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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Switzerland > Commercial, corporate and M&A > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Commercial, corporate and M&A
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Who Represents Who

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A ‘top class’ practice with ‘a dynamic and highly intelligent approach’, Bär & Karrer Ltd.’s ‘entire team is very committed to delivering custom-made advice’ in M&A transactions as well as regulatory corporate matters: recent highlights include assisting Lonza with the $5.5bn acquisition of Capsugel and advising Huntsman Corporation on the $20bn all-stock merger with Clariant. The ‘excellentRalph Malacrida, ‘M&A star’ Rolf Watter and public M&A expert Mariel Hoch are recommended. Till Spillmann joined Niederer Kraft Frey. Martin Anderson was a new arrival from Baker McKenzie in August 2018.

Homburger is active in all types of merger and acquisition work, with a particular focus on cross-border transactions. Recently, the team advised Clariant International on its $20bn merger of equals with Huntsman Corporation and assisted Johnson & Johnson with the $30bn public takeover acquisition of Actelion. On the corporate side, the group handles regulatory compliance and restructuring matters. Other active clients are General Electric, SIX Group and Sonova. Dieter Gericke leads the team, which also includes Hansjürg Appenzeller, Daniel Daeniker, Frank Gerhard and Daniel Hasler.

Lenz & Staehelin’s ‘proactive and efficient’ practice is ‘strong in both Zurich and Geneva’ and ‘can be recommended for a wide range of legal support’, not least because of its ‘dedicated in-house experience in transactional matters, commercial insight and tax expertise’. The group also covers hostile takeover situations, private equity transactions, joint ventures and M&A disputes. One of the ongoing highlights is the assistance given to Sika regarding an unsolicited takeover attempt by Saint Gobain. Hans-Jakob Diem, Rudolf Tschäni and Beat Kühni are the recommended key partners, while ‘responsive’ M&A lawyer Tino Gaberthüel is noted for his ‘deep knowledge and solution-focused, practical approach to challenging situations. The ‘pragmaticStephan Ernidelivers clear advice and attention to detail during cross-border transactions’.

Niederer Kraft Freyimpresses with handling fast-moving and complex transactions in a responsive and qualitative manner’, especially in the banking, TMT and life science industries. Recent transactional highlights include advising Actelion on Johnson & Johnson’s $30bn all-cash tender offer and assisting Boston Scientific Corporation with the $435m cross-border acquisition of Symetis; the team also assists with corporate restructurings. Patrik Peyer, who ‘translates complex solutions into simple structures’, and the ‘excellentPhilipp Haas are both recommended, as is senior associate Moritz Maurer, who joined from Pestalozzi in January 2017. The ‘responsive and deeply knowledgeable’ Till Spillmann joined from Bär & Karrer Ltd..

Baker McKenzie is recommended for its ‘global office network, efficiency and prompt reaction’ in the context of cross-border transactions, leverage buy-outs and venture deals in the banking and healthcare sectors. In Zurich, the team advised Deutsche Beteiligungsgesellschaft on its acquisition of all shares in Duagon and assisted Walter Meier with the de facto merger of its heating, ventilation and airconditioning business with Tobler Haustechnik. The client portfolio includes Selecta, Cross Private Equity, Carlyle and Ufenau Capital Partners. Martin Anderson is now with Bär & Karrer Ltd.

The ‘outstanding and excellentKellerhals Carrard focuses on mid-cap M&A transactions and corporate governance matters, especially in the healthcare and innovative technology sectors. The team advised Galenica on the separation of its pharmaceutical and healthcare businesses into independent companies. The ‘efficient, effective and responsive’ co-lead Ines Pöschel is recommended, as is ‘diligent and analytical’ managing partner Beat Brechbühl, who ‘never loses sight of any detail and provides clear leadership to his teams’.

Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd (MLL) handles share and asset acquisitions, mergers, public tender offers, private equity transactions as well as commercial matters on both domestic and international level. The team, which ‘masters new subjects quickly’, advised H.I.G. Capital on acquiring a majority of the share capital in Infinigate by means of a squeeze-out merger and assisted Calida’s with the acquisition of German company Reich Online Services from a private individual. Alexander Vogel, Andrea Sieber and Daniel Schoch are recommended.

Pestalozzi advises on corporate governance, directors’ liability, shareholder relations, compliance and restructurings issues as well as M&A deals. The team assisted CBH Compagnie Bancaire Helvétique with the acquisition of wealth manager FIBI Bank and advised Adveq on its takeover by Schroders. Other key clients include Coca Cola, Swiss Life and CBS. Christoph Lang is the key partner in Zurich, while Sébastien Roy heads the Geneva practice.

