Commercial, corporate and M&A in Spain
Allen & Overy
Allen & Overy's 'deal-oriented' team stands out for its 'strong partner involvement' and 'excellent availability'. Particularly renowned for handling energy and infrastructure transactions, it assisted industrial group Grupo Villar Mir and infrastructure group OHL with the sale of OHL Concesiones to IFM Investors. Another major highlight was advising Atlantia on its takeover bid for Abertis. Fernando Torrente is a leading lawyer in the field and Iñigo del Val is 'a true adviser rather than focusing on merely providing legal analyses'. Ignacio Hornedo was promoted to partner in May 2018. The team saw the addition of counsel Teresa Méndez, a public M&A expert, who joined from Cuatrecasas in July 2018.
Clifford Chance's clients 'can rely on the team to design the right strategy for the deal' and its peers acknowledge it 'feels like a local team thanks to its maturity in the market'. As such, it advises many Ibex 35 companies such as construction group ACS; the client retained the team to advise on its joint venture with Atlantia and Hochtief - which had both launched competing initial takeover bids - for a joint investment in Abertis. Another highlight was assisting IFM Investors with acquiring a 49% stake in water management company FCC Aqualia from construction company FCC for a purchase price of over €1bn. In this instruction, Samir Azzouzi and Javier Amantegui cooperated with UK and US partners. Luis Alonso has 'very strong negotiation skills' and is recommended along with Jaime Velázquez, José María Fernández-Daza and Javier García de Enterría. is the name to note in Barcelona.
Cuatrecasas is regularly involved in some of the largest M&A deals in the Spanish market. Highlights in 2018 included assisting Taiyo Nippon Sanso with the Spanish part of its €5bn acquisition of Praxair’s European business; advising Saeta Yield on the €2.5bn takeover bid launched by TerraForm Power; and acting for Acciona Energía on the €1.1bn sale of Acciona Termosolar to ContourGlobal. The impressive client roster also includes Comsa, Ficosa and Pernod Ricard. The team is co-headed by leading individuals Javier Villasante and Victor Xercavins and also includes the recommended Juan Aguayo and Federico Roig.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
International heavyweight Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is able to handle major M&A deals in Spain despite its comparatively small team of four partners. One of the largest deals handled was advising Hochtief on its intended takeover of Abertis, as well as on the subsequent joint bid with Atlantia and construction group ACS. The team also assisted Inmobiliaria Colonial with its €1.5bn takeover bid for a 71% stake in Axiare Patrimonio. Other real estate investment fund clients include Merlin Properties and Hispania Activos Inmobiliarios, while Ibex 35 companies such as Repsol and Amadeus also form a significant part of the client portfolio. David Franco, José Armando Albarrán and Javier Monzón are the key names, along with Alfonso de Marcos, who made partner in May 2018.
'Combining technical knowledge with a practical approach', the 'experienced' team at J&A Garrigues SLP includes leading lawyers Mónica Martín (who is 'always available'), Álvaro López-Jorrín and managing partner Fernando Vives ('proactive and practical'). On the seller side, it advised Telefónica on the sale of a 40% stake in its telecom masts subsidiary Telxius to private equity firm KKR, and acted for Samsung on the sale of its printers and operations business to HP. A recent merger highlight was assisting Iberdrola Energía on the combination of Elektro Holding (which is controlled by the client) and Neoenergia.
Linklaters receives praise for its 'agility, pragmatism and quick responses’. The M&A group is a popular choice for complex cross-border transactions, which it handles in cooperation with its international offices. Lara Hemzaoui advised the investors on the acquisition of Naturgas Energía Distribución and its subsidiaries from EDP, while Alejandro Ortiz assisted China Three Gorges with the takeover bids launched for EDP and EDP Renováveis. Víctor Manchado, José Giménez and managing associate Esteban Arza are also key names.
Uría Menéndez's corporate and M&A team has 'the capability to react to unexpected matters' and is 'fully available for its clients' concerns'. A highlight was advising Abertis on a voluntary takeover offer launched by Hochtief for all of the client's shares. Juan Martín Perrotto, the 'lawyer you want on your side of the table during complex transactions', is 'involved from start to finish' and 'outstanding in terms of technical capacity'. Juan Miguel Goenechea, Juan Falcón and Salvador Sánchez-Terán are leading lawyers in the field, and Stephen Hess, Manuel Echenique and senior associate Tomás Acosta are recommended.
