Lending and borrowing in Germany
Allen & Overy LLP
Attracting praise for its ‘extremely high level of expertise’ and ‘speedy response times’, Allen & Overy LLP’s ‘broad and in-depth knowledge’ is not least based on the team’s strong co-operation with its banking, finance and capital markets groups, making it an equally attractive choice for lenders and borrowers. In leveraged and acquisition finance, an area of particular strength, the team frequently advises on mid-cap to large-cap LBOs and MBOs, traditional acquisition loans, bank and bond financings, unitranches and term loan B financings. Issuers and arrangers receive regular assistance with promissory note loans, while the team also handles a wide range of corporate finance matters. In conjunction with its corporate team, John Coburn assisted the US financial investor Cerberus Capital Management with the takeover of HSH Nordbank by independent investors and with the related sale of non-performing loans at a nominal value of several billion euros, enabling the bank to remain competitive without state aid, while team head Walter Uebelhoer advised Evonik Industries on the refinancing of a €1.75bn credit line. Thomas Neubaum ‘has a good understanding of the market’ and recently acted for Kreissparkasse Biberach and Sparkasse Pforzheim Calw on financing issues pertaining to the acquisition of Felss Group by Capvis, and advised private equity investor Bencis on the acquisition of Halex Holding from H2 Equity Partners; the financing structure of the latter transaction consisted of a unitranche financing and a revolving credit facility. The renowned Neil Weiand and counsel Urs Lewens joined Linklaters in late 2017.
‘Top market player’ Clifford Chance routinely assists banks, private equity investors and corporates, including family-owned companies, with national and international acquisitions alongside corporate finance, restructuring, refinancing and recapitalisation matters as well as with the acquisition finance for listed companies and infrastructure finance. Team head Bettina Steinhauer advised J.P. Morgan on providing Hochtief with the acquisition financing for its voluntary tender offer for Spanish company Abertis Infraestructuras, and, together with Barbara Mayer-Trautmann, she acted for Barclays as mandated lead arranger on a €12bn financing for Fortum’s public takeover offer for Uniper. In other significant work, the team advised an international banking consortium on financing the takeover of PlusServer, a provider of managed hosting and managed cloud solutions, by private equity firm BC Partners, and assisted Commerzbank with two loans for the acquisition of ZF Friedrichshafen’s Global Body Control Systems business by Hong Kong-based company Luxshare. In other work, the group advised Deutsche Glasfaser on a €650m refinancing, and assisted a Chinese consortium with the acquisition of Robert Bosch Starter Motors Generators. In early 2018, Thomas Weitkamp moved to Latham & Watkins LLP and counsel Mattias von Buttlar joined White & Case LLP. Acquisition finance expert Steffen Schellenschmidt joined the team from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP in late 2018.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Considered as ‘first choice for all financing matters’ by many borrowers and sponsors, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is also becoming increasingly active for lenders, frequently advising on tree structures among other issues, and stands out for its ‘excellent service level’ and ‘strategic advice’. As well as its leveraged, acquisition, corporate and real estate finance expertise, the team is also well versed in handling restructuring and insolvency-related credit financing work. It works closely with colleagues experienced in project, asset and structured finance leading to the team’s particular strength in handling hybrid forms of classic corporate and leveraged finance on the one hand and structured project and asset finance on the other. ‘Excellent’ team head Frank Laudenklos advised AXA Investment Managers on financing the acquisition of a nursing home portfolio from Blackstone, and assisted Fresenius with the provision of an interim financing for the acquisition of listed US company Akorn, while Mark Strauch advised JOST Werke on refinancing matters pertaining to a syndicated credit line going back to the takeover by Cinven. Laudenklos also acted for Rewe International Finance as borrower and several other Rewe group companies as guarantors of fixed-rate and floating-rate promissory note loans with a total volume of €1bn, and Mario Hüther advised Volkswagen Financial Services on a syndicated loan of €2.5bn. Michael Josenhans is another key member of the team.
