Corporate and M&A in Latin America: International firms
Latin America M&A remained steady in 2019 before the advent of the Covid-19 virus led to a sharp downturn punctuated by distressed and opportunistic activity in 2020. Pre-pandemic, Latin America's largest economy, Brazil, saw impressive deal numbers thanks in part to the government's privatisation programme, along with cross-border transactions in key sectors such as energy and agriculture. A change in political direction has hindered cross-border activity in Mexico, although a series of power deals, among other sectors, meant that interest in the region's second largest economy did not wane quite as significantly as feared. While Ecuador, along with Colombia, Peru and Chile all suffered a degree of social unrest in the second half of 2019, remarkably the latter three jurisdictions remained bright spots for M&A; Argentina, however, has drifted further out of the picture due to significant economic headwinds. Nevertheless, international firms have continued to direct their attention to Latin America for M&A opportunities, as evidenced by Paul Hastings LLP hire of a Sao Paulo team led by prominent M&A lawyer Jonathan Kellner from Shearman & Sterling LLP in August 2019; Kellner also became chair of the firm's Sao Paulo office.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton's sizeable Latin America team and longstanding commitment to the region, provides the basis for a thriving M&A practice. This includes both strategic and private equity transactions. It has particular profile in the energy, telecoms, heavy industry, manufacturing and retail, among other sectors. Its share of headline and landmark deals remains impressive with it notably advising LATAM Airlines on its strategic partnership with Delta bringing together leading airlines in North and Latin America; as part of the deal Delta acquired a 20% stake in LATAM for $1.9bn. The firm is especially active in Brazil, Mexico and Latin America's Southern Cone, but has deal flow involving the entire region, including Central America and the Caribbean. Jeffrey Lewis is a giant of Latin America M&A, advising clients such as Vale, LATAM Airlines, CODELCO and Pluspetrol. Buenos Aires partner Andres De La Cruz handles a range of transactions including big-ticket M&A deals in the Southern Cone. Francesca Odell operates in the M&A and capital markets segments, with a growing proportion of M&A and private equity transactions, particularly Brazil-related deals. Sao Paulo's Juan Giráldez is another key name for Brazil deals and Chantal Kordula has an impressive record in Mexico and elsewhere. January 2020 promotions saw Manuel Silva raised to the partnership and Jonathan Mendes become counsel. All named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise.
LATAM Airlines Group
Coca Cola Femsa
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA)
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP)
Government of Puerto Rico
- Advising CNP Assurances on a binding framework agreement establishing a new, exclusive, long-term distribution agreement in Brazil until February 2041 as part of the Caixa Econômica Federal (CEF) network.
- Representing América Móvil in connection with its $333m acquisition of 100% shares in Telefónica Móviles Guatemala.
- Represented Cable Onda in the sale of a controlling 80% stake to Millicom International Cellular.
- Advised Coca-Cola FEMSA in the exercise of a put option under a joint venture with Coca Cola, regarding a Philippines drinks bottler.
- Represented Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria in the $270m sale of its Paraguayan subsidiary, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria Paraguay, to Banco GNB Paraguay.
Clifford Chance's strong presence in Sao Paulo has enabled it gain a solid foothold in cross-border Brazil M&A. It is distinctive in having a number of senior M&A specialists based in Sao Paulo led by eminent office managing partner Anthony Oldfield. It advises an impressive number of Brazilian corporates and financial institutions and has also achieved acclaim for a series of cross-border transactions, including joint-ventures, involving both Brazilian and Asia parties. Moreover, the firm remains a big player in energy and infrastructure deals across Latin America and is forging a fine reputation in private equity investments throughout the region; in this regard it advises a number of private equity houses, sovereign wealth funds, infrastructure funds, pension funds and other institutional investors. While Argentina deals have slowed for the firm, it is still achieving good levels of activity in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. David Brinton is head Corporate/M&A for the Americas and has an excellent record in energy and infrastructure transactions in Latin America, including private equity deals. Madrid's Javier Amantegui is also active in the region, while Thais Garcia and Madrid partner Samir Azzouzi are emerging talents.
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
CVC Capital Partners
Interconexión Eléctrica (ISA)
Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM)
- Advised invstment firm Actis on the sale of Brazil-based Atlantic Energias Renováveis to China General Nuclear Power Group.
- Represented Interconexión Eléctrica in its acquisition of the Cartagena-Barranquilla highway from a consortium including Colombian developers Mario Huertas Cotes, Colpatria, Castro Tcherassi and Costa Rican developer Meco.
- Advised Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec on its acquisition of a strategic minority interest in Grupo Sura’s subsidiary SURA Asset Management.
- Represented CVC Capital Partners in an investment into a newly created joint venture to house the lubricants business of Cosan.
- Advised ENI on the sale of its entire oil and gas interest in Ecuador to Argentinian oil and gas company, PlusPetrol.
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP's core Latin America group is weighted more towards capital markets and project finance work. Yet many within the team are more than adept M&A practitioners, while a number of M&A specialists in New York are frequently engaged in Latin America deals. Moreover, the firm has an exceptionally strong Sao Paulo office that is well plugged into the wider Latin America region. The firm has worked on some of the highest profile and highest value deals in many of Latin America's primary and secondary economies. Manuel Garciadiaz is co-head of the Sao Paulo office and is a hugely respected practitioner in a range of transactional areas. He has advised on some of the biggest deals in the market, including representing Brazilian paper products manufacturer Fibria Celulose on its contested $14.4bn merger with pulp and paper mill operator Suzano Papel e Celuose, creating the world’s largest wood pulp producer. In another headline deal, the firm advised Millicom, the telecom and media company focused on Latin America and Africa, on its $1.65bn acquisition of Telefónica's operations in Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. New York partners William Aaronson, Oliver Smith, John Amorosi and Louis Goldberg are also experienced in Latin America deals.
Banco Santander (including subsidiaries: Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Mexico and Puerto Rico)
Companhia de Concessão Rodoviária (CCR)
Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (CSN)
- Advised Brazil-based, global cosmetics group Natura on its $3.5bn acquisition of Avon Products, a provider of quality beauty products.
