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Costa Rica > Corporate and M&A > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


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Regional powerhouse Aguilar Castillo Love stands out for its ‘profound expertise’ in the corporate and M&A sphere and for covering ‘all aspects of legal matters in depth’. Key features of the seven-partner practice include advising multinational companies on market entry and the implementation of global mergers, as evidenced by its recent advice to Hewlett Packard on the implementation of the Costa Rican aspects of the global spin-off and subsequent merger of its software business with Micro Fokus. New additions to the client base include Seiko Epson, for which the team is acting as lead counsel regarding all corporate and general commercial matters in Costa Rica and Central America. In other work, Marco Solano and ‘experienced’ practice co-head John Aguilar-Quesada continue to assist Boeing with the establishment of its first subsidiary in Central America. The client roster also includes DowDupont, Johnson Controls and Ingenico Group. Mary Ann Drake is noted for her ‘profound knowledge’; founding partner and department co-head John Aguilar-Osborne and the recommended Esteban Agüero are other names to note.

BLP’s 10-partner corporate and M&A practice has a superlative reputation in the market and covers the full array of corporate and M&A-related work, including advice on matters related to private equity, venture capital, corporate restructuring and cross-border M&A deals. In one recent headline mandate, Luís M Castro and Eduardo Calderón led advice to Accenture on the acquisition of Virginia-based technology services company, Search Technologies. Vivian Liberman, who is also active in the banking and finance sphere, assisted One Equity Partners with the acquisition of leading BPO company One Link. Seller-side work saw Ronald Lachner advise Medtronic on the multimillion-dollar sale of its patient care, deep vein thrombosis and nutritional insufficiency business lines. Lachner also led advice to Swarovski regarding its operational start up in Costa Rica and the obtaining of free zone regime status. Another key strength of the practice is day-to-day advice, where its multinational client roster includes the likes of Cargill, KFC, Pfizer and American Airlines. David Gutiérrez, who now splits his time between San José and Madrid, and Uri Weinstok are other key figures in the department.

Consortium Legal’s corporate and M&A team handles the full spectrum of corporate and transactional work, including cross-border acquisitions, mergers and joint ventures, as well as due diligence, day-to-day corporate work and antitrust matters. The 11-strong team is jointly led by Juan Manuel Godoy and the highly regarded Rolando Laclé Zúñiga and recently assisted Corporación Multi-Inversiones (CMI) with the acquisition of local companies Pollos Pura Vida and Avícola Paine. Other recent highlights include advising ICU Medical on its $250m acquisition of Pfizer subsidiary Hospira Infusion Systems and advising Cuestamoras on its $80m sale of the Marriott Hotels in Herradura and Belén to an investment fund and Grupo Enjoy. Juan Manuel Cordero, who is noted for his ‘quick response times and good analysis’, continues to lead advice to Walmart on its corporate restructuring project and David Reuben, who also co-heads the firm’s real estate practice alongside Cordero and Laclé Zúñiga, led advice to Cuestamoras Salud Costa Rica on the acquisition of 14 Farmacias La Bomba pharmacies. The firm’s client roster includes local and multinational companies from a variety of industries, such as Globeleq Mesoamerica Energy, Avianca Holdings and Grupo el Colono.

Benefitting from its strong regional network, Arias’ ‘excellent’ corporate and M&A team regularly advises on cross-border transactions, corporate restructuring, tax and antitrust matters. In 2017, the firm was particularly active on the purchase-side, as evidenced by various recent highlights, including advising Amvac on its $50m acquisition of Agricenter (and the associated merger-control process before the Costa Rican antitrust authority); acting as local counsel to Applus on its $89m acquisition of an 80% holding in Inversiones Finisterre; and assisting Cardinal Health with the local aspects of its $6.1bn global acquisition of Medtronic and Costa Rican subsidiary Covidien Manufacturing Solutions. Seller-side work includes advising Yara on the $6m sale of Cafesa to Duwest and assisting Sealed Air with the sale of its Diversey unit to Bain Capital. The practice is co-led by Andrey Dorado, who is highly recommended by clients, and Carolina Flores, who stands out for her ‘great knowledge in international transactions’. Vicente Lines and senior counsel Melania Dittel are also part of the core team.