Hengeler Mueller’s strength lies in providing advice on syndicated acquisition finance and promissory loans. Acting as lead counsel, Johannes Tieves acted for a bank consortium on matters pertaining to a €2.5bn revolving syndicated loan for SAP to refinance its existing credit line, and advised HeidelbergCement on a €3bn syndicated revolving multi-currency credit facility for cash drawings and loan guarantees in euros and other currencies. Daniel Weiß assisted Erwin Hymer Group with the reorganisation of its group financing by concluding a syndicated credit facility and a promissory note in the aggregate amount of €400m, while Nikolaus Vieten assisted Finland-based energy company Fortum Oyj with the €12bn acquisition finance for the launch of a voluntary public takeover offer to all Uniper shareholders. In other significant work, the team advised Metro on various financial instruments including private and public bonds, bilateral credit facilities, promissory loans and revolving credit facilities, and Daniela Böning acted as lead counsel for Davis-Standard and its majority owner Oncap on the acquisition of Maillefer International Oy including related financing matters. Other key individuals include Heinrich Knepper and co-managing partner Dirk Bliesener. In November 2018, Andreas Lischka joined White & Case LLP as local partner, and Dr Ralph Defren left for Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP in August 2019.
Working closely with its capital markets team alongside its London and US offices, Latham & Watkins LLP is adept at handling acquisition finance, LBO and corporate finance transactions, frequently combined with covenant lite structures and high-yield bonds, while also having experience in restructuring and real estate finance matters. The team acts for borrowers and lenders alike, leading to regular instructions from companies, investment banks and sponsors. Together with colleagues from the firm’s capital markets practice, Alexandra Hagelüken and counsel Sibylle Münch advised a bank consortium on matters pertaining to the financing of the high-yield bond-financed takeover, the first one of its kind on the German market, of MDAX listed group Stada by Bain Capital and Cinven, and assisted another banking syndicate consisting of Citigroup Global Markets and Royal Bank of Canada with a €2.5bn credit line for VW Credit. Together with counsel Cora Grannemann, Hagelüken also advised private equity firm BC Partners on financing the acquisition of PlusServer by way of a covenant lite transaction. In Munich, Christian Jahn and Andreas Diem, who retired in summer 2018, advised One Equity Partners on the financing of the acquisition of SGB-SMIT Group from BC Partners, consisting of a term loan B, a guarantee facility and a facility feature totalling €590m. In May 2018, the firm’s Bavarian office was augmented with the addition of Thomas Weitkamp from Clifford Chance. Daniel Ehret moved to King & Wood Mallesons in October 2017.
The practice at Linklaters was significantly bolstered by Neil Weiand and counsel Urs Lewens’s arrival in late 2017 from Allen & Overy LLP. Much of the team’s work pertains to corporate and leverage finance, infrastructure and real estate finance as well as insolvency and restructuring matters. Together with its corporate practice, Weiand advised E.ON on the financing of the intended acquisition of innogy by way of a voluntary public takeover offer, while the team called upon colleagues in the restructuring and insolvency group to assist state-owned promotional bank KfW with Air Berlin Group’s rescue aid funding, in order to temporarily maintain its flight operation. With Michal Hlásek in the lead, the team also acted for cocoa and chocolate factory Barry Callebaut and several of its subsidiaries on amending its €750m revolving credit facility. Team head Marc Trinkaus advised Waterland Private Equity on financing issues pertaining to the takeover of coeo Inkasso. Blackstone and Marlin Private Equity are also clients. Carl-Peter Feick retired in March 2018.
