Belgium

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: Institut des Juristes d’Entreprise, Ordre Français des Avocats du Barreau de Bruxelles, Nederlandse Orde van Advocaten bij de Balie te BrusselOrde van Vlaamse Balies

Competition authority: Belgian Competition Authority

Financial regulator: Financial Services and Markets AuthorityNational Bank of Belgium

IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:

Financial and corporate (published October) – Banking and finance, Capital markets, M&A

Jurisdiction overview

Lying at the heart of the EU, the Belgian economy and legal market has a distinct international feel. Like the other Benelux countries, deals here will more often than not involve some non-Belgian entity, as buyer, seller or financier, and these will come from a range of different jurisdictions, including significant amounts from France, Germany, the UK and beyond.

The legal market is a mix of international and domestic firms. Broadly speaking, historically the international firms took a larger share of the high-end market with domestic firms more focused on mid-cap and smaller deals. However, in recent years those domestic firms – along with the Benelux regional firms – are increasingly being seen on the bigger, more complex matters.

Almost all practices are headquartered in Brussels, though there are a number of firms either based in or with offices in Antwerp as well.

Jon Moore - Journalist - EMEA

 

EU COMPETITION

PLEASE NOTE - EU COMPETITION RANKINGS AND COMMENTARY CAN BE FOUND HERE

Competition authority: European Commission

Overview

All member states of the European Union (EU) have to abide by EU Law in addition to their own national legislation systems. The EU’s competition law regulates four main areas that affect fair trade: abuse of dominance, cartels, merger control and state aid. The European Commission (EC) is the body responsible for dealing with competition law regulations and infringements.

Abuse of dominance law is designed to prevent parties who have dominance in a market from impeding other parties through actions such as interfering with acquisitions or limiting production.

The law surrounding cartels is designed to prevent collusion among different parties within an industry sector. Illegal agreements can include areas such as price fixing and supply.

Merger control law is concerned with preventing market dominance through mergers and acquisitions. It prevents companies from achieving a dominant market share by acquiring other companies and assets. Cases are classified as either Phase 1 or 2, if a company cannot or will not abide by the EC’s recommendations from Phase 1 the case will move to a Phase 2 proceeding.

State aid law is designed to prevent member states giving an unfair advantage to public or strategically important companies through strategies such as financial incentives, tax cuts and market access.

EU competition work has created a whole new legal market within Brussels and it is a broad and varied church with law firms from across Europe and America all maintaining offices and staff to handle case work.

Lawyers from any EU member states can become permanent European lawyers in Brussels if they register with a local bar in Brussels. They can practice EU law and the law from their home state but not Belgian local law unless they do so in conjunction with a Belgian lawyer. It is this arrangement that allows lawyers from across the EU to set up in Brussels and offer EU law advice to clients from their home country.

Sam Duke - Editor

Financial and corporate
Cresco

The team at domestic firm Cresco is recognised for its investment funds and M&A work in the Belgian market, where it often represents entrepreneurial start-ups and venture capital firms. 

The firm has a strong presence within the investment funds space, and regularly assists fund managers in the set-up and fundraising of their venture capital funds. A further area of expertise for the firm is acting for venture capital firms on inbound international investments. 

The M&A team often works as sell side advisors on mergers, acquisitions and investments, and regularly acts for technology entrepreneurs in this space. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

  • Nemetschek €50 million acquisition of MCS Group
  • Software acquisition of TrendMiner
  • ST Engineering €250 million acquisition of Newtec
  • Vavato €7.3 million acquisition of Jorisco Group
  • Zynga $250 million acquisition of Gram Games

Client feedback 

"Strong expertise, rapid, and always come with solutions." – Banking 

"Cresco is a very responsive and hands-on law firm driven by the enthusiasm of its lawyers, who are not only experienced but also offer a great value for money." – M&A 

"Cresco was perfectly able to manage the negotiations." – M&A 

"Dynamic, easy to work with, relaxed and pragmatic. They also have good experience in working with foreign venture capital firms and know the pitfalls on both entrepreneur and investor side from national and international perspectives." – M&A 

"Overall, Cresco delivers good value for money." – M&A 

Filip De Schouwer 

"He is a very responsive lawyer who has a broad knowledge on M&A. He acts and thinks swiftly, with a lot of business acumen, leading to practical solutions." 

