Commercial, corporate and M&A in Switzerland
With a long-standing track record in public and private M&A and private equity transactions, as well as a sizeable corporate and regulatory team advising in all parts of Switzerland, Bär & Karrer Ltd. is one of the best known local practices. Banking M&A specialist Ralph Malacrida led advice to BZ Bank on the acquisition of United Grinding Group, while Christoph Neeracher assisted Porterhouse with its purchase of clinic group Paracelsus. Mariel Hoch and Thomas Reutter assisted Clearstream International with buying all shares in Swisscanto Funds Centre. Rolf Watter is another name to note.
Homburger is renowned for providing 'very knowledgeable and accessible' specialist teams, ensuring that 'the right people work on the right tasks'. The practice includes M&A and capital market transactions, as well as restructuring matters, compliance issues and internal investigations, as well as dispute resolution. In a major highlight, Dieter Gericke handled ChemChina's $43bn acquisition of Syngenta. Daniel Daeniker assisted Fairfax Financial Holdings with its $4.9bn merger with Allied World Assurance. Daniel Hasler acted for MTH Retail Group during its purchase of OWiba Group. M&A partner Frank Gerhard is another name to note, while clients also recommended the 'well-connected' Daniel Oser and Claude Lambert.
Lenz & Staehelin's 'highly recommended, hands-on' team stands out for its 'very thorough levels of preparation' and 'impeccable integrity', 'combining exceptional lawyers with tremendous collegiality and client service'. Focus areas include private and public M&A, corporate governance, and private equity transactions. In a recent highlight, 'world-class M&A lawyer' Hans-Jakob Diem assisted Saudi Basic Industries with its upcoming 24.99% share capital acquisition in Clariant. Rudolf Tschäni is another key practitioner, while clients further recommend 'extraordinarily smart' Tino Gaberthüel; 'committed' Beat Kühni, who has 'an encyclopaedic knowledge'; 'clear, proactive and quick' Stephan Erni; as well as 'efficient and flexible' Geneva-based Guy Vermeil.
With 'good communication and appropriate leadership', Niederer Kraft Frey AG provides 'excellent support' and 'focuses 100 per cent on the client's needs'. Best known for public takeovers, private equity and other M&A transactions, a major highlight of 2018 was Philipp Haas' advice to Broadcom on its $18.9bn acquisition of CA Technologies. The 'commercially minded and extremely responsive' Patrik Peyer and 'reliable' senior associate Moritz Maurer assisted Sportradar with its €2.1bn sale to Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, while 'pragmatic' Manuel Werder acted for Paragon Partners on its acquisition of Asia Robotics. Other key practitioners include public M&A partner Philippe Weber, as well as Andreas Casutt and Ulysses von Salis. Transaction expert Till Spillmann joined from Bär & Karrer Ltd. at the beginning of 2018.
The 'very knowledgeable, business-minded and pragmatic' team at Baker McKenzie is a popular choice due to its 'responsive and hands-on approach'. With a particular focus on cross-border transactions, the practice mostly handles public takeovers and private equity deals. The 'very dedicated and highly flexible' co-lead Alexander Fischer, who 'combines excellent technical knowledge with a pragmatic and patient approach', acted for Gerresheimer on its acquisition of Sensile Medical, while Martin Furrer assisted Mövenpick and Kingdom Holding with the sale of the global business division Mövenpick Hotels to Accor Hotels. Private equity specialist Martin Frey and finance partners Beat Barthold and Jingjin Guo are other names to note.
The practice at 'business-oriented, efficient and pragmatic firm' Kellerhals Carrard 'cares about client objectives and offers great service and know-how in all areas'. It is especially known for mid-cap M&A transactions, corporate governance and fintech matters. 'Highly intelligent and entrepreneurial' managing partner Beat Brechbühl advised the families Inäbit and Haag on the sale of its 70 per cent stake in Haag Streit Group to Metall Zug, while Edgar Philippin acted for Accor on its acquisition of Mövenpick's hotel business. Clients also recommend 'practical and precise thinker' Ines Pöschel.
Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd (MLL) 'is excellent in terms of experience, quality and client correspondence', with 'significant resources and a complete range of services available at short notice'. Areas of expertise include share and asset purchases, mergers, public tender offers, private equity and corporate governance matters. Practice head Dr Alexander Vogel acted for SAP on the de-merger and subsequent acquisition of Coresystems FSM. 'Highly deal-oriented' Andrea Sieber, who 'is able to deliver excellent results under pressure', advised Meyer Burger Switzerland on the sale of its energy systems division to solar industry specialist Patrick Hofer-Noser. TUI Suisse and Robert Bosch are among its other key clients. Mona Stephenson joined the Geneva office from Lenz & Staehelin in 2018.
Pestalozzi's team handles the full range of services in commercial, corporate and M&A, from governance aspects, liability issues and contracts to corporate compliance, reorganisations and transactions. New client American International Group instructed Christoph Lang and Beat Schwarz with the negotiation of an agreement to acquire Validus Holdings for $5.56bn, while Severin Roelli advised on the purchase of Raiffeisen Privatbank Liechtenstein by Mason Group. Christian Leuenberger and Martin Müller are other key partners in Zurich, and Sébastien Roy heads the Geneva practice.
'Top law firm' Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd provides 'straight-to-the-point, tailored advice on both the French- and German-speaking Swiss markets' and consists of 'very proactive and business-friendly corporate experts'. M&A, private equity and venture capital transactions are the core areas of expertise. 'Outstanding negotiator' Oliver Triebold was instructed by Schroder & Co Bank to structure the takeover of its Eastern European private banking unit by Compangnie Bancaire Helvétique. 'Extensively experienced in cross-border transactions', Geneva team lead Jean Jacques Ah Choon assisted Eiffage Construction with its acquisition of Priora, while 'solution-oriented' Tarek Houdrouge advised Hugo Fund Services on entering into a joint venture with Acolin Fund Services. Other names to note are Zurich M&A head Lorenzo Olgiati, transactional partner Martin Weber and 'smart and highly effective negotiator' Pascal Hubli.
VISCHER has 'a strong position in the Basel market' and 'can assist very well in corporate transactions', with a particular focus on mid-market M&A and private equity deals, as well as Chinese inbound and outbound transactions. Jürg Luginbühl and the 'very responsive' Robert Bernet 'align teams according to the size of the transaction' and provide 'pragmatic solutions while maintaining reasonable hourly rates'. Recent highlights include handling Dutch client Lundbeck's €905m acquisition of the entire share capital in Prexton Therapeutics, as well as advising GreatStar Hangzhou Industrial on the purchase of Lista. Life sciences and IT specialist Matthias Staehelin is the another key contact.
With approximately 50 M&A professionals, sizeable firm Walder Wyss Ltd is renowned for its 'deep commercial understanding, excellent regulatory relationships, as well as its extremely practical and business-oriented advice'. Major highlights include Urs Schenker's assistance to the Burkard family with the CHF3.22bn sale of all shares in Schenker-Winkler Holding to Saint-Gobain, as well as Markus Pfenninger advice to 40 North Latitude Master Fund on its acquisition of a significant stake in Clariant . Practice head Urs Gnos, Alexander Nikitine and banking M&A specialist Patrick W Vogel, who 'demonstrates outstanding commitment, sound judgement and a deep legal understanding', are other names to note.
Wenger & Vieli LTD's 'down-to-earth, fast-thinking and interdisciplinary' team 'gives clear and efficient advice' while applying 'an honest and transparent' approach to business. With strength in the energy and manufacturing industries, it focuses specifically on private equity and venture capital, as well as mid-market M&A transactions. Zug-based Beat Speck assisted an international consortium of investors with the CHF700m structured sale of a Swiss utility out of a hydro power-plants portfolio, and also advised the company behind the Trans Adriatic Pipeline project on a CHF400m EU fundraising. Pascal Honold is another key partner in the team.