Ashurst LLP stands out for its ‘very good business sense, good negotiation skills, in-depth understanding of the market and excellent service level’. While the team’s strength continues to lie in handling small and mid-sized LBO financing and refinance work in the German nursing market, it was able to boost its real estate and asset finance capabilities by adding Filip Kurkowski from Baker McKenzie in January 2018, while the addition of senior associate Frederik Jahn, who joined in February 2018 from Allen & Overy LLP, increased its bench strength in acquisition finance. Securitisation specialist Martin Kaiser, who ‘has a good reputation in the sector’, was another new arrival from Baker McKenzie; he joined the firm in September 2017. As well as its increase in personnel, the team was also able to expand its client base with the addition of several loan funds, private equity firms and sovereign wealth funds. Pemberton instructed the team led by ‘very reliable and unbelievably productive’ Anne Grewlich, who is also ‘a strong negotiator’, to advise on the financing of the acquisition of Desotec, a Belgium-based provider of mobile filtration technology, by EQT VII, while BlackRock received assistance with the financing of the acquisition of the pump factory Wangen by Silverfleet Capital. Together with Bernd Egbers, Grewlich, who ‘is also well respected by the opposite party’, advised Ardian Private Debt on the unitranche financing of the acquisition of care home operator Emvia Living by Chequers Capital. The latter private equity firm also received assistance with the refinancing of existing liabilities linked to its portfolio company Cordenka.
Gleiss Lutz is praised for its ‘quick response times’, ‘very pragmatic approach’ and ‘fair pricing’ alongside its ‘good understanding of the key points’, leading to regular instructions on corporate and acquisition finance, LBOs, real estate and project finance alongside promissory note loans. In corporate finance, the team frequently acts for borrowers, but also advises banks, while, in real estate finance, it focuses on work for banks, and, in acquisition finance and LOBs, it acts for both borrowers and lenders, frequently in matters pertaining to strategic takeovers. The practice is led by Helge Kortz and includes the ‘pragmatic and quick and at the same time thorough and reliable’ Frank Schlobach, who is frequently recommended for PE-related work. He advised VDM Metals, a portfolio company of Lindsay Goldberg, on the €280m refinancing of its existing loan with a syndicated loan, a bilateral loan and a factoring line, and acted for United Internet in financing the public takeover of Drillisch by way of a syndicated loan. In other highlights, Kortz assisted Aareal Bank with the financing of the acquisition of several department stores in Hamburg; the portfolio was sold by Frankfurt investor RFR to Signa; and Eva Reudelhuber advised Steinhoff Europe on a revolving credit agreement totalling over €750m for its subsidiary Hemisphere International. Burkhard Jäkel frequently handles real estate finance matters.
‘Top’ firm Milbank receives regular instructions from banks, debt funds and other lenders alongside financial investors to assist with the full spectrum of debt financing. Its strength lies in acquisition finance, most notably in a cross-border setting and when involving capital market products, while handling corporate finance for investment grade and sub-investment grade borrowers constitutes another key element of expertise. It has notable expertise in refinancing, IPO preparation and restructuring scenarios. In co-operation with its New York office, Mathias Eisen advised Goldman Sachs Lending Partners on the refinancing of Unifrax, and, in loan financing, he and the ‘practice-oriented and very experienced’ Thomas Ingenhoven assisted BlueBay Asset Management with the takeover of Bike24 by Bridgepoint; the client provided the acquisition finance and a co-investment in the form of preferred equity, a hybrid instrument. In other noteworthy work, the team acted for an international banking consortium as mandated lead arrangers on the refinancing of the Duran Group, and advised private equity investor H.I.G on the refinancing of the acquisition of Conet Group and its add-on acquisition of the ACT Group by way of long-term senior financing with a super-senior facility feature.