- Advising Uniti Group on the sale of its tower businesses in Mexico, Colombia and Nicaragua to Phoenix Tower International.
- Advising Japanese IT and telecoms manufacturer Oki Electric Industry on the sale of its Brazilian IT services, software and hardware assets to NCR Corporation.
- Advising China Investment Corporation on the sale of its interests in Agriculture Investment Group, an agricultural company operating in Uruguay, to Capital Union Bank.
- Advised Enel on two share swap transactions with a financial institution to increase its equity stake in its listed Chilean subsidiary, Enel Americas, by up to 5%.
Latham & Watkins LLP's effective and evolving Latin America strategy is built on primary teams in New York and Madrid, with additional support from other offices around the US and across its global network. This has enabled the firm to gain a significant market share of cross-border transactions involving Latin America, including a growing portion of private equity deals. Energy and infrastructure is a particular area of expertise and experience. Madrid special adviser José María Aznar, the former Prime Minister of Spain, continues to open doors for the firm in Latin America, helping to cement corporate and government relationships, along with helping to develop the firm's connections to local Latin American law firms. Despite not having offices in the region, it has achieved impressive geographic coverage; Brazil is the one jurisdiction where it is a little behind some of its classic competitors, yet it did recently advise BlackRock on its acquisition of Tijoa Participacoes e Investimentos, CSE Centro de Solucoes Estrategicas, and Juno Participacoes e Investimentos, three Brazil-based power and engineering services companies. Antonio Del Pino is co-chair of the Latin America practice, having a wide-ranging focus, including a healthy diet of M&A and private equity engagements. Having advised on a series of Latin America transactions for Telefónica, he continued to advise the telecoms giant on the $1.65bn sale of Telefónica de Costa Rica TC, Telefónica Móviles Panamá, and Telefónica Celular de Nicaragua to Millicom International Cellular. Madrid's José Antonio Sánchez-Dafos is another key figure in Latin America M&A and private equity.
Digital Realty Trust
The Blackstone Group
Linzor Capital Partners
- Represented Digital Realty Trust in a $1.2bn join venture transaction with Brookfield Infrastructure Partners in connection with the acquisition of Ascenty Data Centers e Telecomunicacoes.
- Representing Northland Power on the $1.05bn acquisition of Empresa De Energia De Boyaca, a Colombia-based electrical energy company.
- Representing IPSCO Tubulars on its $1.2bn sale to Argentina’s Tenaris, a global manufacturer and supplier of steel pipes
- Represented Owens-Illinois in the $188m acquisition of Nueva Fabrica Nacional de Vidrio.
- Advised Henkel Ireland Operations and Research on the acquisition of Aislantes Nacionales, a Chile-based manufacturer of construction materials.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP's experienced Latin America partners have successfully leveraged the team's deep links to the region and the firm's outstanding position in strategic M&A and private equity. The firm has healthy client list of multinlatinas, alongside traditional multinationals and private equity houses. In private equity, the Latin America team benefits from the firm's global reputation in this segment, but the group has established a leading position in its own right. This is especially true for Todd Crider, who heads the Latin America group, and has a wide-ranging practice including a healthy diet of M&A and private equity; he splits his time between New York and Sao Paulo. Crider led the team that advised The Boeing Company on its agreement with Embraer to acquire an 80% interest in Embraer’s commercial aviation business; and has also represented SoftBank in a series of deals, including its investment in Banco Inter, one of the fastest growing online banks in Brazil. Founder of the Latin America practice David Williams is equally highly rated for M&A and private equity, including deals in Chile, Colombia and Argentina, while head of the Sao Paulo office Grenfel Calheiros has a fine record in cross-border Brazil deals. Jaime Mercado is based in New York and Sao Paulo with a broad-based practice, including M&A deals. Juan Naveira is an emerging talent, as is counsel Borja Marcos. All named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise.
Banco Caja Social
Blackstone and Blackstone
Real Estate Partners
Blue Water Worldwide
The Boeing Company
Centro Financiero BHD
Compañía de Petróleos de Chile COPEC
Empresa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones
Localiza Rent a Car
San Miguel Industrias PET
Santo Domingo Group
Sura Asset Management
- Representing Despegar.com, in connection with its definitive agreement to acquire Best Day Travel Group for $136m.
- Representing Conedi Participações, controlling shareholder of Novus Mídia (“Novus”), in Novus’ negotiations with Turner International Latin America to license the CNN news network brand in Brazil.
- Advising Volcan Compañía Minera regarding the formation of a joint venture with Cosco Shipping Ports for the development of port facilities in Chancay, Peru.
- Advising Panama’s Trademark Group and Costa Rica’s Laboratorios Stein on the sale of a portfolio of pharmaceutical products to Eurofarma.
- Representing Netshoes (Cayman Islands) in its merger with a subsidiary of Magazine Luiza.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP's Latin America practice features a high percentage of M&A in line with the firm's outstanding global position in this area. The co-heads of the Latin America group, New York partners Paul Schnell and Paola Lozano, are very much M&A specialists and recognised leaders in the region. The team represents some of the biggest multilatinas in the market, along with prominent multinationals, private equity and investment houses. It continues to earn a significant market share of the headline deals in the region. It continued to advise Odebrecht (Brazil) on the sale of its controlling interest in publicly-traded Braskem (Brazil) to LyondellBassell Industries, a deal which was suspended in June 2019. It also represented Visa along with a group of 14 banks in the $725m sale of a 51% stake in Prisma (Argentina) to Advent International. Felipe Areno is the key M&A partner in Sao Paulo.
- Advising Embraer (Brazil) on the $4.2bn sale of an 80% stake in its commercial aircraft and services business to The Boeing Company.
- Advised Hocol (Colombia), a subsidiary of Ecopetrol S.A. (Colombia), on its acquisition of certain assets, rights and obligations of the Colombian branch of Chevron Petroleum Company.
- Advising a leading Latin American transportation company in a divestiture.
