at least 1.5 million households and businesses in the Flemish Region of Belgium.
  • Advised Verlinvest on the sale of its majority shareholding of Valtech SE.
  • Advising various portfolio companies of Merieux Equity Partners.

Linklaters

Linklaters offers integrated transactional, financing, tax and regulatory capabilities to its private equity clients, advising across the PE life cycle on fund structuring and formation, investments, portfolio management, and exits. Alongside a number of major international funds, the team also advises corporate targets and banks, and has expertise in investments into regulated sectors such as energy, telecoms, and consumer goods. The practice is led by Arnaud Coibion, who takes the lead on cross-border acquisitions for major international funds, with Charles-Antoine Leunen playing a key role in financing and private equity-backed M&A. An-Sofie Van Hootegem was promoted to partner in May 2021, and advises sponsors and investors on the full range of life cycle matters, notably management equity plans.

Practice head(s):

Arnaud Coibion

Other key lawyers:

Charles-Antoine Leunen; An-Sofie Van Hootegem; Evita Bassot

Testimonials

‘The PE group of Linklaters is a very diverse team. They engaged closely with us and were transparent with weekly updates. We felt there was a real team spirit.’

‘An-Sofie Van Hootegem was very hands on, had a very good knowledge of the file; she provided us with a holistic view of the issues identified during the due diligence and advised us with a commercial mindset how to translate this in the transactions documentation.’

‘Evita Bassot had a good commercial mindset and provided us with an excellent summary of the issues she identified.’

‘Charles-Antoine Leunen has a customer specific approach, he knows his client very well thanks to his great level of engagement and the long term relationship he built with us over the years’

‘The team is very focused on the client’s needs and goals, is empathic and keen to deliver the expected service and result.’

‘An-Sofie Van Hootegem: she always keeps thinking with a cool head and is reliable.’

Key clients

Hg

Cobepa

BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity

GBL

Orkila

Waterland

Gimv

Sofina

Verlinvest

BlackRock

Ardian

CDPQ

Alychlo

Work highlights

  • Advised Hg on its secondary investment in Silverfin NV, a Belgian-based cloud platform for accountants and tax advisers.
  • Advised Sofina Capital on its investment together with two other financial sponsors in Salto Systems, a leading manufacturer of electronic access solutions.
  • Advised BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity Belgium on its investment in the Konings group.

Loyens & Loeff

Loyens & Loeff strengthened its private equity offering with the arrival of Thomas Lenné from Fieldfisher in early 2021, bringing with him a portfolio of major European private equity clients and a particular focus on the energy sector. Lenné jointly heads the team with Robrecht Coppens, who is active across the tech space, with a wide range of domestic and international private equity and venture capital clients. The firm advises on buyouts and exits, portfolio company deals, and early-stage investments, also working with portfolio companies.

Key clients

Pamplona Capital Management

Kersia SAS

Broadpeak Global LP

Madison Dearborn Partners LLC

Intermediate Capital Group (ICG) plc

Bain Capital Private Equity (Europe) LLP

Platinum Equity Advisors, LLC

Intermediate Capital Group SAS

H.I.G. European Capital Partners

Work highlights

  • Advised Pamplona Capital Management on the acquisition of Signature Food from IK Investment Partners.
  • Advised Bain Capital Private Equity on the public to private acquisition of Ahlstrom-Munkjsö Oyjby a consortium consisting of Ahlström Capital, funds managed or advised by Bain Capital as well as Viknum and Belgrano Inversiones.
  • Advised Platinum Equity Advisors, LLC on the acquisition of Solenis UK International Limited and its subsidiaries from CD&R Seahawk Holdings, L.P., BASF Nederland BV and certain management members.

Stibbe

Stibbe advises prolifically on private equity and venture capital investments, with a client base including domestic and international players. The team has a strong record in domestic and Benelux-wide deals, and also assists with Belgian aspects of cross-border transactions, particularly those with US elements. Other areas of expertise include fund formation and structuring mandates and financing. Practice head Stefan Odeurs is an experienced dealmaker with a consistent flow of buyout and exit mandates, while Dries Hommez is noted for his financing and cross-border transactional expertise.

Practice head(s):

Stefan Odeurs

Other key lawyers:

Dries Hommez

Testimonials

‘I have experienced Stibbe as a trusted advisor who really works in a team towards the best solution.’

‘They use their network to bring the right experts on board and make sure that they are all aligned in a file. It’s also great to see that they always have mixed teams.’

‘Dries Hommez- great lawyer and dealmaker, team player and very hands-on. He knows all details of his files. Has a very strong network with many PE houses.’

‘Dries Hommez is a very strong negotiator, remains very calm and polite in discussions and uses strong arguments to make his point without losing pragmatism and without dragging out discussions on legal topics in order to get it right.’