The 'fully dedicated, hands-on' practice at BianchiSchwald LLC 'combines excellent legal skills with a sound commercial sense' and 'always delivers on time'. Specialisms include private M&A transactions for Swiss SMEs, infrastructure joint venture projects, as well as public procurement matters in manufacturing and healthcare. 'Very good negotiator' Thomas Schmid, who 'has in-depth understanding of Swiss corporate law and an entrepreneurial mind', is advising a private equity firm on a potential investment in a group within the food industry. Marc Metzger, Hans-Peter Schwald and Manuel Bianchi della Porta are other names to note.
Bratschi Ltd fields 'a well-established, efficient team' that provides 'expert knowledge, a comprehensive service and sensible advice at reasonable costs'. The range of expertise includes mid-market M&A and international transactions for key clients in the financial sector, among others. Christian Stambach, who 'stands out as an extremely committed and service-minded legal expert', assisted Arbonia with the sale of Forster Profile Systems and related subsidiaries to Belgian Reynaers Group. St. Galler Kartonalbank and Raiffeisen Switzerland are other key clients. Thomas Peter heads the practice.
'Well-integrated law firm' CMS has 'a one-stop-shop attitude and uses straight-forward communication' while maintaining 'excellent legal quality and response times'. The team is best known for advising on cross-border transactions, frequently at mid-market level and in relation to private equity funds, while also focusing on directors' liability issues, W&I insurance matters and legal assistance to start-ups. 'Deeply knowledgeable' Stefan Brunnschweiler advised CCC Group on the €10m acquisition of a 70 per cent stake in fashion company Karl Vögele, while Pascal Favre advised France-based Michelin on the purchase of a minority interest in A.T.U. Auto-Teile-Unger.
Eversheds Sutherland AG provides 'global access to subject matter experts and a personalised, 360 degree support' to its clients, with a major focus on cross-border transactions and multi-jurisdictional project management. A major highlight was Oliver Beldi's Swiss legal assistance to Eaton Corporation with the European-wide group restructuring and cash repatriation of Project Frontier, while Marc Nufer is advising Monsanto on the ongoing, Swiss-coordinated reorganisation of one of its European businesses. M&A specialist Urs Reinwald and 'professional, customer-oriented' partner Daniel Bachmann are also key attorneys.
'A reliable international partner', Froriep's 'pleasant team' serves as 'a one-stop shop' due to its 'flexible approach' and 'technical capability'. Private M&A and corporate transactions, especially up to mid-market value, are a particular focus of the department, alongside investment rounds for start-ups and the real estate sector. Catrina Luchsinger advised Palmarium Group and its Dutch subsidiary Vieo on the bond-issue acquisition of all shares in Lebara Group, while the 'responsive and trustworthy' Mattias Johnson assisted Envican with its corporate reorganisation, its first financing round and entering into a strategic partnership. Clients further recommend 'organised and knowledgeable' Dmitry Pentsov, who specialises in corporate transactions involving Russian companies, commercial partner Jérôme de Montmollin , who provides 'clear' advice', and 'very good' B-corporations expert Julie Wynne.
Due to its 'pragmatic and hands-on approach', id est avocats sàrl is perceived as 'a go-to firm for start-ups in the French-speaking part of Switzerland'. The team retains its technology focus through transactions, investment and financing rounds, as well as its fintech expertise. The 'excellent' Michel Jaccard advised Abionic on a CHF20m Series C financing round in order to develop a medical diagnostics platform. Cross-border M&A and financing partner Juliette Ancelle is another key practitioner, while Mehmet Toral, who made partner in January 2019, 'impresses with his tremendous commercial awareness'.
Loyens & Loeff covers transactions, including M&A, equity capital markets, private equity, corporate finance and public takeovers, as well as general corporate advice, restructurings and reorganisations. Marco Toni advised Bacardi on the $5.1bn acquisition of the full ownership of Patrón Spirits International, and also handled the client's joint venture with Ron Santa Teresa. Shanghai Pharmaceuticals, Trinseo and American transport company Specialized are also key clients.
