FRESHFIELDS BRUCKHAUS DERINGER

Comment: A leading firm for M&A which shows how a consistent restructuring of a top-flight deal practice can work without collateral damage. Though the team of partners and associates in corporate and M&A is now smaller than a few years ago – partly due to the Cologne closure – and the number of transactions dropped, FBD is now seen in larger, more complex and more lucrative deals than ever before. In major projects like Stada, LSE/Deutsche Börse and HSH, FBD deployed its concentrated expertise in, for instance, public takeovers or the financial sector. With deals like Midea/Kuka or Vossloh/Rocla, the lawyers showed how naturally they now play the role of manager in large deals with a focus outside of Europe. In contrast to the streamlining at Clifford Chance, the partner losses at FBD were not so severe in retrospect as to have harmed work overall. Even competitors express respect for this strategic accomplishment.
Strengths: Unrivaled breadth in the high-end market segment, incl. German corporates, cross-border work, ?private equity and venture capital and the high-end Mittelstand. Many of the partners boast international expertise.
Development potential: Like almost no other, FBD manages the trifecta of top quality, broad market visibility with numerous partners, and economic success. Maintaining this during the imminent shift to more IT-based deal advice will be a challenge.
Recommended: Dr. Andreas Fabritius, Dr. Michael Haidinger, Dr. Stephanie Hundertmark, Dr. Marius Berenbrok, Dr. Ludwig Leyendecker, Prof. Dr. Christoph Seibt, Dr. Nils Koffka, Dr. Barbara Keil, Dr. Matthias-Gabriel Kremer (“very objective and knowledgeable”, client), Dr. Stephan Waldhausen (“very good negotiator”, client), Dr. Gregor von Bonin (“very clear and quick thanks to vast expertise, which makes him a tough but pleasant opponent”, client), Dr. Tobias Larisch, Dr. Wessel Heukamp, Dr. Ralph Kogge.
Practice: Vast practice breadth. Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Hamburg are the most active; the Munich practice is predominantly active in private M&A and ?private equity. Berlin focuses on regulated sectors. (34 partners, 1 of counsel, plus associates)
Clients: ?? Midea on acquisition of Kuka; HSH Nordbank on transfer of ship loans (€5bn), sale of credit portfolios to Macquarie and BofAML and concerning privatization; Stada on takeover bids by bidder consortia; Ceconomy on investment in Fnac; LSE on planned merger with Deutsche Börse.
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