The firm advised a syndicate of mostly international lenders, including Deutsche Bank, on providing a loan facility for EVN in 2012. Stefan Tiefenthaler led on the deal that was a rare large syndicated loan in Austria in 2012.
Since the crisis regulatory advice is more commonly sought by Austrian financial institutions and the firm has been advising Volksbanken on the restructuring of the cooperative banking sector in Austria.
A recent example of the firm's borrower work, and the largest finance deal it was involved in recently, saw Tiefenthaler act as Austrian counsel to the automotive supplier Schaeffler Group on an €8 billion refinancing.
Varga and Zahradnik teamed up to act as Austrian counsel to a committee of lenders, led by GoldenTree, to Sacher Funding, the holding company of Austrian financial institution BAWAG, in converting a €1 billion debt investment into an indirect equity investment in the bank.
One of the firm's biggest recent restructurings was for Alpine, where it led a consortium of banks led by Erste and UniCredit Austria assisting with the company's global financial and corporate reorganisation in more than 30 countries.
The firm saw two high profile departures recently. Head of finance Maria Pflügel retired and finance partner Attila Csongrady joined DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach. Pflügel's absence will be felt, particularly because of the relationships she had fostered. She had, however, become less active on transactions in the past year or so, and the firm has a deep bench of talented partners. Highly regarded partner Friedrich Jergitsch now leads the banking and finance teams.
In addition to its more senior lawyers, the firm has a number of younger partners with excellent reputations, with banking and finance specialist Florian Klimscha, who was made up in 2013, among them. "Klimscha, whose development we have been following up for many years, is an outstanding individual not only in all legal aspects but also with regard to perfect manners, communication and other soft skills which must not be neglected," says one client. "He is our preferred lawyer provided that clients are willing to pay the fees."
Banking regulatory advice has made up a decent proportion the firm's recent work in this area, but it has also been involved in large transactions. Jergitsch and Klimscha often team up, recently figuring on several large aquisition financings.
Otto Wächter leads the team, which operates out of Vienna and Graz, and generally acts on the lender's side on mandates.
In addition to lending and finance advice, Ebner's team is responsible for capital markets, structured finance, securitisation and restructuring. One client describes him as "highly motivated," and another appreciates his "drafting skills". Others commend him on his technical expertise and product knowledge.
Ebner is not the sole stellar partner within the practice; peers also recommend Peter Feyl. "He should be mentioned as a no nonsense lawyer with a lot of experience in complicated deals," notes one. One client feels Walter Gapp has made his own is mark in the funds work. He has the "highest legal knowledge regarding investment fund law available on the Austrian market," says the client.
Several cross border restructurings have occupied the banking team lately. In one matter Ebner was representing a group of 40 senior creditors, mostly Austrian and CEE financial institutions, in bauMax's debt restructuring and refinancing.
Ségur-Cabanac's focus is equity while Spatz's practice also covers debt. There has been a dearth of equity work in Austria since 2007 so, understandably, Spatz has been the busier of the two. His recent highlight was advising, in conjunction with the Frankfurt office, Crédit Agricole as the arranger of Austrian steel producer Voestalpine's €1 billion EMTN program.
One of the firm's large banking deals saw Glas advise Starbag on securing a €250 million revolving credit facility with Raiffeisen Bank International and UniCredit.
Debt work dominates the firm's recent portfolio of capital markets work. One deal saw Tibor Varga act as transaction council on a €150 million corporate bond issued by Austrian Egger Holzwerkstoffe, where BAWAG and UniCredit Bank were lead arrangers.
Claus Schneider is known for his debt, structured finance and derivative work. Schneider lived up to his billing too, taking the lead on the bulk of the firms key capital markets mandates. In one precedent-setting deal he advised Erste Bank on two issues of tier 2 notes, the first such issue by an Austrian entity under the new capital requirements regulation.
Regulatory advice and capital market issues have been occupying the banking team. In one large transaction Heidinger advised Dexia on its nationalisation through a €5.5 billion capital increase subscribed to by France and Belgium.