Thouvenin Rechtsanwälte's national and international M&A clients mostly come from the manufacturing, healthcare and technology industries. Other areas of expertise include corporate advice, commercial leasing and distribution issues, as well as structuring financial investments. Microsoft, EOS Group, Hexagon and Leica Geosystems are among its clients. The team comprises of cross-border specialist Arlette Pfister, Markus Alder, who focuses on mid-sized M&A transactions, corporate and insurance specialist Martin Bürkle and commercial lawyer Michael Bösch.
FBT Attorneys-at-Law is active in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, with key areas including international M&A transactions and commercial contracts advice. The team further assists with mergers, as well as investment, lease and distribution agreements. Marco Villa has experience in real estate and banking-related deals.
The 'efficient and excellent' team at GHR Rechtsanwälte is renowned for 'focusing on what matters in a deal'. The practice, led by the 'very experienced and pragmatic' Marc Grüninger and Bruno Hunziker, covers the full spectrum of corporate and transaction-related matters, including private and public M&A, divestments, takeovers, joint ventures and private equity, as well as corporate governance, compliance and shareholder relation issues. A recent highlight was Cemex's issuance of €650m-worth of senior secured notes, with a number of international banks acting as joint bookrunners. Other work includes assisting Unic Group with an acquisition.
With a highly international outlook, HFW attracts corporate finance and M&A work in the infrastructure, energy, logistics and transport sectors. Practice head George Racine's team frequently assists many African and Middle Eastern clients, such as the Republic of Senegal's Agence de Promotion des Investissements et Grands Travaux, which receives advice on the corporate aspects of the Dakar-Diamnadio-AIBD express regional train project. In another highlight, the team is drafting numerous agreements for a $300m private-public-partnership project for the Kuwait Authority for Partnership Projects .
Clients consider Jeantet's strengths to be its 'competence and availability', which help the 'committed and tenacious' team to 'find innovative solutions for multi-jurisdictional issues'. The firm is active in cross-border transactions, restructurings and financing rounds relating to companies and financial institutions within the European French-speaking markets. Patrice Lefèvre-Péaron is the main contact.
Mangeat Attorneys at Law LLC is recommended for having 'in-depth knowledge of commercial and corporate matters, combined with a thorough understanding of business implications and technological development'. M&A, corporate governance matters, reorganisations, compliance, commercial contracts and shareholder agreements form the bulk of its workload, while the banking, real estate and healthcare industries are sector strengths. The 'thorough and innovative' Fabien Aepli heads the practice, which also includes Joël Chevallaz and senior associate Nurith Cohen.
Active in both the French- and German-speaking parts of Switzerland, boutique firm Oberson Abels Ltd provides corporate advice, handles contract negotiations and transactions for clients in regulated industries such as banking, energy and technology. Corporate and finance expert Sébastien Bettschart leads the team together with M&A specialist Stefan Eberhard.
Prager Dreifuss AG is recommended for providing 'commercially minded, professional advice' and for having 'shrewd business acumen'. M&A, public takeovers, corporate finance, private equity and restructurings form the key areas of expertise. Co-lead Andreas Moll's assistance is 'top-notch'. Fellow co-head Daniel Hayek, the transactions-focused Matthias Bürge and corporate lawyer Urs Bertschinger are also prominent team members.
Staiger Attorneys at Law Ltd handles M&A, restructuring and corporate governance matters, private equity and venture capital transactions, as well as compliance and contractual issues. Andreas von Erlach, whose firm Haymann von Erlach merged with Staiger Attorneys in January 2018, heads the team, which also includes Gaudenz Geiger, Désirée Wiesendanger, of counsel Daniel Sauter and senior associate Yasemin Varel.
Wenger Plattner's 'efficient and diligent team works together seamlessly' and 'provides flawless legal work together with a commercial and transaction-driven approach'. Apart from a general focus on M&A transactions, the team also handles contract drafting and negotiations. The 'business-oriented, innovative and knowledgeable' Oliver Künzler and senior associate Eva Schott advised Eneco Group on the acquisition and subsequent post-merger implementation of Ampard. Another highlight was assisting Trom with the sale of Alvier PM-Technology to Höganäs.