The ‘very specialised’ team at Noerr is praised for its ‘very high service level coupled with a good business sense and capacity to put ideas into practice’. The ‘pragmatic and SME-focused approach’ is based on ‘very good industry knowledge’ and aims at ‘practical solutions’, leading to frequent instructions on real estate, acquisition and corporate finance including insolvency and restructuring-related matters. The team focuses on work for lenders and acts for several banking consortiums and has recently extended its market presence with several new instructions from various banks including Bank of Ireland, Deutsche Pfandbriefbank and a number of debt funds such as Crescent Capital, but the practice is also increasingly active for companies. Bank of Ireland instructed a team with Tom Beckerhoff in the lead on a super-senior financing pertaining to the acquisition of Competence Call Centre by private equity firm Ardian, and Crescent Capital received assistance with the financing of the acquisition of Abit Group by Marlin Equity Partners. Together with its office in Moscow, ‘very good’ team head Andreas Naujoks, who ‘enjoys a very good reputation in the market’, ‘grasps new matters quickly and has a high level expertise’, advised a Russian private commercial bank on the refinancing of an existing REPO transaction including secured loan agreements for a group of companies with a German holding company. Other key individuals include ‘always contactable’ Sebastian Bock, who ‘is always on top of every matter’, and the ‘very experienced’ Nikolai Warneke, who is praised for his ‘strong business acumen and structured approach’. In early 2018, Alexander Schilling joined as associated partner from Allen & Overy LLP, while, in January 2019, real estate financing expert Karsten Fink was appointed senior counsel.
White & Case LLP specialises in advising banks, sponsors and companies on leveraged finance alongside corporate, real estate, project and asset finance, while the Hamburg office is best known for its expertise in structured finance and refinance work in the energy and infrastructure sectors. Assisting with banking supervisory law and restructuring-related matters constitutes another key element. Vanessa Schürmann advised an arranger on the repricing and increase of the existing term loan B for Apcoa Parking to €380m, and assisted a banking consortium with the financing of One Equity Partners’ acquisition of SGB-SMIT Group from BC Partners. A different banking syndicate received advice on the refinancing of the German transport and logistics company Hapag-Lloyd by way of increasing a revolving syndicated loan of $125m to $145m, while, together with capital markets expert Rebecca Emory, Schürmann assisted a banking syndicate led by Deutsche Bank and J.P. Morgan with the €1.35bn refinancing of the Senvion Group, which included a €400m high-yield bond, a secured multi-currency revolving facility valued at €125m and a €825m secured multi-currency letter of guarantee facility. The team also increased its bench strength by adding several associates alongside local partner Sebastian Schrag, who joined in June 2017 from now dissolved firm Heymann & Partner. Mattias von Buttlar joined the firm in January 2018 from Clifford Chance but left again in June of the same year. Local partner Veit Sahlfeld joined Norton Rose Fulbright as of counsel in April 2018, while Andreas Lischka joined the firm as local partner from Hengeler Mueller in November 2018.
While CMS’ team has traditionally been focusing on work for borrowers, it continues to expand its capabilities acting for lenders, leading to a diversified client portfolio consisting of banks, German and international companies and sponsors. Its strengths lie in dealing with acquisition finance, most notably in the infrastructure and renewable energy sectors, and corporate finance alongside refinancing and restructuring matters, while real estate finance constitutes an increasingly significant portion of the practice’s workload; in this segment, the team has recently been advising several funds and private equity firms. Co-team heads Markus Pfaff and Marc Seibold advised Evcap on the financing of the acquisition of City Carré Magdeburg, and GSAF Holdco EUR on the financing of the acquisition of a number of student residences in various major German cities. In corporate finance, the practice assisted Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche with the issuance of a €280m promissory note loan, and advised listed corporation ElringKlinger on a €200m promissory note loan. Hirschvogel instructed the team to assist with a syndicated financing totalling €400m, while Hamburg-based Marc Riede advised construction company Hochtief on a syndicated revolving credit facility valued at €1.7bn. Highlights in the acquisition finance space included advice to strategic investor Bottega InvestCo on the financing of the acquisition of Getronics for €200m, and Afinum Siebte Beteiligungsgesellschaft on the financing of the acquisition of a majority stake in Garz & Fricke.