Key clients

Apax Partners

Avista Capital Partners

Blackstone

Bencis Capital Partners

CapitalG, Alphabet’s investment arm

Classified Cycling

Creafund

Dovesco

Fin.Co

Gamma, KKR’s health care arm

GIMV

Gilde Equity Management

KKR

Korys Investments NV

PAI Partners

Providence Equity LLP

Sofindev

Smile Invest

Work highlights

  • Advised Blackstone Group on its acquisition of Desotec, from EQT Partners AB.
  • Advised Bencis Capital Partners on the acquisition of the Geo Square Group.
  • Advised Sofindev IV, BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity, Korys and management on the sale of Novy to Middleby.

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP‘s private equity offering encompasses prolific work on cross-border buyouts, investments, and joint ventures for an array of major international houses, heavy involvement in domestic deals, and a growing profile within the family office space. The team has continued to expand its Luxembourg desk with a number of dual-qualified lawyers, enabling it to handle overseas private equity investments from a variety of jurisdictions including the US. Practice head Thierry Bosly co-heads the firm’s global private equity offering, and is routinely instructed by funds, portfolio companies, and family offices, with Thomas Glauden a key part of the firm’s cross-border capabilities and a leader at the Luxembourg desk. Philippe Hendrickx who was made partner in January 2022, has played a leading role in cross-border investments.

Practice head(s):

Thierry Bosly

Key clients

COBEPA

Goldman Sachs International

Summit Partners

Next Kraftwerke GmbH

AP Solutions SRL – Seek & Care

IK Investment Partners

Ratos AB and Bonnier Group

Hg Capital

Oaktree Capital Management

Triton Partners

Novator

Hamon & Cie (International) SA

Alvogen Lux Holdings S.à r.l.

Anchorage Capital Group Europe

Kharis Capital Advisory SPRL

Vedihold SA

Verlinvest SA

Active Ownership Capital Sarl

Activa SA

Compagnie Centrale 1909

Core Equity Holdings SA

Equity Group Holdings PLC

Legris Industries

Mitiska

Softbank

IQEQ

Work highlights

  • Advised COBEPA on the reinforcement of its shareholding in International SOS, in the context of the entry of FFP (the Peugeot family office) in the shareholding of International SOS.
  • Advised IK Investment Partners on its bid for the acquisition of Innovad, a Belgian company producing animal food additives.
  • Advised Triton Partners on its €943m sale of DSI Underground to Sandvik Group.

ALTIUS

ALTIUS‘ clients include domestic and international private equity and venture capital funds, equity investors and mezzanine providers, alongside sector-specific funds and other investors. The firm handles cross-border and Belgian buyouts, recapitalisations, and exits, as well as early-stage venture capital investments and financing transactions. The ‘flexible‘ and ‘transparent‘ team is led by Tom Vantroyen and Marie Brasseur, both experienced in complex transactions.

Practice head(s):

Tom Vantroyen; Marie Brasseur

Testimonials

‘They have now gathered a lot of knowledge about our family office and offer very reactive solutions to our daily legal and fiscal issues.’

‘Altius’ people are always dedicated to find flexible and tailor made solutions within short time constraints. We highly appreciate their transparency.’

Key clients

Indufin Investment Fund

Indufin Capital Partners

Keensight Capital

Carl Zeiss Venture

Genmab

Otium

Work highlights

  • Advised Indufin Investment Fund on the acquisition of a strategic stake in Varo, a distributor of DIY tools.
  • Advised Indufin and the other shareholders of Baobab Collection SA on the sale of the group to Baltisse NV.
  • Advised Compound Ventures on its investment in cosmetics company Andjou.

ARGO Law

ARGO Law advises national and international private equity funds as well as PE-backed businesses on transactions, structuring, corporate financing, and tax issues, with an integrated boutique structure covering all corporate and M&A considerations. The team handles domestic and cross-border private equity investments and fund structuring matters with a partner-led approach, headed by Kris Verdoodt, a specialist in private M&A and fund structuring, alongside PE and REIT-focused Bert Van Ingelghem.

