Comment: A firm recommended for M&A, which is best known for a solid mid-cap M&A practice with individual partners developing their track record individually. The addition this year of a finance partner from Clifford Chance has given that office further breadth for the M&A practice. In Mannheim it has traditionally been Rück of the senior generation who has carried the M&A torch. And the potential of SZA in the M&A field was demonstrated by his leading one of the most challenging deals of the year: the takeover bid for Uniwheels via Warsaw stock exchange. With the growing visibility of Balke and Nolden in Mannheim, as well as a rise in distressed M&A, it shows what the firm could achieve if it coordinated its capacities toward building an interoffice M&A practice. The fact that US firms such as Wilson Sonsini and Wachtell Lipton go to SZA for advice on the German end of major deals is yet more proof of potential. In Frankfurt it is still Hirschberger who has a string of deals in the real estate sector as well as good contacts in the Far East.
Strengths: Good ties to management levels in some notable corporates. Outstanding ?corporate practice.
Recommended: Dr. Heino Rück (“strong combination of experience and intelligence”, competitor), Dr. Max Hirschberger, Prof. Dr. Jochem Reichert, Dr. Stephan Harbarth, Dr. Marc Löbbe (“extremely good jurist”, competitor), Dr. Stephan Brandes, Ruth-Maria Thomsen, Dr. Michaela Balke, Dr. Christoph Nolden (“excellent under pressure, quick and meticulous”, client).
Practice: Top-level practice for stock corporation law with an industrial focus (esp. automotive and pharma). (14 partners, 3 counsel, 25 associates)
Clients: ?? Uniwheels on public takeover by Superior Industries; Dr. Haas Group majority shareholder on takeover of blocking minority of PE investor BWK and Medien Union Ludwigshafen; Ragolds on acquisition of insolvent Jahnke; Monsanto concerning takeover by Bayer (German law).
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