Private equity in Belgium

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP has 'a strong team at all layers of the organisation' and attracts praise for its 'excellent technical skills and for being very pragmatic'. The group has experience handling a range of matters for private equity clients, and benefits from having the 'full view of what is doable and customary in the market'. A team led by Dirk Meeus and recently promoted partner Frederiek Adams acted for Waterland on its sale of 100% of the share capital of Ipcom to Alpha Private Equity Fund. In another work highlight, the team advised global private equity firm Balta on its initial public offering and listing of shares on Euronext Brussels. Wouter Van de Voorde — who recently took over as practice head from Pierre-Olivier Mahieu, who remains at the firm — is a key name to note and assisted Kartesia with several matters including its investment in Sales Performance International, as well as tax and structuring advice. Other clients include CVC Capital Partners, Ergon and 3i.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

The 'very complementary' private equity practice at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer acts for an impressive client roster including CVC Capital Partners, Bridgepoint and EQT. The team acted for The Carlyle Group on the acquisition of Belgian airport light manufacturing company ADB Safegate from PAI Partners. The group was also instructed by venture capital asset manager Fortino Capital to advise on the setting up of two new tech funds and a new fund manager, including handling all related documentation. Vincent Macq heads the practice, which also includes Deborah Janssens and principal associate Frederic Elens.

Stibbe

Stibbe's private equity practice acts for a range of domestic and international PE and venture capital funds, including Limburgse Reconversiemaatschappij, KKR and Serena Capital. The group was instructed by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice on its acquisition of a 40% stake in Belron International, where it was also able to utilise its strong presence in Luxembourg to handle the cross-border matter. In another highlight, Jan Peeters led a team acting for Creafund on its acquisition of a 59% stake in Diresco. Stefan Odeurs heads the practice and led a team that assisted the management of Hudson Belgium and Hudson Luxembourg on a management buy-out of Hudson Benelux. Dries Hommez is 'an excellent lawyer' and is particularly noted for his expertise in corporate transactions.

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL

The private equity practice group at Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL is instructed by funds on a range of transactions and advisory matters, with particular experience in sectors including life sciences, energy and financial services. The department acted for Korys Investments and Etablissementen Franz Colruyt on the acquisition of the shares in the Newpharma group. A team, led by Dominique Maes, also advised Ergon Capital Partners III on its €150m buy-out of Keesing Media Group from Telegraaf Media Group. In another work highlight, the team was instructed by the Federal Investment and Participation Company to advise on the tax, corporate and legal aspects of the structuring of a €400m fund. The practice, headed by Koen Vanhaerents, also counts Vendis Capital, Gimv and TA Associates among its clients. Luc Meeus is another key name to note.

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance's private equity department is headed up by Niek De Pauw and draws on the expertise of the firm's corporate, tax and finance practices. The group advised SPI Management on the management buyout of SPI together with Kartesia, which utilised a unique financing structure. Other notable instructions include handling venture capital vehicle Alychlo's acquisition of Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht and acting for EQT on the financing of its acquisition of Desotec from AAC Capital. Other key names to note include Xavier Remy and Alexandre Ooms for corporate and tax matters respectively.

Loyens & Loeff

Loyens & Loeff has a well-established client base of private equity and venture capital firms, with clients including Marlin Equity Partners, Anthemis Group and AAC Capital. The group acted for New Mountain Capital on the Belgian aspects of its £820m sale of Alexander Mann Solutions to Omers Private Equity. In another highlight, the team assisted Iconiq Capital with its investment in Collibra. The department is headed by Grégoire Jakhian, Peter Callens and Wim Vande Velde, and includes senior associate Robrecht Coppens. Stefaan Deckmyn left the firm.

White & Case LLP

The private equity practice group at White & Case LLP has particular experience acting on cross-border transactions. A team led by joint practice heads Thierry Bosly and Muriel Alhadeff assisted Cobepa with its €1.3bn sale of Exclusive Group to Permira. In another work highlight Alhadeff advised Exclusive Ventures SA on its registration as a self-managed investment fund before the Belgian Financial Services and Markets Authority. The group’s client roster also includes Guardiola Invest and Belcube.

ALTIUS

The private equity group at ALTIUS has experience acting for domestic and international private equity firms, in addition to handling venture capital investments particularly in the IT and life sciences sectors. Practice head Tom Vantroyen led a team that acted for Indufin Capital Partners on its strategic investment in IT services company Cheops. The group is also frequently instructed by Blackstone Real Estate on real estate investments and exits. Marie Brasseur was recently promoted to the partnership.

ARGO Law

The 'practical and realistic' corporate finance team at ARGO Law frequently acts for a number of high-profile private equity firms, attracting praise for its 'excellent know-how'. The group assisted Down2Earth Partners with the legal, tax and regulatory aspects of the structuring and incorporation of an independent Belgian private equity fund Down2Earth Capital II. Other work highlights include acting for AAC Capital Benelux on its acquisition of a majority stake in Savaco. Nico Goossens heads the practice, which includes Kris Verdoodt and Bert Van Ingelghem, who are highlighted particularly for handling fund structuring advice and investments respectively.

Dechert LLP

Dechert LLP handles private equity transactions, as well as acting for family-owned investment groups and is able to leverage its international office network on cross-border deals. Corporate practice head Eric Deltour and senior associate Geoffroy Fink are key names to note.

Eubelius

Eubelius' private equity and venture capital group attracts praise for its 'high-quality technical skills'. The group acted for MPM Capital, as lead investor of a syndicate of investors, on the €64m series B financing round of iTeos Therapeutics. In another highlight, the team was instructed by Vision Healthcare, an investment vehicle that part of the Daimler Group, on its acquisition of Remark. Marieke Wyckaert and Lars Van Bever jointly head the practice. The 'knowledgeable' Felix Dobbelaere was recently promoted to counsel and is singled out for his 'good negotiation skills'.

Linklaters

The private equity practice at Linklaters has a strong track handling investments, disposals and the restructuring of funds, and counts The Carlyle group, Apax and TDR Capital among its clients. A team led by Arnaud Coibion acted for PAI Partners on its proposed €2bn acquisition of 100% of the share capital of Ontex Group by way of a public takeover bid. In another highlight, it acted for Groupe Bruxelles Lambert on the disposal of its interest in Burberry Group by way of a block trade, valued at £498m. Charles-Antoine Leunen heads the practice.

Monard Law

The 'trustworthy and accessible' corporate and commercial team at Monard Law frequently handles private equity and venture capital transactions. A team led by recently promoted partner Pieter Van den Broeck ('practical, focused and very pragmatic') assisted Invale and BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity with the acquisition of a majority stake in Stoffels. In another highlight, the group acted for the owners of Diresco on the sale of the company to an entity controlled by Creafund. Katrien Vorlat assisted Dawn Capital with a follow-on investment, as part of the series C equity round by Showpad. Recently promoted associate partner Maxime Monard is noted for venture capital transactions.

Strelia

The private equity practice group at Strelia is 'very flexible, responsive and to the point'. The team is particularly active in the biotech sector, with clients including Europem and Newton Biocapital. The team assisted the later client with several series A investments in companies such as Epics Therapeutics and Synergia Medical. Gisèle Rosselle heads the practice, which includes Laurent Verhavert.