Comment: This recommended firm in real estate boasts an esp. strong real estate finance practice, praised by competitors as “the best in the German market”. A&O lived up to this reputation in the €1.7bn financing of Office First by Blackstone. In addition to traditional finance work, other areas of advice are moving to the fore, incl. advice to alternative financers and on CMBS and project development. A&O advised Vonovia on handling several CMBS transactions at once. This branching out was helped by the team’s setup as a sector group encompassing traditional real estate, ?public law and ?bank regulatory law. Combined with the firm’s international focus, incl. a Luxembourg office, this makes the practice well equipped to meet the current market demands. A success in this respect was advising new client International Campus both on forming a fund under Luxembourgian law and on project development. A&O stepped up its project development activity overall and advised on a number of transactions in Germany and abroad, but is still mainly known for its finance expertise. This was underscored by the loss of successful transaction partner Dr. Michael Bernhardt to Milbank.
Development potential: The sector group setup alone will not help A&O raise its visibility in the real estate sector beyond finance. An additional dedicated real estate lawyer could help to speed up this process.
Recommended: Dr. Olaf Meisen (“the best in his field”, “very smart”, “knows exactly what he’s doing”, “deal-focused, very pleasant”, competitors).
Practice: Advice to banks and investors on transactions/refinancing, NPLs and securitization. Project development. Rent law. Regulatory law. (Sector group: 12 partners, 5 counsel, 19 associates)
Clients: ?? International Campus concerning Munich project development The Fizz Short Stay and on formation of fund for student housing; RFR Group/DC Values on financing Upper Zeil project development; Morgan Stanley/Deutsche Pfandbriefbank on refinancing the Cathedral portfolio in Poland, Germany and France.
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