David Dessers 

"Has the ability to handle any funding questions. He is accessible and has a strong network of investors and clients." 

"Problem solver." 

Wim Van Berendoncks 

"He was always available and ready to put in the work necessary to respect deadlines. He assisted us in pulling the deal over the line, and supplying creative work-arounds to the final problems that always show up." 

Olivier Van Raemdonck 

"He made a very solid impression throughout our entire investment process. He is very responsive, solution-oriented and pragmatic in addressing the various legal issues that arose during the process and got the deal done within an ambitious timeframe. It was a true pleasure to work with him." 

Lime

Lime, a financial and corporate boutique opened in January 2018, is best recognised for its strong banking and M&A practices. 

The firm’s banking team regularly assists clients with refinancing, fund raising and restructuring. The firm has also been active on financial services regulatory work recently. 

In the M&A space the firm has recently been active for buyers and sellers within the insurance, retail and technology sectors. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

  • Galimmo €40 million refinancing
  • Lab Box acquisition of CarASAP
  • Poppy Mobility acquisition of strategic assets of Zipcar Belgium 

Client feedback 

"Excellent comprehension of client needs and an integrated approach on multiple aspects." – Banking 

"Excellent work, with very high quality deliverables, and very strong expertise and know-how." – Banking 

"The law firm keeps a total overview of transactions, does good work on contractual clauses and is efficient at translating the clients' wishes and interests." – Banking 

Julie-Anne Delcorde 

"Excellent expertise and know how." 

Thierry Tilquin 

"Has very good comprehension of problems. Holds regular discussions and offers good management of all items in relation to shareholder meetings and other corporate issues." 

"He offers excellent understanding of the client's needs." 

Monard Law

Monard is best known in Belgium for its strength in banking and M&A. 

In the banking area the firm has strength in aviation finance work and regularly represents the largest national carriers on transactions. During the research period the firm notably acted for TUI Airlines on its fleet renewal and expansion. The firm also has expertise on project financings, where it often represents lenders. 

The firm is also active within the M&A space and regularly works for buyers and sellers on deals within the technology and telecommunications sector. The firm has also advised on recent transactions in the retail and pharmaceuticals sectors. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

  • Alstom acquisition of 21 Net
  • Arslanian €40 million financing
  • Digicert €45 million acquisition of QuoVadis Trustlink
  • Falko $175 million financing
  • Tradeshift €38 million acquisition of Babelway 

Client feedback 

"Quick and practical advice." – Banking 

"Deep legal knowledge, strong network, persistent."  – M&A 

"Pragmatic, no nonsense, well-educated."  – M&A 

"Professional, competent and communicative. Good network for additional services." – M&A 

"Very professional and knowledgeable."  – M&A 

Erik Monard 

"Very strategic, and has an excellent network." 

Pieter Van den Broeck 

"Professional, competent and communicative." 

"Straightforward and has excellent knowledge and negotiation skills. He is also very good at advising, with strong social and personal skills." 

NautaDutilh

Regional firm NautaDutilh has a strong financial and corporate practice across the board. 

The firm’s banking and finance team often acts on asset-based lending and acquisition and project finance deals. In energy deals it is experienced in onshore wind farm financings in local regions such as Flanders and Wallonia. 

In the capital markets area the firm assists both issuers and underwriters, and has represented clients in the jurisdiction’s two busiest sectors during the research period. In the real estate sector the team advised on equity, equity-linked and debt transactions by Belgian REITs and developers. In the biotech sector the team has recently advised underwriters on Nasdaq IPOs. 

In M&A the firm had buy-side roles on some of the market’s larger deals, and acted on the significant public takeover bid, as well as for the acquirer on key domestic energy and fintech transactions. 