Key clients

Gimv

Down2 Earth Capital

Vectis

Sofindev

Bencis

Pentahold

Euronav

Fortino Capital

Waterland Private Equity

Smile Invest

We Are Jane

Ardian

NPM

Ciclad

Work highlights

  • Advised Sofindev on its €65m investment in Altebra.
  • Advised Waterland on the acquisition of a majority stake in Technics & Applications.
  • Advised Ackermans & Van Haaren on the framework of a €12.5m investment in Van Moer Logistics in exchange for a 21.7% stake.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper covers the full range of private equity life-cycle matters, including fund formation, venture capital investments, buy-outs and exits, and associated tax and regulatory issues. Clients include private equity and venture capital funds, portfolio companies, and growth companies seeking venture capital investment, with the firm able to service domestic and cross-border clients and transactions. Leaders within the practice include Caroline Daout, Erwin Simons, Koen Selleslags, and Michaël Heene, with Pierre Berger also a key player in fund formation and regulatory issues.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Daout; Koen Selleslags; Erwin Simons; Michaël Heene

Other key lawyers:

Pierre Berger

Key clients

Alychlo NV

Intreso Group

The Pacific Media Group

Casa Management

InvestLink

Fortino Capital Venture

Tioga Capital Partners

SharpX

SD Worx

Torqx Capital Partners

Highlander Partners

Carlyle

Salesforce Ventures

Trocadero Capital Partners

Bregal Milestone

Miraclon (Montagu portfolio company)

Ackermans & Van Haaren

TDR Capital

Argenta

Invest4Jobs

Work highlights

  • Advised Alychlo on the sale of all the shares in Ceres Pharma for €100m to Naxicap.
  • Advising Torqx Capital Partners on the buy-and-build of Intreso Group and the ongoing exit process.
  • Advised the management of Casa on the management buy-out of the Casa Group with the support of Dutch PE investor Globitas.

Eubelius

Eubelius advises private equity funds, including major international investors, portfolio companies, and the management teams of target companies on buyouts, exits, and spin-outs, as well as minority investments. Deals include domestic and cross-border transactions. The practice is led by Matthias Wauters, Erwin Destuyver, Filip Jenné, and Felix Dobbelaere.

Key clients

KeBek II / KeBeK III

BNP Paribas Private Equity

Damier Group

Dovesco

Chequers Capital

PMV

Agro Investment Fund

Bain Capital

New Alpha Asset Management

Work highlights

  • Advised the management of Sports and Leisure Group on its sale to the private equity fund Sun European Partners and management.
  • Advised BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity on a minority investment in Holding Memo.
  • Advised the Damier Group on the disposal of its minority shareholding in the Cooper Group and reinvestment in the acquisition vehicle alongside CVC Capital Partners.

Jones Day

Jones Day works with international private equity sponsors and financial institutions, including major US and European names, domestic players, and venture capital investors, handling buyouts, joint ventures, and financing transactions across a wide range of asset classes. The team’s main strength is its ability to advise on cross-border deals, working with international buyers on their acquisition of Belgian target companies. Thomas De Muynck leads the team, advising on cross-border PE and VC investments for a number of major international funds. Jonas Van Den Bossche was promoted to partner in January 2021 and has played a key role in several high-profile buyouts.

Practice head(s):

Thomas De Muynck

Other key lawyers:

Jonas Van Den Bossche

Testimonials

Fast, agile, with global knowledge.

Key clients

Alven Capital

Arsenal Capital Partners

BNP Paribas

Buysse & Partners

Cathay Capital

Fortino

Index Ventures

Seventure Partners

The Riverside Company

Wilink

Work highlights

    Lydian

    Lydian focuses on the mid to upper-middle market, advising a combination of domestic and international private equity funds on buyouts and exits, alongside associated regulatory, tax, and financing matters. Alongside its own client base, the firm is also regularly referred work as Belgian counsel by a number of major international law firms. The practice is led by Peter De Ryck, who advises sponsors, investors, and financial institutions on private equity deals in several sectors, most notably food and beverages, leisure, and financial services, alongside active transactional adviser Maxime Colle and corporate finance lead Tom Geudens.

    Practice head(s):

    Peter De Ryck; Maxime Colle; Tom Geudens

    Testimonials

    Very reactive and excellent work.

    Key clients

    Naxicap Partners

    House of HR (backed by Naxicap)

    JP Morgan

    Yonghua Capital

    La Financière Patrimoniale d’Investissement (LFPI)

    European Dental Group

    Northleaf Capital Partners

    Waterland Private Equity

    Standard Investment

    Hartree Partners

    E-Capital

    Berkshire Partners LLC

    Alantra

    Explore Investissement

    Career Partner Group

    Work highlights

    • Advised Naxicap on a number of acquisitions.
    • Advised LFPI on the acquisition of a majority stake in Wilink Insurance.
    • Advising Naxicap portfolio company House of HR on corporate and operational issues.

    Monard Law

    Monard Law advises private equity and venture capital funds alongside portfolio and target companies across the life-cycle of investments and fund activity, including fund formation and structuring alongside buyouts, divestments, and financing. Primarily working with domestic funds, the firm has cross-border capabilities and a notable venture capital offering, frequently working with growth companies and funds investing in them. The team is led by Nicole Segers, Pieter Van den Broeck and venture capital specialist Maxime Monard.