Hogan Lovells International LLP’s banking and finance team benefits from the firm’s international network on one hand and from strong internal ties with various other practice groups on the other, allowing the team to handle the full spectrum of acquisition and real estate finance matters alongside trade and export finance work. This leads to a balanced client portfolio consisting of borrowers and lenders, including banks and various alternative lenders such as debt funds and insurance companies, while the team has also been increasingly active for French clients such as Société Générale, which is predominately due to the expansion of the firm’s Paris office. Recent significant matters include advising Grover on an asset-backed loan structure provided by Varengold Bank, assisting Ares Management, in co-operation with the London office, with corporate financing matters, and acting for Lang LaSalle in adjusting a multi-currency loan agreement with an international banking syndicate. Patrick Mittmann, who joined Baker McKenzie in September 2018, also advised Lang LaSalle on senior notes. In acquisition finance, team head Katlen Blöcker and members from the corporate practice assisted CTDI with financing issues concerning the acquisition of Communications Test Design’s EMEA repair services division. In late 2017, counsel Sven Seibold moved to DLA Piper.
Norton Rose Fulbright provides ‘high-quality advice’, which is frequently drawn upon by national and international lenders such as banks and credit institutions but also companies acting as borrowers. Its offering includes assistance with acquisition, corporate and real estate finance as well as restructuring and insolvency-related matters. Practice head Oliver Sutter is ‘excellent, very pragmatic and solution oriented’. Hamburg-based shipping expert Timo Noftz has notable expertise in asset and project finance. Banking law expert Rüdiger Litten moved to Fieldfisher’s Frankfurt office in April, while of counsel Veit Sahlfeld joined the team from White & Case LLP at the same time. Markus Radbruch made partner in January 2019.
With a focus on the German mid-cap market and in close co-operation with its colleagues form the firm’s global network, Shearman & Sterling LLP acts for borrowers and lenders in LBO transactions, unitranche and super-senior financings alongside corporate finance. Together with its corporate practice, Esther Jansen, who jointly heads the team with Winfried Carli, advised Allianz Deutschland on financing law matters concerning the sale of its majority stake in Oldenburgische Landesbank to Bremer Kreditbank, and assisted Citic Capital China Partners III, a buyout fund managed by Citic Capital, with matters pertaining to the financing structure of a co-investment with 3i Group in the company Formel D. In other highlights, Carli advised capiton on the financing of the acquisition of Magix Software, acted for Cathay Capital on the financing of the acquisition of the automotive supplier E.Winkemann from Equistone Partners Europe, and assisted Crescent Capital with the unitranche refinancing of 3B Scientific Group, a global manufacturer of medical and scientific teaching tools. The last-mentioned mandate was co-led by Matthias Weissinger, who made partner at the end of 2017; in another highlight, he acted for Commerzbank as arranger in the refinancing of the Huber Packaging Group.
Benefiting from its global reach, the team at Baker McKenzie frequently works in conjunction with various offices from its international network. Led by Oliver Socher, the team focuses on handling syndicated loan matters as part of trade and export finance, acquisition finance and restructuring mandates, but had to face a significant loss when securities expert Martin Kaiser moved to Ashurst LLP in September 2017 followed by real estate and asset finance specialist Filip Kurkowski in January 2018. As a counterbalance, the practice added real estate finance partner Patrick Mittmann from Hogan Lovells International LLP in August 2018. Recent highlights include advising Standard Chartered Bank on a two-currency loan facility valued at $306m and €956m respectively and issued to Yapı ve Kredi Bankası, which required co-operation with the firm’s Istanbul and London offices. In other work, Socher assistedo Credit Suisse with a unitranche financing and a facility feature, and acted for Commerz Real Kapitalverwaltungsgesellschaft on the acquisition of a wind farm for its CR Institutional Renewables Energies Fund. The latter mandate was handled in co-operation with colleagues from the M&A and energy law groups and demonstrates the team’s growing capabilities in energy sector work. In further demonstration of this, the team advised a consortium consisting of 13 European and Asian banks on the financing of the acquisition of ista International, a global provider of efficient energy services. In real estate, Kathrin Marchant assisted a banking consortium with the financing of the acquisition of the Sony Center in Berlin.