Schellenberg Wittmer Ltdprovides appropriate, practical advice in a responsive fashion’ and focuses on M&A deals. Recent highlights include advising AXA Life on its tender offer for all shares in Zürcher Freilager, and assisting blue-infinity with its acquisition by Dentsu Aegis. Clients recommend Oliver Triebold and ‘experienced M&A lawyersMartin Weber and Pascal Hubli, Hubli was promoted to the partnership along Tarek Houdrouge in 2017.

Vischer is particularly ‘strong in private M&A and private equity transactions for young, fast-growing companies in the healthcare and digital media sectors’. The practice advised Symetis on its $435m all-cash acquisition by Boston Scientific and also assisted Anheuser-Busch InBev with the €7.3bn sale of SABMiller’s business in Eastern Europe to Asahi. Co-head Jürg Luginbühl and associate Gian-Andrea Caprez are recommended for ‘finding pragmatic and commercial solutions, working exceptionally hard and responding quickly’. Other names to note are M&A co-leads Matthias Staehelin and Benedict Christ.

The ‘highly recommendable’ practice of Walder Wyss Ltd impresses with ‘outstanding speed, practicality and cooperation’ and advises on M&A and restructuring transactions. The group is assisting Allied World with its $4.9bn merger acquisition by Fairfax and advised Sanofi on entering a strategic partnership with Lonza worth CHF290m. Migros is a longstanding client. Markus Vischer, Urs Gnos and Urs Schenker all exhibit a ‘high level of technique’ and provide ‘concise answers’.

Wenger & Vieli’s team is ‘quick, reliable and straight to the point’ and focuses on mid-cap M&A work for energy, manufacturing, private equity and venture capital clients. Wolfgang Zürcher advised Audax Private Equity Fund on the $640m sale of Laborie Medical Technologies to North American company Patricia Industries. Zug-based partners Beat Speck and Michael Mosimann are recommended; Pascal Honold made partner in 2017.

BianchiSchwald LLC offers advice on M&A transactions, venture capital, private equity and general corporate matters, particularly for clients in the manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries. Recent highlights include advising Stadler Rail on a joint venture with Austrian railway maintenance company ÖBB-Technische Services. Manuel Bianchi della Porta counts French food retail company Casino among his long-term clients. Thomas Schmid heads the practice and Andreas Bättig, Marc Metzger as well as Hans-Peter Schwald are other names to note.

Bratschi Ltd is adept at advising on transactional as well as contentious and non-contentious corporate issues, predominantly in the mid-market sector. The team advised Etihad Airways on the sale of Darwin Airline to the Swiss subsidiary of Adria Airways and assisted St. Galler Nationalbank with the sale of its Portuguese business division. New clients include Löwengarten Holding. The ‘solution-minded’ Christian Stambach, Thomas Peter and Martin Moser are the key contacts.

CMS offers ‘advice on short notice’, ‘transparent fees’, an ‘effective global network’ and ‘services that are tailor-made and focused on the clients’ needs based on a deep understanding of their businesses’. The practice is especially recommended for its M&A expertise and telecom sector knowledge, but also engages in private equity, W&I insurance and directors’ liability matters. Recently, the team advised Sunrise on the CHF500m sale of Swiss Towers to a consortium. ABB, Heraeus and Dover Corporation are also active clients. ‘Hands-on lawyerMarquard Christen, ‘dedicated’ team lead Stefan Brunnschweiler, ‘strong negotiatorAlain Raemy, ‘rising starDaniel Jenny and ‘reliable’ associate Andrea Ferchl are all recommended.

Eversheds Sutherland AG offers ‘competitive prices and very good, client-focused service that is spot-on and practical, as well as an easy telephone access for smaller questions’. The main focus areas are M&A transactions, private equity, restructuring and other corporate law matters. In notable recent matters, the group advised Parker Hannifin on its relocation from Luxembourg to Switzerland, including the formation of a new principal company, and assisting Monsanto with cross-border corporate reorganisation issues. Oliver Beldihas a hands-on, practical approach and is highly knowledgeable about the Swiss legal environment’, while Marc Nufercomes up with creative solutions and gets transactions done’.

id est avocats sàrl engages in corporate matters and M&A deals, with a strong focus on the TMT sector in the Western region of Switzerland. Biotech company Genkyotex received support during its merger with Genticel, while the lawyers also advised Artanim Interactive on its acquisition by Dreamscape Immersive. Ravenpack and Beqom are other active clients. Michel Jaccard and Juliette Ancelle are the names to note.

Python’s ‘reliable’ practice provides ‘very good value for money’ based on ‘proactivity, concise legal documents and great partner availability during deals’. The team specialises in commercial contracts work, M&A transactions, reorganisations, asset and stock purchase agreements, as well as joint ventures. Marc Iynedjianunderstands problems quickly and is very business-minded’ and the Zug-based Thomas Steinmann is a ‘very good negotiator’ who ‘gets deals done’.

