Herbert Smith Freehills

Comment: In building up its M&A practice, this recommended firm combines a steady stream of clients from the immense network, which stretches from the strong London practice to the large Asia practice, with the client base of extremely distinguished laterals. The past year saw the arrival of two esp. significant partners: Becker, who brought contacts and a track record for a number of corporates incl. Lufthansa and Atlas, was followed by the renowned, young Freshfields partner Nawroth in Düsseldorf. The longer-established teams secured a strong deal flow with some headline-making instructions, e.g. the high-volume public takeovers for Vonovia, who Lauer advised. As Abel was the first corporate partner in the office, he enjoys strong ties with the international corporate practice, which gave rise to impressive deals like Klarna/Billpay.
Strengths: Strong London office, small team of partners with a strong reputation.
Development potential: The team is still a work in progress. Its success will be partly measured by how well it can exhaust the potential of the vast Asia practice. The burden on the partners needs to be reduced, but this will only happen if the associate team grows significantly for the long term.
Recommended: Dr. Sönke Becker (“a trusted partner even after his move”, client), Dr. Christoph Nawroth, Dr. Nico Abel (“experienced, quick thinking, flexible, pleasant to work with”, client), Dr. Markus Lauer, Dr. Ralf Thaeter, Dr. Dirk Hamann.
Practice: Focus on real estate deals. Ongoing advice to PE houses. The internationally focused team frequently works with the Paris and London offices. (6 partners, 2 counsel, 10 associates)
Clients: ?? Vonovia on public takeover of conwert Immobilien; Klarna on acquisition of Billpay; Altra Industrial Motion on acquisition of Stromag business from GKN; German federal government on sale of defense electronics of Airbus to KKR; Heidelpay founder on sale of majority stake to AnaCap.
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