With ‘outstanding industry knowledge’, DLA Piper ‘provides the full package’ and focuses on advising companies and financial institutions on acquisition finance, while handling project finance work in the energy and infrastructure sectors constitutes another central pillar of the practice. In this segment, ‘flexible and well-versed’ counsel Robert Hofbauer assisted DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale with the project financing for the offshore wind farm project Nordlicht in Norway, and advised Norddeutsche Landesbank on the project financing for one of Marguerite’s wind farm projects in Sweden valued at €60m. Team head Torsten Pokropp is ‘precise and highly experienced’ and ‘consistent’ real estate finance expert Frank Schwem is ‘an extremely strong negotiator’. The team added counsel Sven Seibold from Hogan Lovells International LLP in late 2017 but lost former practice head Wolfram Distler to Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in September 2017.
Mayer Brown LLP
The ‘reliable’ team at Mayer Brown LLP ‘achieves outstanding results for its clients within the envisaged time frame and the agreed budget’. Clients also appreciate its ‘in-depth advice and its strong commercial understanding’ alongside ‘its short response times’. The team acts for borrowers and lenders, most notably banks, funds and companies, on real estate finance, asset-based financing transactions, acquisition finance, syndicated corporate loans and restructuring matters. ‘Very good’ practice head Martin Heuber, who has ‘profound expertise’ and ‘a deep understanding of the client’s concerns’, assisted energy and infrastructure services provider Entega with a syndicated loan issued by a banking consortium. Together with the London office, the team also advised the Heide refinery, part of Klesch Group, on the refinancing of various credit financings including a high-yield bond and a hedge, and acted for a manufacturing group on refinancing a total of five syndicated bilateral credit facilities. Kirsten Schürmann was appointed counsel in November 2017, while, in the following month, Markus Strelow left the firm to work independently.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
The team at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP consists of ‘good lawyers, who take their job seriously’, leading to ‘a very high level of services and high-quality advice’. It predominately acts for borrowers, but also has a number of lender clients, on acquisition finance, structured finance, syndicated loans and debt restructurings, which frequently involve financing structures consisting of a combination of senior loans, high-yield bonds and mezzanine finance; this approach is based on a close co-operation with its tax and capital markets law teams. Team head Johannes Kremer is ‘an outstanding all-rounder in all financing-related matters’ and ‘an excellent negotiator’, who ‘considers the interdependencies between different forms of financing and by doing so, avoids conflicts’. As a highlight, he advised, among others, Key Safety Systems on two loan commitments pertaining to the acquisition of various assets and operating businesses from Takata for a total purchase price of $1.588bn. In other work, the team assisted the portfolio company of an international investment company with changing its senior credit facility, which provided an add-on term loan of over $190m and refinanced the original tranche B-2 term loan and all outstanding amounts under the secondary credit facility, and, together with its New York office, it assisted a bank with a $1.8bn secured loan agreement for a manufacturer of aluminium products.
At Taylor Wessing, clients receive ‘speedy and accurate advice’, which ‘always addresses the key points and is provided at reasonable rates’. Clients also praise its ‘very good quality of work across all seniority grades’ and note the team’s ‘commercial approach’ and ‘ability to take on the view of a lending institution’. As the key element of the practice, it predominately acts for sponsors on acquisition finance, while also offering assistance with corporate loans, restructuring and reorganisation finance alongside real estate and project finance. The ‘highly professional’ Sabine Schomaker, who stands out for her ‘deep market expertise’ and ‘very good and relaxed negotiation style’, advised Afinum Management on the financing of the acquisition of Düsseldorf-based advertising agency It Works. Other key individuals include the ‘very experienced and committed’ Clemens Niedner, who ‘is very good at negotiating and also very pragmatic’, and salary partner Ulf Gosejacob, who is recognised by clients for his ‘quick response times’ and ‘his focus on the points that matter most to the client’; he assisted Bayerische Landesbank, HSH Nordbank and SEB with acquisition finance issues concerning the takeover of NRW Building Technology by Munich-based company Bregal Unternehmerkapital and, in corporate finance, he advised Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen (Helaba) and Bremer Kreditbank (BKB) as arrangers on increasing and extending PAS Group’s syndicated credit facility.