Thouvenin Rechtsanwälte is the ‘perfect size for SME clients’, provides ‘a very high service level with feasible and practical advice’ on M&A, reorganisations, joint ventures, corporate governance and general corporate law and is ‘able to act quickly and without fuss’. Microsoft Corporation retains the group for general corporate matters. Markus Alderknows the challenges of small and medium-sized enterprises’, while Arlette Pfister, Thomas Loher and Michael Bösch are also recommended.

FBT Attorneys-at-Lawtackles every project with enthusiasm, great professionalism and dedication’. The practice focuses on M&A deals, corporate regulation, contract drafting, investments, shareholder agreements and asset protection. Team lead Marco Villa and Jean-Luc Bochatay are ‘solution-oriented and pragmatic’.

Froriep offers ‘excellent expertise, good response times and availability, as well as relevant advice and understanding of the clients’ businesses’. The team handles M&A transactions in the privately held sector, investment rounds for start-up companies and non-profit enterprises. A recent highlight was the strategic-investment support given to Livingdocs after it received capital from NZZ Mediengruppe. Freshpoint and Novavest Real Estate have been clients for several years. The practice is led by Catrina Luchsinger, while the ‘very professional and responsiveMattias Johnson in Zug, the ‘smart, prompt and thoroughJulie Wynne in Geneva and ‘effective’ associate Evelien Zemp are also recommended.

GHR Rechtsanwältestands out in terms of responsiveness and the ability to provide advice in an uncomplicated manner’. The practice has expertise in corporate governance, compliance and shareholder relation matters, as well as M&A transactions, divestments, takeovers, spin-offs, restructurings, joint venture and capital transactions. The team advised F24 on its acquisition of Dolphin Systems. Craig International Supplies is a regular client. The ‘attentive and responsive’ Marc Grüninger ‘provides clear and spot-on advice’, while the ‘professional’ Rolf Hartmann ‘is able to give very specific answers directly and organises processes in an excellent way’.

Jacquemoud Stanislasdelivers the same quality as a larger law firm, but with a very personal touch’, ‘focuses on getting the deal done’ and possesses ‘solid private equity industry knowledge’. The ‘excellentPhilippe Jacquemoudhas a rare business sense’ and ‘manages his team well’, while Guy Stanislas is ‘responsive and solution-driven’.

Lalive specialises in corporate transactions, public-private partnerships and commercial contracts. Alexander Troller and Jean-Paul Vulliéty are the main contacts in Geneva, while Simone Nadelhofer and Daniel Bühr lead the practice in Zurich.

Mangeat Attorneys at Law LLCis a very strong firm that offers rapid response times, flexibility and careful advice in consideration of the clients’ business objectives and constraints’. The practice handles matters concerning corporate governance, compliance, M&A, business reorganisation and shareholders agreements. Recent highlights include advising Tosk Energji on a joint venture with an independent commodities trading house in relation to the purchase and operation of a petroleum products terminal. Sequoia Asset Management is another key client. Fabien Aeplihas strong listening skills and takes in both the bigger picture and its details’.

Oberson Abels Ltd advises on general corporate, restructuring and contract law as well as financing and M&A transactions. The practice assisted two private banks in Geneva with the sales of their subsidiaries and also supported a French investment fund in its acquisition of a construction company. Sébastien Bettschart and Stefan Eberhard are the key partners.

Prager Dreifuss AG focuses on M&A transactions and corporate restructuring, as well as contract and liability issues. The practice was active for Swissgas and Schweizerische Aktiengesellschaft für Erdgas regarding the establishment of a buyers’ consortium for the acquisition of a majority stake in FluxSwiss Sagl. The main contacts are M&A specialists Andreas Moll and Daniel Hayek, Matthias Bürge and corporate lawyer Urs Bertschinger.

Wenger Plattner specialises in M&A and asset transactions, but also provides corporate and contractual support in combination with deals. Recent highlights include advising the shareholders of Resource Group on management buyout issues in relation to its Aviation and Aerospace Resource division. The team also assisted real estate development company SIGNA with its acquisition of retail company Tennis-Point. Hilton Worldwide and Verizon are other active clients. Department head Oliver Künzler, Marc Nater and Dieter Gränicher are the key contacts.

