Commercial, corporate and M&A in Portugal
Linklaters attracted a number of high-value matters, among them advising Unilever on the Portuguese aspects of the €6.82bn sale of its global spreads business. Practice head Marcos de Sousa Monteiro is highly recommended, as is ‘hardworking’ counsel Diogo Plantier Santos. Distressed and public M&A also count among the team's strengths.
Fielding a large team with international reach, Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados handled a number of cross-border transactions, such as assisting Mystic Invest with the sale of Monumental Palace Hotel to the Paris Inn Group, and Indorama with acquisitions of a number of distressed industrial properties. EDP, Sonae, and several financial institutions count among the clients. Porto-based Carlos Osório de Castro is ‘undoubtedly a reference’; Eduardo Paulino is a 'well-rounded transactional lawyer with an old-school approach of dealing with other parties’; managing partner Nuno Galvão Teles and Tomás Vaz Pinto are also recommended.
PLMJ stands out for its ‘ability to anticipate needs and goals’, is ‘always available’ and ‘exceeds expectations’. With deep private equity expertise, it advised Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 5 on the acquisition of Empark; senior associate Rita Albuquerque was involved in this matter. The team also assisted ELQ Investors VIII and Omega Luxco with taking a stake in Outsystems. Other names to note are Diogo Perestrelo and Luís Sáragga Leal. Tomás Pessanha and Manuel Liberal Jerónimo, who was previously a managing associate with the firm, left to join Garrigues Portugal. Manuel Santos Vítor is now with Abreu Advogados. Maria João Ribeira Mata is now with Miranda & Associados.
Uría Menéndez – Proença Carvalho's team is ‘very capable and motivated’. Antonio Villacampa assisted Meo in the attempted acquisition of Vertix, 94.69% owner of Grupo Media Capital and Francisco Brito e Abreu advised Alantra on the acquisition of a 70% stake in MD Moldes. Catarina Tavares, who displays ‘immense work capacity’ and ‘delivers excellent ideas’, made partner. Jorge Brito Pereira left the firm in 2020.
VDA handles high-value, complex transactions for an impressive roster of clients. It advised MEO – Serviços de Comunicações e Multimédia on the €660m sale of its telecoms tower business in Portugal and attracted a number of transactions in the financial services sector. The ‘fantastic’ Jorge Bleck is ‘a reference for everything he has done’; he co-heads the team with Paulo Olavo Cunha. Helena Vaz Pinto, Claudia Cruz Almeida and managing partner João Vieira de Almeida are also recommended.
Abreu Advogados is valued for its ‘top executive management, proximity to the client, and broad skill set and expertise’. Highlights included assisting Ceetrus with the acquisition of Forum Montijo, Forum Sintra and Sintra Retail Park from Blackstone. José Maria Corrêa de Sampaio and Ana Sofia Batista jointly head the practice. Inês Sequeira Mendes is another name to note. Manuel Santos Vítor was a new arrival from PLMJ in July 2019.
‘Very responsive and deal-oriented’, CMS provides 'excellent advice throughout all stages of the transaction’. It was active in the real estate, energy and environmental sectors, and assisted Vinci with the acquisition of a 51% stake in duty free shop operator LFP – Lojas Francas de Portugal. ‘Dedicated’ practice co-head Francisco Xavier de Almeida is ‘a good negotiator’ and ‘very experienced dealmaker’. Practice co-head João Caldeira is the other name to note.
Clients single out Cuatrecasas’ team for its ‘understanding’ of issues and its ‘commercial approach’. It assisted BPI with the sale of Dolce VitaTejo to AXA Investment Managers. The practice also benefits from the firm’s Iberian remit. José Diogo Horta Osório and Luís Soares de Sousa, both Lisbon-based, and José De Freitas and Filipe Avides Moreira, who are both based in Porto, are jointly heading the practice. Mariana Norton dos Reis is ‘swift, sharp and to-the-point’.
DLA Piper ABBC has built a strong practice in financial-sector M&A, with a particular focus on assisting clients with private equity and venture capital investments. Other highlights included advising EDP Renováveis on the takeover bid for the client as well as for EDP by China Three Gorges. Nuno Azevedo Neves and João Costa Quinta head the team.
Garrigues was busy with a variety of M&A transactions, with a particular focus on the real estate sector; it assisted Merlin Properties with the acquisition of the Almada Forum shopping centre from Blackstone, a matter led by Mário Lino Dias. He heads the practice jointly with Diogo Leónidas Rocha, Marta Graça Rodrigues and Susana Pimenta de Sousa. Tomás Pessanha and principal associate Manuel Liberal Jerónimo were new arrivals from PLMJ.