Corporate partner Florian Khol's main focus is capital markets, but he is good on public M&A and assisted Austrian listed company Lenzing in the auction sale of its plastics business unit in 2013.
The firm also has good transactional practice that Hügel jointly leads with Florian Gibitz. It has a broad mix of major Austrian international clients, public and private, and it was involved in a number of large deals in the past 12 months. This strong portfolio of work allied with good feedback from peers sees it join Tier 4 for M&A. One of the firm's largest recent deals was Intercell's €350 million merger with Vivalis.
Both partners are highly regarded corporate lawyers, with Birkner heading M&A and Hasenauer corporate, and the firm's most active senior lawyers on deals – between the two of them they led on most of the firm's key transcations of late. It will be interesting to see whether this remains the case or if the demands of management mean the pair are less present on deals. The fact the responsibility of being managing partner is shared should enable them to continue with their advisory work.
Both new managing partners have been involved in major deals lately. Birkner led a team advising Telekom Austria on the acquisition of Orange's subsidiary Yesss! for €390 million. Hasenauer, meanwhile, is counselling OMV on buying RWE's stake in Nabucco Gas Pipeline International and RWE's interest in the Nabucco natural gas pipeline project.
Johannes Trenkwalder, for example, advised Hypo Alpe Adria on its selling of AluFlexPack to Montana Tech Components, in addition to taking the helm on several other deals. It also added a new corporate partner recently, recruiting Wieland Schmid-Schmidsfelden, former managing partner of DLA Vienna, from Benn-Ibler. Schmid-Schmidsfelden has advised Rudolf Weinberger Holding on its acquisition of Donako from Innova Capital since joining the firm.
Brodey's biggest transaction in 2013 was assisting General Motors on its $4.2 billion acquisition of Ally Financial's international auto-finance businesses, which included its Austrian subsidiary GMAC Leasing.
A recent sell-side M&A transaction for the firm saw it advise OMV on the sale of its stockholding business to Erdöl-Lagergesellschaft.
One of Polak's recent transactions was advising My Place Holding on the sale of 35% minority participation to a US-based financial investor.
The firm's other key M&A partner Bert Ortner has been busy recently. One of his highlights was assisting Dunapack Mosburger on the acquisition of Turkish paper and cardboard producer Dentas Ambalaj ve Ka??t from Abal?o?lu Holding.
The firm has added to its finance capabilities recently, recruiting partner Martin Gaggl from Credit Suisse as head of banking and capital markets.
At his former firm Gall established an excellent reputation in the area, specifically for his knowledge of public M&A and takeover law. Clients are resoundingly positive about him. "Young, aggressive, smart and innovative corporate and M&A lawyer; top tier without a doubt," is one's description of the firm's cofounder.
Although the outfit is still in its naissance, it has already built a good size team. Stephan Hofmann and Georg Perkowitsch, who were recruited from Pelzmann's old employer and Schoenherr respectively, were the other two prominent hires, but a further six lawyers have also joined the start-up.
The firm's recent work has been a mix of M&A and restructuring, with the firm's founding partners sharing the lead role on transactions or collaborating. One highlight for the pair was the merger of two public companies, Vivalis and Intercell, where they advised the latter on forming a company with a combined market capitalisation of €320 million.
The firm's M&A mandates have predominantly been cross border deals. Hödl advised Heineken on selling Pago to Eckes-Granini, while Herbst took the lead advising EQT on its acquisition of UC4 Software Group from Carlyle for €220 million.
Cancola and fellow partners Claudia Steegmüller and Philip Hoflehner share the responsibility of leading on deals, often working on M&A transactions where they also handle the finance advice. A good example of this was Cancola's role assisting Erdol-Lagergesellschaft on its auction of the stockholding business of OMV.
One partner left the firm's M&A team but the headcount was rebalanced by recruiting a new senior associate. In March 2013 Christian Oehner left to launch his own practice, Oehner Rechtsanwalt, and Phillip Hoyos was hired from Thiery & Ortenburger.
The firm reinforced its reputation securing roles on several large transactions. Schindler was involved in one of the firm's biggest deals, heading the team advising América Móvil on its acquisition of a 21% stake in Telekom Austria.