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  • Bär & Karrer awarded by Mergermarket as "Switzerland M&A Legal Adviser of the Year 2018"

    At this year's Mergermarket European Awards Ceremony on 6 December 2018 in London, Bär & Karrer has been awarded as the "Switzerland M&A Legal Adviser of the Year 2018".
  • Bär & Karrer Advises the Sellers of Astes4 SA

    The owners of Astes4 SA, a company based in Balerna, Switzerland, which is engaged in development, production and sales of patented automated sorting solutions for sheet metal laser processing machines, sold their interests in the company to Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. Mitsubishi Electric is active in the manufacture, marketing and sales of electrical and electronic equipment used in information processing and communications, space development and satellite communications, consumer electronics, industrial technology, energy, transportation and building equipment. By acquiring Astes4, Mitsubishi Electric will further strengthen its lineup of automation systems together with sorting solutions for sheet metal laser processing machines to provide its valued customers with integrated solutions that require less manual loading, unloading and sorting to realize higher productivity and efficiency.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Constellium on the Sale of Rolling Business Assets in Sierre, Switzerland, to

    On 23 July 2018, Constellium Valais SA, a company of the Constellium group engaged in the aluminium plate and extrusions businesses for industry, aerospace and transportation applications, successfully completed the sale of its aluminium rolling business assets in Sierre, Switzerland, to Novelis Switzerland SA for EUR 200 million. The assets, consisting of real estate, machinery and equipment, were previously leased by Constellium Valais to Novelis Switzerland and both parties will continue to operate in Sierre following the transaction. Concurrently with the asset sale, Constellium Valais contributed the Sierre site's shared infrastructure to a newly established 50-50 joint venture with Novelis Switzerland.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Bank Cler in Connection with the Public Tender Offer by Cantonal Bank of Basel

    On 20 June 2018, the Cantonal Bank of Basel, which already holds 77.52% of the share capital and the voting rights of Bank Cler Ltd., published the preannouncement for a public tender offer for all publicly held bearer shares of Bank Cler, which is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. Subsequently, Bank Cler concluded a transaction agreement with the Cantonal Bank of Basel regarding the public tender offer. The Cantonal Bank of Basel offers CHF 52 per share of Bank Cler. Taking into consideration the results of the Fairness Opinion of an independent Expert, the board of directors of Bank Cler recommends to its shareholders to accept the offer.
  • Bär & Karrer Successful in Appeal Proceedings before the Federal Administrative Court Against the F

    On 11 May 2016, the French tax authorities requested administrative assistance from the Swiss Federal Tax Administration. The request was made based on lists containing several thousand UBS Switzerland AG account numbers which are or were held by persons presumed to be French residents for tax purposes. The French tax authorities were asking for Switzerland to provide names and dates of birth of the persons connected to the accounts as well as the account balances. UBS Switzerland AG (which the Federal Administrative Court ("FAC") had granted party status in its judgment A-4974/2016 of 25 October 2016) and private individuals directly affected lodged appeals with the FAC against the Federal Tax Administration’s final decisions, which were issued on 9 February 2018.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises BZ Bank on Purchase of United Grinding Group

    BZ Bank Aktiengesellschaft, through its acquisition company LEMRO AG, purchased the United Grinding Group from Körber Beteiligungen GmbH. The United Grinding Group is one of the world's leading suppliers of precision grinding machines.
  • Bär & Karrer advised PSP Swiss Property on Sale of a Commercial Property

    PSP Swiss Property sold a commercial property in Petit-Lancy, Geneva. The property at the Av. des Morgines 8/10 (approx. 14'000 m2 of rentable space) was sold for CHF 55 million to an affiliate company of Epic Suisse AG.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs in a Combined Offering on the Placement of Sha

    Idorsia Ltd successfully placed 11,912,000 new shares by way of an accelerated bookbuilding in a private placement with institutional investors. The placed shares are sourced from the company's existing authorized share capital and the pre-emptive rights of the existing shareholders have been excluded. The offer price was set at CHF 25.62 per share. Additionally, Idorsia successfully placed CHF 200 million of senior unsecured convertible bonds due 2024 in a private placement with institutional investors.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Vontobel on the Placement of CHF 450 Million Tier 1 Bonds to fund the acquisit

    Vontobel Holding AG successfully completed the placement of CHF 450 million perpetual additional tier 1 subordinated bonds. The additional tier 1 subordinated bonds were issued at 100% of their nominal amount with an interest of 2.625% until 2023. The proceeds of this capital market transaction will be mainly used to finance the acquisition of Notenstein La Roche Private Bank.
  • Bär & Karrer Advised Swiss Re in the Offering of USD 500 Million Senior Exchangeable Notes with Iss

    Swiss Re Ltd (Swiss Re) has completed an offering of USD 500 million, 6-year senior exchangeable notes, which may be stock settled at the option of Swiss Re or may be exchanged at the option of noteholders for registered shares of Swiss Re, unless Swiss Re elects to settle the exchange of notes in cash. Swiss Re has purchased call options on its own shares, which allow it to settle an exchange by noteholders without issuing new shares.