- Advised Citibank on the sale of its consumer and small and medium enterprise operations in Colombia to Scotiabank (Canada) and its Colombian subsidiary, Banco Colpatria Multibanca Colpatria.
- Advising an Asian company in connection with a proposed sell-side auction of its interest in a Latin America mining project.
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is a major player in Latin America M&A, earning an impressive market share of the truly headline and transformational deals in the region. It has a history of advising on deals with a heavy regulatory or political component to them, notably China Three Gorges' $1.39bn acquisition of Empresa de Generación Huallaga in 2019. The firm then further cemented its celebrated status by advising Delta Air Lines on its strategic partnership with LATAM Airlines; Delta invested $1.9 billion for a 20% stake in LATAM through a public tender offer. Sergio Galvis has a virtually unrivalled record in big-ticket Latin America M&A, and while often singled out for his experience in the mining and resources sector, actually works across a wide variety of industries including financial services, and power and infrastructure. Werner Ahlers is building a leading practice in his own right.
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP continues to advise a number of Brazilian clients in headline cross-border transactions. Moreover, it impresses in insurance industry deals and private equity transactions across Latin America. The firm's leading compliance and investigations practice makes it particularly adept in due diligence exercises in M&A deals. Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico are other key markets for the practice. Maurizio Levi-Minzi has a long track record in Latin America transactions and David Grosgold is noted for insurance deals throughout the region; he recently advised Chubb International Holdings, Agencia en Chile on its acquisition of two Chilean insurance companies, Banchile Seguros de Vida and Segchile Seguros Generales from a subsidiary of Quiñenco and other minority investors.
Brookfield Asset Management
Canada Pension Plan No Investment Board (CPPIB)
Companhia Brasileira de No Metalurgia e Mineração
Companhia Siderúrgica No Nacional (CSN)
The Capital Group
The Carlyle Group
The Travelers Companies
- Advised Chubb International Holdings (Chile) on its acquisition of two local insurance companies, Banchile Seguros de Vida and Segchile Seguros Generales, from a subsidiary of Quiñenco and other minority investors.
- Advised The Carlyle Group on its strategic minority investment in major Brazilian casual dining restaurant chain Grupo Madero.
- Advised AFP Habitat on its acquisition of Colfondos from Scotiabank and Mercantil Colpatria.
- Advised Brookfield Business Partners and its institutional partners on their acquisition of Brazilian fleet management company, Ouro Verde.
Jones Day's principal markets are Brazil and Mexico, where it has two sizeable offices. While Mexico deal activity declined in 2019 due to the political and economic climate, the firm was boosted by an uptick in transactions in Brazil and also participated in Chile and Colombia's buoyant markets. It continues to advise a range of US and European multinationals on their deals in Latin America and represents a growing number of private equity houses and sovereign wealth funds in their investments in the region. Wade Angus splits his time between Sao Paulo and New York and has a fine record in cross-border Brazil deals. So too does Sao Paulo-based Marcello Hallake. The pair teamed up to advise ENGIE on its $8.6bn acquisition of Transportadora Associada de Gás from Brazilian state oil company Petrobras. María Luisa Cánovas, Michael McGuinness, Sao Paulo-based Latin America head Luis Riesgo, and Nicholas Rodríguez and Enrique Martin in Miami are also key team players. Sao Paulo's Artur Badra impresses at of counsel level. Named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise.
Diagnostico Maipu por Imagenes
- Advised ENGIE on its $8.6bn acquisition of Transportadora Associada de Gás from Brazilian state oil company, Petrobras.
- Advised NII Holdings on the $905m sale of Nextel Brazil to América Móvil.
- Represented Nutrien in the $4.1bn sale of its stake in Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile to Tianqi Lithium.
- Advised Exceda on its sale to Akamai Technologies, including assets in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and the US.
Paul Hastings LLP
Paul Hastings LLP significantly advanced its already burgeoning Latin America practice with the hire of a Sao Paulo team from Shearman & Sterling LLP in August 2019. This includes highly rated M&A lawyer Jonathan Kellner, who is especially noted for Brazilian M&A and has become chair of the Sao Paulo office. The broader team, which is largely centred in New York, has an excellent record in Colombia and Peru deals, along with Mexico. It has made the most of its strong connections to investment banks, which has led to the cementing of an array of corporate relationships, including in the family-owned business sector. The team is also seeing growth in private equity deals, while power and infrastructure deals are also areas of expertise; it recently advised Glenfarne Group and its subsidiaries on the $420m acquisition of Zona Franca Celsia from Celsia, which includes the Flores I and Flores IV gas fired generation plants located in Barranquilla, Colombia. Robert Leung and Mike Huang are also prominent names in the Latin America M&A environment, while Michael Fitzgerald brings unrivalled connections in Mexico. Luke Iovine and counsel Veronica Rodriguez are also key team members. All named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise.
Jaguar Growth Partners
Arezzo Indústria e Comércio
- Represented Grupo Campollo during Quantum Commerce and Nugros Investments’ sale of their equity interests in Gala Global Assets Corporation.
- Advised Accendo Banco in connection with its purchase of Deutsche Bank’s Mexican operations.
- Represented Jaguar Growth Partners in connection with its 100% acquisition of CIBRASEC, one of the largest Brazilian securitization companies.
- Advised Arezzo Indústria e Comércio on the acquisition of assets from, and a licensing and distribution agreement in Brazil with, American footwear and apparel brand, Vans.
White & Case LLP's aggressive expansion of its Latin America department has delivered considerable rewards in the M&A segment. Team additions in New York and Houston have made a significant difference, notably in private equity and infrastructure funds transactions, and in the energy and infrastructure sectors. Rodrigo Dominguez and William Parish joined the Houston office from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in April 2019 to reinforce the firm's standing in oil and gas, power, renewables and infrastructure deals. Marwan Azzi's earlier arrival in 2018 has already seen the firm grow its position in private equity and infrastructure funds, most notably for clients such as I Squared Capital Advisors. Azzi has closed a series of headline deals in Chile, Colombia and Peru, including advising Sempra Energy on the $3.59bn sale of its equity interests in its Peruvian businesses to China Yangtze Power International in September 2019. Moreover, the gradual expansion of the Houston office has also positioned the firm prominently for oil and gas deals in Latin America, particularly in Mexico. Global co-head of private equity Oliver Brahmst is also active in the region on behalf of clients such as Brookfield Asset Management; he also led the team that advised Odebrecht on its $1.39bn sale of the 456MW Chaglla hydroelectric power plant in Peru to a consortium led by China Three Gorges. Donald Baker in Sao Paulo, continues to play an anchor role in developing and maintaining Brazilian client relationships, working on key deals such as advising on Vale's $550m acquisition of Ferrous Resources.