    Testimonials

    Great team, full service, industry experts.’

    ‘Pieter van den Broeck- deal maker, problem solver, pragmatic, business wise’

    ‘The team is able to work efficiently & respect timings.’

    ‘Very accurate and fast reply to questions. Excellent service & M&A know-how. Team is big enough to counter with deadlines.’

    ‘Very dedicated. Service tailored to the customer.’

    ‘Very nice to work with. Can negotiate with a wide array of potential sellers.’

    Key clients

    VIB

    Quanteus Group

    Legia Capital

    Daltix

    Het Poetsbureau

    LRM

    Concentra

    GT Invest

    Dobco Medical

    Sitemark

    ESAS senior management

    AGC Networks

    Droia Ventures

    Chili Publish NV

    E-Capital Equity Management

    Work highlights

    • Advised senior management of ESAS in relation to the sale of 100% of their shares in the ESAS Group to the Circet Group.
    • Advised Droia Ventures on its investment in K5 Therapeutics and the subsequent cross-border merger of K5 Therapeutics with Muna Therapeutics.
    • Advised the shareholders of Sweagle NV on the sale of 100% of the share capital in Sweagle NV to ServiceNow.

    NautaDutilh

    NautaDutilh advises on buyouts, exits, and private equity-backed take-private transactions, with a Benelux-focused structure capable of advising clients across the region and internationally. The firm also has notable expertise in financial services regulatory issues, as well as handling early-stage investment rounds. Clients include established international buyout funds, early-stage investors, and family offices. The team is led by Philippe Remels, who focuses on transactions within regulated sectors such as energy, healthcare, and chemicals, alongside Nicolas de Crombrugghe, who advises on cross-border transactions with Belgian targets.

    Practice head(s):

    Nicolas de Crombrugghe; Philippe Remels

    Testimonials

    ‘Being a start-up with scarce resources (and so, low level business potential in the next months for the firm) was not a barrier for the team. The team is flexible to work for us with terms that make it easy for us. The invoicing and billing plan was adapted to our financial situation perfectly.’

    Key clients

    Bain Capital

    Bencis

    Gilde Buy Out

    HAL Investments

    Korys

    NPM Capital

    Levine

    PAI Partners

    Pertinea Property Partners

    Bay Grove

    PMV

    TA Associates

    Astorg

    Smile Invest

    Work highlights

    • Advised VMF Invest on its participation in the €38m investment round in miDiagnostics.
    • Advised Odoo, the first unicorn in Wallonia, on a new investment by Summit Partners.
    • Advised NPM Capital NV on its acquisition of Infinitas Learning Holding BV.

    Strelia

    Strelia advises Belgian and domestic private equity and venture capital funds, institutional investors, and target companies on private equity acquisitions, exits, and investments, with a growing profile in cross-border deals in collaboration with its Luxembourg office. Areas of strength include the tech and innovation sector, particularly biotech. The practice is headed up by Gisèle Rosselle, an active PE and VC adviser who specialises in tech sector investments and cross-border investments, alongside Laurent Verhavert . Katrien Vorlat joined from Monard Law in September 2021 and has a strong record in international transactions.

    Other key lawyers:

    Katrien Vorlat

    Testimonials

    ‘Strong commitment of the team across the whole process of the acquisition we were contemplating, from LOI review to SPA specific/technical points negotiation.’

    ‘Highly available, they know very well their case and have a deep knowledge of the rules that make them solid and efficient partners while negotiating on critical items of a transaction.’

    ‘Gisèle and her team are highly-skilled professionals with strong attention to detail and they know very well their topics. They assisted us under a complicated transaction which we managed to realize thanks to their incredible energy, skills and commitment.’

    ‘They provide solutions that secure the position of their client taking into account multiple factors and negotiation standpoints.’

    ‘Gisèle always makes herself readily available – after office hours. Assistance is there when required. Much appreciated.’

    Key clients

    Abenex

    Edf Invest

    Koninklijke Philips N.v.

    Globitas B.v.

    Rubis Group

    Jac

    Hjj Capital

    Epics Therapeutics

    Chromacure

    Dim 3

    Synergia Medical

    Newton Biocapital

    Sustinvest

    Alvalux Medical

    Nxmh

    Andlinger Corporation

    Vesalius Biocapital

    Trod Medical

    Bienca

    Join Capital

    Sunrise

    Novadip Biosciences

    Work highlights

    • Advised Abénex on Blanchon Group’s acquisition of Ciranova.
    • Advised Newton Biocapital as lead investor on a €20m Series A Investment in a new start-up of the ULB, NeuVasQ Biotechnologies.
    • Advised Koninklijke Philips N.V on its investment in clinical-stage company Miracor SA.