While covering the full range of corporate and M&A work, Ashurst LLP is particularly experienced in handling distressed assets transactions and investments in special situations. For example, it advised Haya Real Estate on the acquisition of the real estate servicing platform Mihabitans Cartera from Liberbank. In other work, it assisted Aviva with a transaction through which insurance company Santalucía took the client's place in a joint venture with Unicaja. María Menéndez and Jorge Vázquez are standout practitioners.
Baker McKenzie provides a 'personalised service' and frequently collaborates with other departments to meet the needs of its corporate clients. The group has niche expertise in the food and film industries, and the hospital and elder care sector. An example of its heathcare work was assisting Vithas with the €300m acquisition of Nisa Hospitals. Enrique Carretero and Jorge Adell co-lead the group, in which Javier Menor and Maite Diez are also recommended.
CMS Albiñana y Suárez de Lezo frequently works with its international colleagues to advise on deals. An example of its national work was assisting Acciona with the sale of a 93% stake in maritime passenger and cargo carrier operator Compañía Trasmediterranea to transportation services provider Naviera Armas. Managing partners César Albiñana and Rafael Suárez de Lezo are considered leading individuals in the area. Carlos Peña, Antonio Pino and Luis Miguel de Dios are also recommended, and Rafael Sánchez and Javier Leyva made partner in April 2018.
Gómez-Acebo & Pombo is 'able to find practical and straight-forward solutions'. Recent work includes advising Oman Oil Company on the sale of its 10% stake in Compañía Logística de Hidrocarburos to Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, and assisting Lacoste with taking over all stakes in its former joint venture with Camoral. Iñigo Erláiz leads the corporate team. Head of M&A Fernando de las Cuevas is 'able to explain complex issues in a simple manner'. Augusto Piñel Rubio was a new arrival from KPMG Abogados in December 2018.
The 'professional, experienced' team at Hogan Lovells International LLP provides 'real answers and solutions, not only a mere redefinition of the client's problems'. It advised HNA Group on the $25m sale of a minority shareholding in NH Hotel Group to Equities First Holdings, and assisted Héroux-Devtek with the €140m acquisition of CESA from Airbus. José Maria Balañá leads the team, which also includes Alex Dolmans, Lucas Osorio and Graciela Llaneza, who is 'deal oriented' and has 'outstanding negotiation qualities'.
Jones Day covers the full range of corporate and M&A work. A recent joint venture example is advising CBRE Global Investors on joining forces with Montepino Logística to develop a portfolio of assets. Miguel Bermúdez de Castro led the advice on that matter and also assisted building material producer Mapei with acquiring chemical company Tecnopol Sistemas. Practice head Federico Merino and Manuel Vara Varea are also recommended.
Latham & Watkins LLP is 'very well coordinated internally', and provides 'extremely good client care, attention and responsiveness across its international offices'. In addition to numerous private equity deals, it handled the €2.8bn acquisition of OHL Concesiones on behalf of the buyer, IFM Investors. The lead partner on the matter was Manuel Deó, who is 'an extremely bright lawyer, understands the business issues at stake and is resourceful'. José Sánchez-Dafos and Ignacio Pallarés are also recommended. Ignacio Balañá left to join Deloitte Legal in September 2017 and former office managing partner José Luis Blanco retired at the end of 2017. The position was taken over by Juan Picón.
A Spanish heavyweight, Pérez-Llorca is regularly involved in major M&A deals. For example, it assisted packaging company DS Smith with all Spanish law matters relating to the €1.7bn voluntary tender offer for Papeles y Cartones de Europa. Within the 19-partner team, Pedro Pérez-Llorca, Julio Lujambio and Javier Carvajal are key names. Javier Gómez and Pedro Marques da Gama made partner in January 2018.
The 'always available' Araoz & Rueda 'understands its client's needs and tries its best to reach them'. The group frequently handles cross-border transactions: it advised German pharmaceutical company Dermapharm on the acquisition of Trommsdorff from Ferrer, and assisted French nursing home group Orpea Group with the acquisition of psychiatry centre Clínica López Ibor. Managing partner Pedro Rueda also heads the corporate and M&A team, which saw the addition of Israel de Diego from Baker McKenzie in November 2017.
BROSETA Abogados regularly handles mid-sized deals such as advising car park operator Parkia on the €25m acquisition of Laoconte Operaciones from Liberbank. Another highlight was assisting Habock Aviation with the acquisition of Sociedad Aeronáutica Peninsular. Julio Veloso is recommended, and Joaquín Giráldez and Carlos Ochoa joined the partnership.