7 Bridges Capital Partners
Brookfield Asset Management
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ)
I Squared Capital Advisors
Levi Strauss & Co
Proyectos Globales de Energia y Servicios
- Represented Vale in its $550m acquisition of Ferrous Resources.
- Advised Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, ING Bank and Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank on their $1bn acquisition of the Pampo and Enchova oil fields in Brazil.
- Represented a syndicate of ten global and Brazil-based banks, on the financing for the acquisition of 90% of the share capital of Transportadora Associada de Gas.
- Advised Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec (CDPQ) on its $500m minority investment in Invekra.
Covington & Burling LLP
Covington & Burling LLP's long-demonstrated commitment to Latin America translates into an 11-strong, core group as regards corporate and transactional matters, and the practice continues to advise on big-ticket M&A both in Mexico and points south. A mid-2018 arrival from Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Sergio Urías is co-chair of the firm's private equity practice group and heads the firm's corporate/transactional Latin America offering. Mexico and New York-qualified, Urías recently led advice to Argentine payments company Prisma Medios de Pago, on the sale of a controlling stake to Advent International. Senior counsel Rubén Kraiem has over 30 year' experience in Latin America-related transactional matters with notable strong track-record in M&A and private equity deals in Mexico, as well as a broader regional reputation for deals involving financial entities. Gabriel Mesa has also built an impressive transactional practice in the region, spanning venture capital and private equity investments, M&A, joint ventures, and strategic acquisitions and privatizations. June-2020 saw the firm made an additional hire of relevance, bringing in non-lawyer Gerónimo Gutiérrez Fernández, who has over two decades' experience in senior government positions in Mexico (in finance, trade, national security and diplomacy), as a senior adviser. Key support comes from associates Gustavo Akkerman and Andrew P Heather.
Prisma Medios de Pago
General Electric Company
Discovery Global Citizens Capital Partners
The Walt Disney Company
Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co
Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO)
- Represented Prisma Medios de Pago in its sale of a 51% interest in the company to Advent International (a deal that valued the company at $1.42bn).
- Represented Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) and fund manager Sprott Korea in the acquisition of Canadian Solar’s 49% interest in three solar photovoltaic projects in Mexico.
- Advised Spanish toll-road company, Abertis Infraestructuras, on its joint acquisition (with GIC Special Investment), of a controlling stake in major toll-road operator in Mexico, Red de Carreteras de Occidente.
Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP's eminent position in cross-border M&A is very much in evidence in Latin America deals. Over the years it has worked on many of the market's landmark and transformational deals; a case in point being its advice to Avon Products on its $3.7bn sale to Brazilian personal care group, Natura Cosméticos. It also represented Anheuser-Busch in the sale of various local brands to, and long-term bottling arrangements with, Coca-Cola in El Salvador and Honduras. David Mercado has decades of experience in Latin America deals for big-name clients; while Sasha Rosenthal‑Larrea, who was elected to the partnership in January 2019, is building an impressive Latin American client base and transactional record.
Banco Santander Río
Cisneros Group of Companies
- Represented Avon in its $3.7bn acquisition by Natura.
- Represented Anheuser-Busch in the sale of various local brands to, and long-term bottling arrangements with, Coca-Cola in El Salvador and Honduras.
- Represented The Cholula Food Company in its acquisition by L Catterton.
Greenberg Traurig, LLP has reshaped its Latin America practice following the departure of former firm vice-chair Patricia Menéndez-Cambó to become deputy general counsel at SoftBank Group in 2019, along with the exit of Randy Bullard and others to Morrison & Foerster. Given the firm's substantial Latin America-facing platform in Miami and Mexico City, in particular, it has maintained a steady pipeline of corporate transaction engagements. It represents numerous multilatinas and Latin American family groups, along with a growing cohort of private equity clients, in headline deals across the region. Recent mandates include advising Camco on the sale of a 50.1% stake in Latin American value retailer Dollarcity, to Canadian publicly-listed company Dollarama. Co-head of the Miami office Yosbel Ibarra has over 20 years' experience in Latin America M&A, private equity and joint venture transactions. Trilingual Mexico native Antonio Peña is admitted to practice in Mexico (as well as Florida) and has an excellent record in M&A and private equity both there and across Latin America. Emilio Alvarez-Farré is another hugely experienced Latin America specialist whose practice spans financing and M&A. Giovanni Biscardi and Arnaldo Rego joined - as partner and of counsel, respectively, from Carlton Fields - to bolster the Brazil side of the practice. All named individuals are based in Miami unless stated otherwise.
Amadeus IT Group
Molinos Rio de la Plata
- Advised Spanish travel technology company, Amadeus IT Group, on the acquisition of assets from an airline network planning business with a subsidiary in Chile.
- Advised Molinos Rio de la Plata, Argentina’s largest branded foods company, on the sale of shares in Delverde Industrie Alimentari for $10.4m.
- Advised the shareholders of Bolivian personal and home care products company, Astrix, on the 100% sale of the company to Unilever.