Batalla Abogados’ corporate and M&A team distinguishes itself through its focus on transactional private equity and venture capital matters as well as advising on M&A deals, joint ventures and corporate restructuring in numerous sectors, including energy and real estate. Rodrigo Zelaya and Alejandro Batalla are the key figures in the practice, which was recently strengthened with the December 2017 arrivals of Oswald Bruce and senior counsel Ignacio Monge from the former Pacheco Coto. Showcasing its strong seller-side practice, the team recently led advice to Total Marketing & Services (TMS) on the sale of its fuel distribution business in Costa Rica, including 19 gas stations nationwide. Other work includes assisting Blackstone Group with the acquisition of Cirsa Gaming and advising The Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation on transactional and tax matters relating to its exit from hydroelectric power project La Vegona. The firm’s client base also includes The Abraaj Group, Norfund and Banco de Costa Rica. The firm has also strengthened its environmental-law practice with the July 2018 hire of Luis Cedeño as a senior associate.

In January 2018, the former Pacheco Coto stunned the Costa Rican legal market by announcing its integration into EY Law Central America. Hernán Pacheco O and Fernando Vargas now co-head the eight-partner corporate and M&A practice together with Juvenal Sánchez, formerly a member of EY’s associated legal arm, Integra Legal, which was fully assimilated in a 2017 merger. The team has significant experience assisting both the seller and purchaser side with cross-border and domestic M&A-transactions and advises on due diligence, corporate restructuring, and sector-related disputes. Recent highlights include representing the seller side in the sale of an equity participation in Industrias Farmaceuticas subsidiary, Infarma Laboratories; and assisting Pollos Pura Vida with the sale of its operations, properties and premises to CMI. Purchaser-side work includes advising Inbanano De Bristol on the acquisition of banana plantations. Other clients include Avon Products, Dole Food and Farmacias Santa Lucía.

Co-led by Carlos Valverde and Victor Garita, the corporate and M&A practice at domestic full-service firm Facio & Cañas advises on market entry, free trade zone regulations, joint ventures, M&A deals and corporate restructuring. Notable recent work saw the very active Carlos Oreamuno assist Cinemark with the expansion of its business in Costa Rica; and advise AT&T on its establishment of a corporate vehicle and the contractual structure for its entry into the Costa Rican telecoms sector. In other work, Valverde led advice to Veoo Holdings on its acquisition of InternetQ; and assisted Santa Rita with the termination of a local distributorship for its brand Viña Carmen, as well as the transition to a new distributor. Another key feature of the practice is day-to-day corporate advice to local and multinational companies, such as Fujitsu, Conair and Cisco Systems Costa Rica. Managing partner Sergio Solera is also active in the department.

Sfera Legal’s sizeable department stands out for its ‘great dedication, professionalism and knowledge’ and covers the full array of corporate and M&A work, including transactions, market entry, corporate restructuring and day-to-day corporate matters. Led by ‘exceptional’ practice head Eric Scharf, whose ‘knowledge of the legislation and passion for his work is phenomenal’, the team recently advised Vector Capital on the $400m acquisition of a majority stake in Experian’s Cross-Channel Marketing business and the establishment of the company locally within the Costa Rican free trade zone regime. Other recent work includes advising Compañía Internacional de Seguros on the acquisition of a majority participation in Aseguradora del Istmo (Adisa); assisting Latam Logistic Poperties with the acquisition and development of a real estate in El Coyol de Alajuela; and acting as counsel to Philip Morris International’s local affiliates Tabacalera Costarricense and Mendiola y Compañía on day-to-day corporate matters. The turn of the year brought significant changes to the team: in December 2017 Javier Escalante left to co-found corporate boutique Colbs Estudio Legal while, in turn, Abraham Stern joined from the former Pacheco Coto; and in January 2018 the team was further strengthened through the arrivals of Ismene Arroyo from Arroyo & Asociados Abogados and Andrés Montejo from Montejo Law.

Zürcher, Odio & Raven’s mergers and acquisitions practice is particularly active on the corporate finance side; it advises on venture capital transactions, bond and security offerings, shareholder contracts and transactions. The firm’s corporate and commercial practice assists domestic and international companies with the structuring and execution of operations and incorporations, as well as contractual matters.

Central Law Costa Rica has a strong track record assisting local, regional and international clients with their market entry in Costa Rica and day-to-day corporate and notarial matters. Founding partner and department co-head Rafael Quirós continues to advise Hoffman La-Roche on day-to-day corporate matters, such as contract drafting and corporate governance, while in other work he assisted multinational technology company Wipro with its establishment in Costa Rica, including asset acquisitions and antitrust matters. The 12-strong team’s client roster also includes BT LatAm Costa Rica, Helicopters in Style and Cargoland. Practice co-head Mauricio González, who handles international transactions, is also noted.