A key arrival during the research period was M&A partner Philippe Remels, who left Linklaters to join the team. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

  • Northwester 2 219MW wind farm
  • Sanofi €3.9 billion acquisition of Ablynx
  • Triton acquisition of Sunweb
  • Vivendi acquisition of Paylogic
  • ZF Friedrichshafen $7 billion acquisition of WABCO

Client feedback

"An excellent service. Responsive and highly efficient, providing well considered and practical advice." – Banking

Stan Brijs

"His key strengths are his pragmatism and business oriented views."

Anne Fontaine

"She knows our business through and through. This allows us to quickly brainstorm knowing that she will also see all potential risks."

Simont Braun

Simont Braun has strong banking and finance and M&A offerings. 

The firm’s banking team has recently largely been providing financial services regulatory advice to its clients on matters including the EU Payment Services Directive (PSD2), MiFID II and GDPR implementation. The firm also regularly works on international mandates within the fintech and payment services sectors, assisting the likes of Facebook Payments, Transferwise and WorldRemit. 

Real estate M&A work formed the bulk of the activity of the M&A team recently. A further notable transaction saw the team assist the Société d'Aménagement Urbain (SAU) in the creation of the Contemporary and Modern Art Museum and Architecture Museum in Brussels. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

  • Afi-Esca acquisition of Euresa Life
  • Musée Modern Museum
  • Rewe acquisition of Lekkerland/Conway 

Client feedback 

"Excellent quality of work from the entire team. Greatly efficient, very precise with their work and always deliver on time." – Banking 

"High degree of responsiveness, and good technical understanding." – Banking 

"Strong expertise and good personal contact." – Banking 

"Very reactive and supportive. Takes a proactive stance to highlight upcoming issues and propose solutions. Very easy to work with." – Banking 

"Very pleased with their work." – Banking 

"Highly efficient." – M&A 

Philippe De Prez 

"Very professional, very knowledgeable, and a highly motivated lawyer who thinks outside the box. His interpersonal skills are also great." 

Sandrine Hirsch 

"Really committed, available and solution oriented. A true partner in thinking through issues and coming effectively to joint resolutions. Able to navigate complex political environments." 

Catherine Houssa 

"Responsive, clear-minded outlook, and gets to the point." 

Rafaël Jafferali 

"Good explanations and precise."

Stibbe

Stibbe is recognised as one of the leading domestic names in the Benelux region, and has strong transactional teams across the financial and corporate area. 

In the banking and finance space the firm is often involved in high-value real estate finance transactions. Another area of strength is project finance. 

The firm’s capital markets team often undertakes complex mandates within securitisation and the covered bonds market, and regularly assists with EMTN programmes. 

In M&A the firm recently represented both the buyers and sellers on high-profile Belgian domestic deals. The firm is also experienced in representing a mix of multinationals and private equity clients as local counsel. 

The firm’s multidisciplinary projects team has expertise in energy and infrastructure and is among the market’s leaders in the PPP space. It recently assisted developers on roads, tunnels, trams and prison PPP projects. 

A notable staffing change saw the departure of banking partner Ivan Peeters to PwC Legal. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

  • ABB $2.6 billion acquisition of GE industrial solutions business
  • Leopold II Tunnel renovation PPP
  • Orange €515 million acquisition of SecureLink
  • Spirit AeroSystems €650 million acquisition of Asco Industries
  • Tram de Liège PPP
Allen & Overy

Allen & Overy has strength across the full spectrum of financial and corporate work in Belgium and is top tier in all IFLR1000 local rankings. 

The banking team works for both lenders and borrowers in connection with the market’s largest acquisition financings and general corporate financings. It is also strong in the project financing space, where it has recently assisted with loans for the development of nationally significant offshore wind farms and highways.  

The firm’s capital markets team stands out for its combination of transactional and regulatory expertise. On the debt side the firm has recently generally been busy with EMTN programme issues and updates. On the equity side the firm often represents issuers on IPOs and share listings on Euronext Brussels.  

Its M&A team advises clients on private equity matters, divestments and joint ventures, and recently acted on deals in the insurance, media and technology sectors.  