Proskauer Rose LLP has a high level of senior Latin America M&A experience in its New York office, complemented by a large and well-established team in Sao Paulo. Many within the team are native Latin Americans. The firm has built an impressive client base of multilatinas, multinationals, financial institutions, and financial investors, with clients such as AccorHotels, BTG Pactual and Frontera Energy routinely turning to the firm for big-ticket deals. The group recently advised Brazilian financial services heavyweight BTG Pactual on the sale of its 40% interest in NASDAQ-traded Estre Ambienta. Head of the Latin America group Carlos Martinez has a significant focus on M&A, for both Latin American clients and other international businesses; he has worked on a series of deals for Frontera Energy over the years. M&A partner and fluent Spanish speaker Daniel Ganitsky is an experienced figure in cross-border deals, including a high proportion of Latin America-related transactions; BTG Pactual and Graña y Montero are among his clients. Antonio Piccirillo and Fabio Yamada provide further support from Sao Paulo. Named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise.
BTG Pactual’s Timberland Investment Group
Banco GNB Sudameris
Latin America Power
Frontera Energy Corporation
- Advised Wayzata Partners on the sale of its portfolio company, Propex Brazil, to Rafitec.
- Advised a consortium led by BTG Pactual’s Timberland Investment Group in a joint venture with CatchMark Timber Trust for the $1.39bn acquisition of 1.1m acres of East Texas timberland.
- Represented Ashmore Group in its acquisition of a majority interest in Avenida Partners, a private equity real estate investment firm with over $300m of assets under management.
Shearman & Sterling LLP's fine traditions in Latin America M&A were partially diminished by the departure of key Sao Paulo partner Jonathan Kellner to Paul Hastings LLP in 2019. Despite this, the firm maintains an impressive client list of multilatinas, international businesses with Latin American interests, and a number of financial investors. Much of the firm's Latin America expertise is now centred in New York with further experience in Houston and other international offices. It has remained notably active in oil and gas, energy, infrastructure and financial services, in transactions right across the region. Recent mandates include advising major Brazilian banking and financial services group, Banco Bradesco, on its acquisition of a BAC Florida Bank, the deal enabling the firm's client to expand its retail banking presence in the US. The practice also represented Abertis Infraestructuras, co-controlled by Italy’s Atlantia and Singapore’s GIC, in its agreement to acquire a 70% stake in Red de Carreteras de Occidente, one of the largest toll road operators in Mexico. New York partner Clare O’Brien is recommended for financial investor deals, along with transactions in the energy and infrastructure sectors. Houston partner Manuel Orillac is an experienced Latin America expert with key expertise in oil and gas, notably advising Ecopetrol on its joint venture with Occidental Petroleum Corporation to develop 97,000 net acres in the Permian Basin in west Texas.
PTT Exploration & Production
EIG Global Energy Partners
Mitsui & Co
- Advised PTT Exploration and Production on the acquisition of global oil and gas assets from Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
- Advised General Electric on the sale of its 24.99% stake in YPF Energía Eléctrica.
- Advised Banco Bradesco on its acquisition of BAC Florida Bank.
Winston & Strawn LLP advises a range of US-listed Latin American businesses and continues to demonstrate its leadership in the private equity segment, both in relation to fund formation and investments/exits; Latin America co-head Talbert Navia spent seven years in the private equity industry as a founder and co-head of investments at funds focused on the US and Latin America. The firm now frequently represents Southern Cross Group, one of the largest private equity fund managers in Latin America, and a number of other financial investors. Energy, natural resources, infrastructure and technology are key sectors for the team. Latin America group co-head Allen Miller represents some of the biggest Latin American businesses in the market, many of which are listed in the US, and is noted for major corporate reorganisations and M&A. Morton Grosz is also recognised for private equity fund formation and transactions in Latin America.
Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional
Enel Generación Chile
Sociedad Química y Minera De Chile (SQM)
Southern Cross Group
SCL Energía Activa
WAMEX Private Equity Management
Calzada Capital Partners
Barrick Gold Corporation
- Represented Enel Chile in a complex reorganization involving an unprecedented $2.7bn dual-jurisdiction SEC-registered exchange offer and a $1.1bn merger.
- Advised TV Azteca and Azteca International Corporation on the divestiture of its US television holdings to HC2 Network.
- Advised special purpose acquisition company Sentinel Energy Services in connection with its $854m agreement to acquire a majority interest in infrastructure and projects group, Strike Capital.
Baker McKenzie LLP's ubiquitous presence across Latin America brings it exceptional regional credibility and exposes it to a high volume of cross-border deals. It has some 160 M&A lawyers across 15 offices in seven Latin American jurisdictions. The firm's Chicago, New York and Miami offices are also frequently involved in Latin America deals. Along with cross-border M&A, the firm has achieved prominence in private equity transactions. The highly rated Buenos Aires office led a cross-border team that advised Advent International on its acquisition of a 51% share in Prisma Medios de Pago, the main payment and credit card processor in Argentina. The Chicago office also led the firm's advice to China Yangtze Power Company on its $3.59bn purchase of Sempra Energy's Peruvian businesses, including an 83.6% stake in Luz del Sur, the utility company serving the southern region of Lima, Peru. Lima partner Liliana Espinosa is regional chair of the Latin American M&A and private equity group. Buenos Aires partner Gustavo Boruchowicz, Anna Mello and Daniel Facó in Sao Paulo, and Leon Larrain in Santiago, are also prominent partners.
LVMH Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy
Advent International Corporation
China Yangtze Power Company (CYPC)
Teléfonica del Perú
DEA Deutsche Erdoel
- Acting as lead counsel to Hitachi on its $11bn acquisition of Swiss engineering group ABB’s power grid business –Hitachi’s largest-ever acquisition.
- Acting as lead counsel to LVMH on its $3.2bn acquisition of NYSE-listed, London-based hotel owner/operator Belmond, a deal with Brazilian, Mexican and Peruvian aspects.
Dechert LLP has an excellent record in major Latin American economies such as Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Chile. The firm has especially deep experience in financial institutions deals; a case in point being its recent advisory to Australis Partners on its agreement to acquire a 50% stake in Colombia businesses Alianza Fiduciaria and Alianza Valores from Advent International. In 2019, the firm also advised Cinépolis de México on its proposed acquisition of Moviehouse & Eatery, a dine-in movie theatre circuit in Texas. Private equity is another strength of the Latin America group. New York partner Howard Kleinman has over 20 years' experience of working in Latin America, including a high number of M&A and private equity transactions. Washington DC's Bernardo Piereck is an emerging talent, best known for his work on Mexico M&A and private equity deals, although he is also involved in transactions across the region.