Primarily advising on cross-border transactions, day-to-day corporate matters and issues related to Costa Rica’s free trade zone regime, the ‘outstanding’ department at Dentons Muñoz is recommended for its ‘quick responses and deep business acumen’. ‘Standout lawyerDaniel Araya heads the practice and is noted for his ‘deep knowledge of law, not only in his area of expertise but on a broad level’; ‘smart and practical’ associate Diana Smith Calvo is also well-regarded. In one recent highlight, the team led advice to Agricenter Group on the commercial and tax aspects on its acquisition by American Vanguard subsidiary Amvac across seven Central American countries. Other work includes assisting Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) with the set-up and approval of free trade zone benefits for its financial services center in Costa Rica. Bayer, Infosys and Yara International are also clients of the firm.

Providing ‘high-level legal services with a personal touch’, Expertis’ four-partner corporate and M&A practice advises on transactional matters, joint ventures, corporate management and free trade zones, as well as handling the incorporation of subsidiaries, shareholders’ agreements and matters related to the company operation and management. Due to its strong regional network (including offices in Honduras, Panama, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic), the team was recently retained by Pfizer to handle and coordinate all its corporate matters in Central America and the Caribbean. In other work, highly recommended practice head Guillermo E Zúñiga led advice to CMA CGM on the termination of its agency agreements in Honduras and El Salvador. The ‘brilliant’ Mauricio Paris is another key figure in the department and is noted for his ‘intelligence, friendly nature and top-notch consistency’, as well as his ‘leadership abilities and phenomenal technological proficiency’. While it remains too early to evaluate the impact of the merger, as of June 2018 the firm announced a tie-up with Spanish firm ECIJA. Other clients include Maersk, DHL and Herbalife.

The department at Lang & Asociados advises domestic and foreign clients on joint ventures, mergers, acquisitions, market entry and due diligence matters and stand out for its ‘knowledge of local regulations and particularities of public institutions’. Led by the highly-regarded Henry Lang (a ‘great communicator’), the team is particularly active in the hi-tech, telecoms and pharmaceuticals industries. Recent highlights include advising longstanding client Microsoft on corporate and labour law matters arising from its opening of a new service center in Latin America; assisting Canadian data collection and research company The Logit Group with the acquisition of the Costa Rican operations of Cido Research; and advising Anhui Jianghuai Horticulture Seeds on a joint venture with two Costa Rican companies, in order to establish operations in Central America. The firm’s client roster also includes Cincotek, Indian Industries and Magus Private Wealth.

With five offices across the region, Nassar Abogados combines regional capability with a 30-year professional trajectory. In Costa Rica, the four-partner team advises on mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, corporate governance and day-to-day matters; active across a multitude of sectors, including real estate, pharmaceuticals and finance, it is particularly well-known for its strong expertise in the aviation industry. Led by the highly-regarded Tomás Nassar, the team recently advised Phoenix Tower International on the acquisition of multiple real estate and telecoms tower assets. The practice also handles general corporate advice, as provided to high-profile clients including IBM, LG Electronics, General Motors and British Airways. Henry Rodríguez and Alina Nassar are also active in the department.

The Costa Rican office of the regional Latamlex operation, Latamlex / Gómez y Galindo Abogados, S.A advises on day-to-day corporate matters, market entry and mergers and acquisitions. The firm mainly acts for financial institutions, domestic and multinational corporations and family offices. Daniel Guillén, José Antonio Hidalgo, Adriana Ramos and founding partner Mario Gómez Pacheco are the key figures in the department.

The ‘very effective’ Arnoldo André and Alonso Vargas jointly lead the three-strong corporate and M&A practice at regional player Lexincorp’s Costa Rican office. Advising on transactions, market entry, due diligence and the review of contracts and agreements. The team has a strong European client base and is particularly active in the tourism and fintech sectors. Recent work includes advising fintech company Masterzon with the set-up of its operations and day-to-day corporate and financial matters; advising Grupo Sur on commercial and employment contracts, IP matters and disputes; and assisting new client Casa de Prestamos with its corporate structuring and day-to-day matters. Eppley, United Motors and Novelteak Costa Rica are also clients of the firm.

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