Goodwin has real estate finance at its core but the team led by the renowned Stephan Kock also handles various other forms of loan financing and, due to the firm’s international reach and strong co-operation with its US offices in particular, it is well versed in handling US-related matters. This leads to regular instructions from, among others, German banks, which require assistance with their US business, while, in leveraged finance, the practice works in close conjunction with its Paris colleagues, and, in real estate, with its London office. In recent co-operation with its colleagues in London, the team advised real estate financing company Medical Properties Trust on the financing of a joint venture with Primonial Group with an investment value totalling €1.635bn. In other work, the team has been increasingly active in advising investors and debt funds; it advised a debt fund set up by GreenOak on the provision of a €100m loan to finance a real estate portfolio in Germany. HSH Nordbank instructed the team to advise on the financing of the acquisition of a commercial property in Germany as part of a share deal by Global Gate Capital Management. Kira Müller joined the team as international legal consultant from Baker Botts L.L.P.’s Moscow office in May 2018.
With a focus on SME sector work, Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek predominately assists borrowers with mid-cap acquisition finance and corporate finance matters but the team also advises lenders. Acting for several private equity funds, Michael Neises advised Auctus Capital Partners on the financing of Fernao Networks Group’s acquisition of Berlin-based IT system vendor globitis and Barleben-based system vendor Netzwerk Kommunikationssysteme as well as on increasing its existing financing. He also assisted the Swiss private equity firm CGS with the financing of the acquisition of a stake in Stürtz Maschinenbau, while team head Thomas Schrell, who has ‘a good overview of the market’, advised new client Katjes International on the financing of the acquisition of the Italian group Sperlari. Other highlights include advising a consortium of public-sector banks on the financing of the acquisition of speciality clinics by Ufenau Capital Partners, and assisting Premium Equity Partners with the refinancing of an external bank financing of a portfolio company. Helaba and SW Invest Finance Trade are also clients.
Jones Day provides advice on acquisition finance, corporate loans and real estate finance to both lenders and borrowers and, in doing so, frequently acts in co-operation with other offices across the network. Together with its New York office, of counsel Sascha Schmidt advised Auria Solutions USA on matters pertaining to a $350m loan granted by Bank of America consisting of a long-term loan valued at $100m, a $150m revolving credit line and a $100m fixed-term loan with deferred claim. He also assisted the management of Stürtz Maschinenbau with financing matters pertaining to the sale of its majority stake to CGS, a Swiss private equity firm, while team head Sandra-Christiane Kamper advised Emeram Capital Partners on the acquisition and the financing of two parallel transactions in the healthcare sector: firstly, the acquisition of Meona and, secondly, the acquisition of E.care bvba. Hunnewell Partners instructed the team to advise on issues concerning its joint venture with Georgian Co-Investment Fund to found Cement Invest as well as the joint venture’s acquisition of 50% voting rights and 45% of CaucasusCement Holding’s equity from HeidelbergCement Central Europe East Holding. Claudia Leyendecker is the main contact for real estate finance.
K&L Gates LLP
K&L Gates LLP is recognised for its ‘quick responses and flexible processing times’ alongside its ‘very good industry knowledge’, while the team is also ‘pleasant to work with’. Its client roster includes banks and other financial institutions, national and international companies, investors and sponsors, who regularly receive advice on domestic and cross-border financing transactions and benefit from the team’s substantial expertise in asset financing, most notably in the infrastructure sector including rail, rolling stock and aviation-related work, but it also handles acquisition finance and real estate finance. ‘Quick and flexible’ co-head Matthias Grund, who receives praise for his ‘good negotiation skills, expertise and commercial understanding’, advised private equity firm Paragon Partners Condekta on the financing of the acquisition of Condecta Group, and assisted Prime Capital with matters pertaining to the financing of the acquisition of the insolvent company Tempton and with the refinancing of existing loans including the subsequent provision of a new financing arrangement. Handling insolvency-related matters constitutes a key area of expertise for the team, which Grund jointly heads with Frank Thomas; Grund is also the main contact for infrastructure work including aviation financing. He advised on a syndicated loan agreement to refinance more than 5,000 used railway carriages and to finance approximately 1,000 new carriages. Bastian Bongertz is another key member of the team; he recently assisted a borrower with a granted real estate financing for the acquisition of three logistics properties, and advised a private equity firm on a loan agreement.