Alden Global Capital
Argentem Creek Partners
Cinépolis de México
Inversiones Santa Teresita
- Represented Citadel and various bondholders in connection with the complete restructuring of Colombian airline Avianca Holdings.
- Provided environmental and toxic tort advice to US Ecology regarding its acquisition of NRC Group Holdings, in an all-stock $966m merger.
DLA Piper LLP (US)'s extensive Latin America practice sits in multiple offices across the US and Latin America itself. Team members in New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Houston and Miami work frequently on Latin America deals, while Madrid, Mexico City and Puerto Rico branches provide further vital connections in the region. Further offices in Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Peru, along with a cooperation agreement with Campos Mello Advogados in cooperation with DLA Piper in Brazil, make the firm a more than credible player throughout the region. This has enabled the firm to build an impressive client base of multilatinas and Latin America-focused financial investors. It also works with a number of multinationals that have interests in the region. Recent mandates include advising Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnership Authority on the long-term concession of the San Juan Bay cruise ship terminals. The Chile and Peru offices teamed up to advise American Tower Corporation on its asset acquisition from Entel of up to 3,242 towers in Chile and its subsidiary in Peru. Miami partner Francisco Cerezo is US head of Latin America corporate and has an excellent record in headline cross-border and multi-jurisdictional transactions. Bogota partners Juan Manuel de la Rosa and Felipe Quintero are also highly rated, as are Paulo Larrain in Chile, Argentina's Marcelo Etchebarne and Eduardo Gallastegui in Mexico.
Graña y Montero
- Assisted Statkraft Energias Renováveis with a merger in the energy sector, and with its first successful auction participation, securing the company contracts to provide wind power.
- Represented Inversiones Firpo and Grupo Cosbaj in their acquisition of shares representing the capital stock of Operadora de Hoteles Costa Baja.
Herbert Smith Freehills
Herbert Smith Freehills' Latin America practice has traditionally centred on project development and financings in the oil and gas sector. More recently, the firm has achieved considerable growth in M&A and corporate work, especially in the oil and gas and mining sectors. The Latin America team has also experienced an uptick in distressed transactions and in Asian clients looking to acquire projects and energy assets in the region. The group features a mix of English, New York and Australian qualified lawyers, many of whom speak Spanish, Portuguese or both. New York partner Edward Dougherty covers both finance and M&A, especially in the oil and gas sector. London based Pedro Rufino Carvalho was elevated to partner in May 2019 and has since ascended to co-head of the Latin America practice; he has a particularly fine record in cross-border M&A in Brazil. London's Laura Hulett is also experienced in Latin America oil and gas deals.
Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM)
Macquarie Development Corporation
- Advised Trident Energy on the acquisition of Brazilian oil and gas assets from Petrobras.
- Acted for Ocyan on an M&A process for the disposal of its pipe-laying support vessels.
Hogan Lovells US LLP is widely known for its representation of sovereigns, quasi-sovereigns and SOEs, although it has developed a flourishing practice on behalf of multilatina and the family-owned businesses. It continues to be recognised for its work in Ecuador, Venezuela and Central America, and is a growing force in other major economies. Energy and infrastructure are two key industry sectors for the Latin America practice, which is largely spread across the firm's Miami, New York, Houston, Mexico City, Monterrey, and Sao Paulo offices. Jorge Diaz-Silveira is managing partner of the Miami office and is active in M&A for multilatinas and other international clients. Mexico City managing partner Juan Francisco Torres Landa has a fine reputation for corporate reorganisations and energy-sector transactions.
Holland & Knight LLP
Holland & Knight LLP has an impressive Latin America M&A practice spread over multiple offices, notably Miami, New York, Mexico City and Bogota. It numbers over 150 Spanish or Portuguese speaking lawyers and a combination of on the ground credibility and in-depth knowledge of the region has landed it a string of impressive engagements. The Mexico City office recently advised Telefónica Group on the sale of 11 data centers across multiple jurisdictions, including in Mexico, to Asterion Industrial Partners, a Pan-European infrastructure fund manager. Roberto Pupo is chair of the Latin America Practice Group and is a prominent name in cross-border Latin America deals, most notably representing multinationals in acquiring and selling businesses in the region; in 2019, he led the team that advised Dollorama, the Canadian value retailer on its acquisition of a 50.1% interest in Latin America’s Dollarcity. George Mencio is firm-wide co-leader of the corporate, M&A and securities practice and has a significant focus on Latin America. Executive partner in Bogota Enrique Gómez-Pinzón has a fine reputation in Colombia deals. Luis Rubio is an important figure in Mexico City. Named individuals are based in Miami unless stated otherwise.
Aero Hardware and Supply
Takeout – Individual Foodservice Holdings
Telefonica – Project Daytona
Walter Surface Technologies
- Advised Barcelona-based fashion and beauty group Puig on its acquisition of a minority stake in Colombian beauty company, Loto del Sur.
- Advising Telefónica Group on the sale of its 11 data centers across multiple jurisdictions, including in Mexico, to Asterion Industrial Partners.
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP has an outstanding M&A record in Latin America, most notably in the financial services and telecoms sectors. Central America is very much a sweet spot for the Latin America M&A team, which is primarily located in Miami. Fernando Alonso has over 30-years' experience in M&A and private equity transactions, including cross-border deals involving Latin American businesses; this includes a series of headline transactions in the financial services sector. Moreover, he is noted for representing Latin American businesses expanding into the US, such as advising Guatemala's Grupo TRT y Credichapin on the growth of its business in the US and the negotiation of various contracts with business partners and providers. Fernando Margarit is noted for deals in the telecoms and subsea cable system sectors. Uriel Mendieta provides further senior level M&A experience, including in financial services, real estate and telecoms. All named individuals are based in Miami.