SLCM | Serra Lopes, Cortes Martins & Associados' 'very attentive' team handles the full range of corporate and M&A work. A particular highlight was its advice to high-profile client China Three Gorges on the takeover of EDP. Luis Miguel Cortes Martins, Rafael Lucas Pires and Martim Anahory jointly head the practice. Senior associate Pedro Silveira Borges is noted for being ‘client-driven, always diplomatic when dealing with counterparts, but never losing sight of the client's goals and interests’.
‘Flexible and absolutely dedicated’, SRS Advogados has particular energy-sector expertise; it assisted IKEA with the acquisition of a wind farm. Private equity is another strength, and it assisted Cabot Square Capital with the sale of 321 Crédito to Banco CTT. Octávio Castelo Paulo, William Smithson and Pedro Rebelo de Sousa jointly lead the team.
Gómez-Acebo & Pombo
Especially strong in the insurance, energy and technology sectors, Gómez-Acebo & Pombo is noted for the ‘quality, depth and breadth of its legal advice’ and the team's ‘negotiation skills’. It acts for domestic and international clients in transactions frequently involving cross-border aspects. Managing partner Mafalda Barreto is recommended. She leads the team jointly with Miguel de Avillez Pereira.
APTS - Alves Pereira & Teixeira de Sousa, S.P., R.L. assists clients with day-to-day corporate and commercial matters. João Pedro Alves Pereira leads the team.
Caiado Guerreiro is noted for its 'commercial understanding' and 'proximity' to clients; the team handles transactional, corporate and restructuring work and advised Dell on the Portuguese aspects of the sale of its IT services business. João Caiado Guerreiro and Ricardo Rodrigues Lopes jointly head the team.
Carlos Aguiar, Ferreira de Lima & Associados - Sociedade de Advogados, R.L.
Carlos Aguiar, Ferreira de Lima & Associados - Sociedade de Advogados, R.L. acts for domestic and international clients such as Bloomberg, Smith & Nephew and Xerox. Carlos Aguiar, Maria Sottomayor and Tiago Ferreira de Lima are the key contacts.
CCA Law firm is ‘time efficient, prompt at responding, and understands clients' needs’. Sephora, Accor Hotels, Havas Group and Europcar all form part of the client roster. Domingos Cruz and managing associate Rita Trabulo jointly lead the team along with managing associate Sara Reis, who joined from Miranda & Associados.
Raposo Bernardo covers a broad range of work and is noted for its ‘great sense of customer service’ and its ‘focus on finding solutions’. It assisted Kodak Lens with franchise agreements and regularly acts for key client Iberostar Hotels & Resorts. The ‘perceptive, smart and fast’ Nelson Raposo Bernardo ‘unlocks all the more complicated legal problems’; Joana Andrade Correia is ‘quick and efficient’.
Active in M&A, corporate reorganisations and private equity matters, RRP Advogados is considered to be a ‘real partner’ by clients. It benefits from an international network through its association with EY and assisted Thomson Reuters with its intragroup reorganisation, including the sale of its Financial and Risk business to Blackstone. Principal Rodrigo Falcão Nogueira and associate João Ornelas Camacho provide ‘precious help and explanation’; ‘best-in-class’ principal Manuel Cordeiro Ferreira also covers capital markets and financial services matters; ‘hands-on’ associate Jacinta Amorim Vieira is also recommended.
Albuquerque & Almeida
The ‘cohesive and stable’ team at Espanha e Associados assisted key client food and drinks company Portugália - Administração de Patrimónios with the acquisition of Nata da Nata, Tardes de Somas and Temas Definidos, owners of popular bakery A Manteigaria. Practice head Rita Beirôco and senior associate Madalena Barros Rodrigues are singled out.
JPAB - José Pedro Aguiar-Branco Advogados
Miranda & Associados
Miranda & Associados provides the full range of corporate, commercial and M&A services. Traditionally focused on African countries, the firm is investing in developing its Portugal practice. Of late, the team acted for clients domestically, while being able to rely on its international network. Alberto Galhardo Simões heads the group. Maria João Ribeira Mata was a new arrival from PLMJ.
Capitalising on its nationwide spread, PRA-Raposo, Sá Miranda & Associados, Sociedade de Advogados RL assisted national SMEs and large companies and venture capital clients with M&A transactions and corporate matters. It is noted for the ‘interdependence between the teams, the close attention paid to clients, the availability, and wide-ranging advice’. Pedro Raposo leads the team; Miguel Miranda is based in Porto and also covers competition matters.