Deloitte Legal assisted Global Saphir Group with the acquisition of a family-owned group of companies specialised in the production and distribution of perfume and hygiene products, and advised Atresmedia on the share purchase agreement for the acquisition of Smartclip Latam. Bilbao-based Sharon Izaguirre leads the team. In Madrid, Francisco Mayor is recommended and Ignacio Balañá joined from Latham & Watkins LLP in September 2017.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
King & Wood Mallesons
King & Wood Mallesons provides 'commercially applicable advice' and is able to handle 'complex situations with many stakeholders locally and abroad'. It acted on one of the major energy deals of the last few years when advising EDP on the public takeover offer launched by China Three Gorges for all of the client's shares. Pablo Díaz is 'available and professional' and is recommended along with Roberto Pomares and Carlos Pazos. Germán Cabrera was promoted to the partnership in January 2018.
Benow Partners S.L.P. provides 'excellent value for money' and is an 'expert in dealing with middle-market, family-owned companies'. It advised Movildata on its sale to Verizon. 'Business-driven' managing partner Antonio Tapia 'keeps not only the legal implications but also the strategy in mind' and is 'constructive when negotiating with the counterparty'. Borja Díaz-Guerra is also recommended.
Bird & Bird acts on M&A deals, spin-offs, joint ventures, and corporate and debt restructurings, as well as providing commercial advice. Highlights included assisting Pomona Keepers with the €15m sale, jointly with EII (Ventures), of a majority stake in the share capital of World Bulk Wine Exhibition to Comexposium. Lourdes Ayala is the key name.
Ramón y Cajal Abogados assisted Inmobiliaria Colonial with the €1.4bn acquisition of Axiare Patrimonio. Other clients are El Corte Inglés, Hotusa Group and Lar España. Iñigo Dago, Guillermo Muñoz-Alonso and Alberto Alonso Ureba, who 'combines an excellent network, high-quality work and deep knowledge', are names to note.
White & Case LLP 'delivers unsurpassed responsiveness and first-class advice, and brings to the table its international expertise in M&A and strategic investment transactions'. It assisted REIT Klépierre with the sale of the Gran Vía de Hortaleza shopping centre to Carmila. The 'hard-working, methodical and calm' Yoko Takagi is 'gifted with a sound and inquisitive legal mind'. Juan Manuel de Remedios, the 'professional and personable' Carlos Daroca and associate Julio Peralta ('one of Spain's rising stars') are recommended.
Dentons was particularly busy handling energy, real estate and tourism sector transactions. It assisted industrial company Barloworld with the sale of its Iberian holding company to Tesa. José María Buxeda and Nieves Briz are standout practitioners. Alejandro Alonso joined Ventura Garcés & López-Ibor in June 2019.
ECIJA integrated Azpitarte Abogados, including José Ignacio Azpitarte and Rafael Azpitarte, in early 2018. Using its strong TMT expertise, the corporate group assisted Beta Film with the acquisition of a controlling stake in a leading Spanish production company. Emilio Prieto and Gabriel Nadal lead the team.
Eversheds Sutherland Nicea is 'very committed to the client' and has 'strong technical skills'. It counts consumer credit reporting agency Experian, Interserve and Volvo Financial Services as new clients, and advised software company group Jonas Software on the acquisition of Bookassist. Juan Díaz and Carlos Pemán are the key names.
Roca Junyent is 'extremely professional', and 'always understands the client's needs and priorities'. It advised refractory products supplier RHI on merging with Magnesita Refratários. Working with Santi Pagès is 'like having an in-house lawyer', and he 'transmits confidence'. Xavier Costa, who made partner in March 2018, and Carlos Blanco are recommended.
Ventura Garcés & López-Ibor
Ventura Garcés & López-Ibor 'competes with large firms in terms of quality of work and responsiveness' while offering 'very competitive rates'. It assisted Club Internacional del Libro with the acquisition of Reader's Digest in the DACH region. Madrid-based Marta Gil de Biedma and Barcelona-based Claudi Garcés are the names to note. Alejandro Alonso was a new arrival from Dentons in June 2019.
Fieldfisher JAUSAS integrated GMQ Abogados, including Rodrigo Martos and his team, in January 2018. However, Nieves Briz left for Dentons in June 2018. The new group handles mid-market M&A deals as well as commercial advice, and is specialised in special situations transactions. It assisted Tebar Agricola with the sale of photovoltaic assets.