Banco de Sabadell
Promerica Financial Corporation
Sucro Can Sourcing / SC Americas
Grupo TRT y Credichapin
Rotoplas / Molding Acquisition Corporation
- Advised Promerica Financial Corporation on its bid to acquire various subsidiaries from The Bank of Nova Scotia, in El Salvador.
- Advised Sucro Can Sourcing / SC Americas’ majority shareholder on the acquisition and financing of minority shareholders’ interests, as well as on a reorganization and additional investments by new minority shareholders.
Linklaters LLP has an excellent reputation for cross-border M&A involving Latin America, especially Brazil. The firm's well-established Sao Paulo office has a significant focus on M&A and has worked with a growing number of Brazilian businesses, such as meat and protein company Marfrig, on a series of cross-border deals. Highly rated M&A partner Alberto Luzárraga retired in March 2020, although Sao Paulo and New York-based Gabriel Silva is emerging as a prominent name in Latin America M&A. Matthew Poulter covers finance, capital markets and M&A, and has a number of key Brazilian clients.
Mayer Brown has a well-established Latin America-facing M&A practice, in large part centred on Houston. Much of the practice is focused on oil and gas, along with the energy and infrastructure sectors more broadly. Moreover, the firm's association with Tauil & Chequer Advogados in association with Mayer Brown in Brazil and growing office in Mexico City, makes it well-positioned for deals involving Latin America's two largest economies. The Sao Paulo office advised ENGIE and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) on their $8.6bn acquisition of a 90% shareholding stake in Transportadora Associada de Gás. Houston partners Pablo Ferrante and Jose Valera are noted for oil and gas deals in Mexico and beyond. New York's Kevin Sheridan has a significant focus on Latin America, covering a broad number of geographies and industry sectors, including in the agribusiness and natural resources industries. Sao Paulo partner Carlos Motta is also a highly reputed specialist in Brazil M&A, with Sao Paulo colleague Alexandre Chequer noted for energy M&A, while Raúl Fernández-Briseño is a key name in Mexico City.
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ)
Sumitomo Metal Mining
Vista Oil and Gas
- Represented Sumitomo Metal Mining (SMM) on its acquisition of a $1.2bn, 30% indirect interest in Compañia Minera Teck Quebrada Blanca, the owner and operator of Quebrada Blanca, from Teck Resources.
- Represented Credit Suisse-GTI Statia as arranger in an acquisition facility for Prostar Capital.
Milbank plays to its strengths in the energy and infrastructure sectors in Latin America, most notably in deals for private equity and financial investor clients. Head of the global corporate group John Franchini has led a series of major transactions in the region, including advising GIC Special Investment on its joint acquisition -with Abertis Infraestructuras- of an approximately 72% stake in Red de Carreteras de Occidente, an integrated operator and developer of infrastructure and the largest privately-owned toll road concessionaire in Mexico. In another headline transaction, the firm advised Canadian Solar on its sale of three solar photovoltaic projects in Mexico to Korea Electric Power Corporation. Sao Paulo partner Fabiana Sakai plays a pivotal role on cross-border Brazil deals and recently advised Magazine Luiza on its agreement to acquire Netshoes. Francisco Nuñez was elected to the partnership in January 2020 and is another Latin America M&A specialist. Named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP's Latin America practice is largely energy oriented, along with a high proportion of banking and telecoms deals. Private equity and venture capital is also an important segment for the group. The team has a fine record in Brazil and Mexico transactions, although it is active throughout the region. Recent mandates include advice to Enel on its proposed acquisition of Peruvian distribution and generation companies Luz del Sur and Tecsur, owned by Sempra Energy. Humberto Padilla Gonzalez is licensed in Mexico, New York and Texas and has deep experience in Mexico deals. Bolivian-born John Crespo handles transactions across the region, while Felipe Alice is licensed to practice in Brazil, Texas and New York. Washington DC partner Ulises Pin is a leader in Latin America telecoms deals.
Patriotic Energies and Technologies
Gaia Importação, Exportação e Serviços
Kellogg Brown & Root
- Represented Atlas Capglo, a Mexican asset manager, in connection with the first-ever investment by a Mexican pension plan in US-based private equity funds.
- Advised Seco Tools, a division of Sandvik Machining Solutions, on its strategic acquisition of the cutting tools division of Quimmco Centro Tecnológico.
Uría Menéndez has a strong flow of inbound and outbound deals, thanks to its deep connections to the region both as a Spanish firm and solid presence in Latin America itself through Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría, the multi-jurisdictional firm -with Chilean, Colombian and Peruvian- offices in which it participates in. Moreover, well established Brazil, Cuba and Mexico desks further its credentials as a regional player. The Iberian firm represents a range of multinationals, private equity houses and a growing number of Latin American businesses. Madrid partner Eduardo Rodríguez-Rovira has extensive experience in the region and has led the Latin America group for nearly two decades. Juan Martín Perrotto is noted for Latin America deals involving European and Asian entities. Pablo González-Espejo maintains a strong cross-border Brazil practice having led the firm's Sao Paulo office between 1999 and 2003. Madrid associate Lourdes Dávalos leads the Cuba desk and recently advised Grupo Damm, the Spanish beverage business, on the negotiation and implementation of a joint venture with Cuban state-owned food conglomerate, Coral, for the design, construction and operation of a plant producing soft drinks and mineral water in Cuba.
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
- Advising Grupo Konecta on its acquisition of Uranet Projetos e Sistemas.
- Counsel to Metso Corporation on the acquisition of 100% of the shares of Industrial Support Company through its Chilean company, Metso Chile.
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is cementing its position in Latin America M&A with a growing depth of team. While more focused on project finance, the March-2020 arrival of Jorge Kamine from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP gives the firm additional credibility in energy transactions and more acute knowledge of the Brazil and Chile markets, among others. The firm is a growing force in Latin America private equity, both in the middle market and large-cap spaces, for clients such as Insight Partners. Insurance, energy and technology are also key industries for the Latin America team, which is led by Colombia native and M&A specialist Maria-Leticia Ossa Daza. Colombia and Mexico are other key markets for the overall practice. The core Latin America team in New York works especially closely with the Paris office, which is involved in a number of infrastructure projects in the region.