King & Spalding LLP delivers ‘high-quality work’, frequently in conjunction with its London and New York-based finance teams, among others. Due to this, Sebastian Kaufmann, who is considered ‘a specialist in pfandbriefe’ and provides ‘well-founded high-quality advice’, splits his time between the Frankfurt and New York offices. The team’s strengths lie in advising lenders and borrowers on cross-border real estate finance in the mid-cap sector. Andreas Böhme advised Tishman Speyer on financing the acquisition of Pressehaus on Alexanderplatz in Berlin from media group Bertelsmann for its new fund Tishman Speyer European Real Estate Ventures VII.
Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH
Praised for its ‘cost-efficient approach’, ‘quick response times’ and ‘straightforward manner’, Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH handles the full remit of banking and financing matters, including related areas such as insolvency and tax. This leads to regular instructions on real estate and acquisition finance alongside factoring matters but the team also increased its bench strength in project finance with the addition of Alexander Wojtek from Watson Farley & Williams LLP in December 2017. This broad offering is matched by an equally broad client portfolio consisting of numerous borrowers, showcasing the team’s strong SME sector focus, while it also acts for lenders such as banks and credit funds. The ‘solution-oriented and pragmatic’ Christoph Schauenburg ‘has excellent expertise in financing law and always focuses on the relevant issues’. He advised the English debt fund Beechbrook Capital on the financing of the acquisition of the Beinbauer Group by private equity fund H.I.G., and credit fund Idinvest Partners on the financing of the acquisition of shares in Auvesy by Brockhaus Private Equity. Fakt instructed the team to assist with the acquisition of real estate-secured loans.
Watson Farley & Williams LLP
Watson Farley & Williams LLP is particularly active in acquisition and corporate finance, most notably in the transport, real estate, private equity, energy and infrastructure sectors. Clemens Hillmer assisted Berenberg Bank with its acquisition, jointly with a Japanese financial institution, of a circa $460m performing shipping loan portfolio from the Royal Bank of Scotland, and Stefan Kilgus advised Nord/ LB Girozentrale and Nord/LB Luxembourg Covered Bond Bank on the financing of the acquisition of Albrecht & Dill Cosmetics by German Equity Partners IV, a fund managed by ECM Equity Capital Management. In another highlight, the team assisted Tank & Rast group with the refinancing of its €1.45bn senior credit facility, replacing its senior debt with a new long-term investment grade financing structure, which is based on a common terms debt platform and includes new bank facilities and senior debt securities issued in private placements to accredited investors in the US and Europe. Thomas Hollenhorst and Maren Brandes are other key members of the team. Alexander Wojtek joined Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH in December 2017.
Based on its close co-operation with its M&A, private equity and restructuring teams, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is particularly well versed in handling acquisition finance alongside public takeovers and financing matters arising from restructurings and distressed asset deals. Michael Kohl, who jointly heads the team with Wolfram Distler, advised global copper and copper alloy manufacturer KME on financing matters pertaining to the issuance of senior secured notes alongside its extension and modification of existing collateralised syndicated bank loans and cross-border factoring financing of the group. Together with its London office, the team assisted Advent International and its portfolio group Brammer with a syndicated bank loan financing as part of the acquisition of the IPH Group, and, together with its London colleagues and its German corporate team, Distler advised financial investor Novalpina Capital on the financing of its voluntary takeover offer for Tallinn-based Olympic Entertainment Group by Morgan Stanley and Raiffeisen International.