Comment: A leading corporate practice, which once again played the starring role in most of the major projects, whether it was public takeovers (e.g. Stada), crisis-related restructuring with huge political and regulatory ramifications (e.g. HSH), complex international restructuring (e.g. UBS) or extensive corporate reorganizations following compliance investigations (e.g. ADAC). On the latter interface, FBD still manages to maintain its lead on other leading corporate practices, no matter how much progress its competitors make: the combination of high-end corporate governance with the vast experience and market profile of the compliance, investigation and dispute resolution teams is practically in a class of its own. This is evident not only in the high-profile work on the agreement between VW and the US authorities with regard to the diesel scandal but also in its ongoing advice to several executive and supervisory boards. A purely corporate defense stood firm in the confrontation between Ströer and activist shareholders. The past year’s track record would come as no surprise to anyone had it not come while the firm itself was undergoing an in-depth reshuffle: last year FBD closed its Cologne office, which resulted in the firm losing a number of partners and associates from there and other offices. The fact that in the face of this FBD was more successful than ever in high-end corporate work commands respect from even the most sceptical competitors.
Strengths: Outstanding expertise in public takeovers and restructuring. Very close European integration; internationally active German partners. Strong ?compliance practice in corporate.
Development potential: The diesel scandal and some large takeover and restructuring projects show that FBD’s reach even in first-class corporate work extends across the Atlantic – a considerable improvement on the last few years. To consolidate this success, however, FBD needs to further expand its own US presence in corporate.
Recommended: Prof. Dr. Christoph Seibt (“old-school, great breadth”, competitor), Dr. Thomas Bücker, Dr. Stephan Waldhausen (“very intelligent, agreeable”, competitor), Dr. Marius Berenbrok (“a veritable master of the old school”, competitor), Dr. Andreas Fabritius, Dr. Matthias-Gabriel Kremer, Dr. Franz Aleth, Dr. Kai Hasselbach, Dr. Arend von Riegen, Dr. Gregor von Bonin, Dr. Tobias Larisch (“very strong duo in Düsseldorf”, competitor about both), Dr. Patrick Cichy (“very solid work”, client; “strong on the interface of corporate and banking regulatory”, competitor).
Practice: All offices provide advice on the whole spectrum of corporate law, incl. stock corporation law ( ?equity issues and IPOs), Mittelstand advice to a lesser degree. Strong focus on ?corporate litigation and finance solutions for corporate clients. ?Insolvency and restructuring is an integral part of the practice. (36 partners, 2 counsel, 5 of counsel, plus associates)
Clients: ?? Stada on takeover bids by bidding consortia, on corporate governance and AGM; HSH Nordbank on spinoff and privatization; ADAC on restructuring; LSE on planned merger with Deutsche Börse; UBS on international merger.
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