BNP Paribas Cardif
Zurich Insurance Group
Vilmorin & Cie
John Laing Group
Maurel et Prom
- Advised John Laing Group on its $80m acquisition of a 30% stake in Colombia’s Concesionaria Ruta del Cacao, the company’s first ever investment in Latin America.
- Advised BNP Paribas Cardif in the negotiation of a long-term bancassurance strategic alliance in Latin America with Scotiabank.
Brown Rudnick LLP
Brown Rudnick LLP has a long history with Latin America, notably in M&A, private equity, corporate restructurings and distressed acquisitions and disposals; it also has a strong global standing in restructurings. The firm continued to advise Smithsonian Channel on corporate and regulatory requirements arising from its joint venture with Direct TV Latin America in 23 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. It also represented a US-based business on a corporate restructuring and transaction involving interests in two agribusinesses in Latin America. In addition, it is the standing advisor to Endeavor Catalyst on its multiple investments and transactions throughout the region. Alejandro Fiuza is highly rated for Latin America M&A and private equity; he is Argentina (as well as New York) qualified, having previously been a partner at leading Argentine firm Marval O’Farrell Mairal. New York's Clara Krivoy is dual qualified in New York and Venezuela, while Adolfo Garcia is another hugely experienced Latin America specialist. Named individuals are based in Boston unless stated otherwise.
Endeavor Global, Endeavor Catalyst and Endeavor Catalyst I and II
Puerto Rico Oversight Board
Audax Management Company
The Catalyst Capital Group
The Smithsonian Channel
Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)
- Advised Overseas Private Investment Corporation in connection with the issuance of a guarantee for Banco La Hipotecaria’s securitization of a $100m portfolio of mortgage loans originated in Panama and El Salvador.
CMS has made rapid inroads into the Latin America M&A segment, in part thanks to the reputation and connections of its local teams, particularly in Peru, Colombia and Chile. With a track record of acting alongside US firms on cross-border M&A and private equity deals as well as working with European colleagues these offices have extensive experience in assisting multilatinas in their expansions and investments into other jurisdictions. An increasing amount of the firm's Latin America caseload is in the private equity sphere. The Mexico City office has a growing portion of M&A work, while the Rio team is noted for M&A in the energy sector, including oil and gas, particularly deals involving European entities. Key partners include Peru's Juan Carlos Escudero and Chile partner Jorge Allende Destuet; both are noted for cross-border M&A and private equity deals.
Société Général De Surveillance
Boehringer Ingelheim Promeco
- Advised US multinational private equity firm, Blackstone, on the acquisition of a stake in US investment fund FRS Capital, which resulted in Blackstone gaining an indirect shareholding in Carrix, a leading container terminal operator in the Americas.
Cuatrecasas extended its presence in Latin America with the 2019 launch of a Peru office, adding to its existing offices in Mexico and Colombia. Recent mandates have involved the latter jurisdictions, with a cross-office team advising international catering business Elior Group on the sale of travel catering company Areas -operating in Colombia, Mexico, Portugal and Spain- to PAI Partners. Key figures across the region include Bogota partner Alfonso Reina, noted for M&A in the energy and infrastructure sectors; Mexico City partner Santiago Ferrer, who has a fine reputation for M&A in the jurisdiction; and Óscar Trelles, who has an excellent record in M&A and private equity in Peru; he joined the new Lima office from Estudio Echecopar member firm of Baker McKenzie International in July 2019. Javier Villasante leads the corporate practice in Madrid and also has extensive experience in Latin America M&A and private equity.
Compañia Logística de Hidrocarburos
- Advised on the negotiation of a purchase agreement with the Matte family to acquire 71.3% of Chilean company Puertos y Logística (Pulogsa) and on the takeover bid for 100% of its share capital.
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP remains best known for transactions involving the energy and infrastructure sectors. Its market leading compliance and investigations practice also provides it with strong capabilities in transactions involving additional sensitivities and complexities, such as anti-corruption concerns. Recent mandates saw the team advise GS Infrastructure Partners II, the investment fund managed by Goldman Sachs' merchant banking division, on the sale of its interest in Autopistas Metropolitanas de Puerto Rico. Lead partner Tomer Pinkusiewicz has extensive experience in energy and infrastructure deals. The team also advised Cell Site Solutions, the Sao Paulo-based Goldman Sachs portfolio company, on its sale to IHS Holding.
Ropes & Gray LLP is a global leader in private equity fund formation and private equity transactions, this being key to its flourishing Latin America practice. Many of its clients are private equity and financial investors, although strategic M&A also features prominently for Latin America. The firm's eminent anti-corruption and international risk group has also given it the platform to expedite the growth of the transactions-side of the Latin America practice. Chicago partner Matthew Posthuma is a key figure in fund formation, investments and other deals in Brazil, Mexico and other major economies. Boston partners Sarah Schaffer Raux and Christian Westra are noted for distressed transactions and private equity deals respectively.
Sidley Austin LLP
Sidley Austin LLP has a long history with Latin America and remains particularly noted for energy and natural resources deals. Houston partners David Asmus and Brian Bradshaw are prominent oil and gas lawyers with considerable Latin America experience. New York partner Alyssa Grikscheit remains key for private equity and funds-related M&A.
Vinson & Elkins LLP remains well known for energy and infrastructure M&A, particularly in the upstream oil and gas sector and in the renewables field. It represents a wide array of international energy companies and private equity houses and recently advised Riverstone Energy on its agreement to invest $100m in independent Argentine oil and gas company Aleph Midstream. San Francisco partner Boyd Carano has strong credentials in Latin America upstream, midstream, power and clean energy deals. New York's Eamon Nolan is noted for Mexico power and renewables transactions; he led the team that advised Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets on its 2019 acquisition of multiple renewable power portfolios in Mexico.
Exxon Mobil Corporation
Pattern Energy Group
Equinor (formerly Statoil)
Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets
- Advised Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets on the acquisition of two generating wind farms, as well as a solar expansion plant, from Grupo Dragon in Mexico.