In the projects area the firm works on Belgium’s largest infrastructure projects. It is particularly experienced on PFI and PPP related mandates, often working for developers. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

  • Athora €540 million acquisition of Generali Belgium
  • Blackstone €600 million acquisition of Goodman Group European logistics portfolio
  • Northwester 2 219MW wind farm
  • Shurgard Euronext Brussels IPO
  • Trans Adriatic Pipeline 

Client feedback

"Very good level of quality. They think together with us." – Banking

"A great team, which is led by a very experienced partner." – Capital markets: Debt

"Very responsive, qualitative and provide hands-on advice." – Capital markets: Debt

"Client-centric, flexibility, strategic thinking." – M&A

"Excellent team, broad set of qualitative people, doing many deals." – M&A

"Good quality work, strong international network, and has the ability to mobilize large teams for transactional work." – M&A

"Very responsive and completes high quality work. Has the ability to manage complex projects with different parties on time and with an expected quality." – M&A

"A great strength is their very strategic thinking." – Project development

Altius

Altius is active across the banking and M&A areas in Belgium. 

The firm’s banking team is best known for its project and export finance expertise, where it represents a mix of borrowers and lenders. The firm is also particularly active on deals within the leveraged finance space, where it works closely with international banks. 

In the M&A area the firm regularly completes cross-border acquisitions, sales and reorganisations for buyers and sellers. The firm has strong transactional expertise within the digital, energy, healthcare and mobility sectors. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

  • Brussels Airport acquisition of Sheraton Airport Hotel
  • Capelle acquisition of Van Egdom
  • CRH acquisition of Florisan
  • Havey Nash acquisition of eMenKa
  • Indufin Capital Partners investment in Cheops

Client feedback

"Their lawyers are very hands-on. They know how to handle an M&A deal. They have a high degree of partner involvement and availability." – M&A

"They were excellent, efficient and reactive." – M&A

"Very thorough, quick to respond on questions, very knowledgeable." – M&A

Argo

Argo is best known across the Belgian market for its banking and M&A offering. 

The banking team works on a mix of corporate lending and acquisition finance work, and regularly works for private equity borrowers. The firm has also recently represented ING on a number of financing mandates as transaction counsel or as lender’s counsel. 

In the capital markets space the firm has been active on bond issues and right issues, acting for issuers and underwriters. 

The M&A team works on a mix of acquisitions, sales, financial investments and mergers, across a wide range of sectors from biotech to insurance. In recent years the firm has increased its work for private equity clients and has assisted the likes of AA Capital and Waterland. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

  • Avnet Europe $1.25 billion refinancing
  • Baltisse acquisition of House of Talents
  • Euronav / Gener8 merger
  • Gimv acquisition of majority stake in Alro Group
  • Siaci Saint Honore acquisition of Driesassur 

Client feedback

"High quality work with an unique business approach. They are highly responsive, have strong business involvement and pragmatism." – M&A

"Very professional. Nice people." – M&A

Astrea

Astrea is best known for its M&A work in the Belgian market with a further credible offering in banking and finance. 

The firm’s banking team regularly supports international clients on acquisition financings and secured lending transactions. In addition, the team has been active in the financial restructuring space, where it has notably worked within the precious stones sector. 

The M&A team regularly represents buyers and sellers on a mix of acquisitions, sales and financial investments. The firm has developed significant expertise in sectors such as automobiles, technology and real estate, and often collaborates with venture capital firms. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

  • Alpina Capital Partners acquisition of 70% stake in Objective International
  • Eurofins acquisition of Ecoast
  • Horizon Ventures investment in Cloudalize
  • Spie acquisition of Systemat
  • Xpertdoc acquisition of XperiDo 

Client feedback

"Always very detailed." – Banking

"High quality. Efficient." – Banking

"The firm performed the commissioned task in a professional way, ensuring that the analysis of Belgian legislation in the field of payment services was fully exhausted." – Banking

"Very agile and provides quick responses." – Banking

"Very good firm - provides down to the point legal advice. Very responsive." – Banking

"Very responsive. We felt they have a very strong grasp of the applicable law." – Banking

"Provided excellent advise in a time constrained transaction." – M&A

"Strong due diligence skills. Strong negotiation skills." – M&A

"The team was always quick with responses and continually stayed on top of the details. Their advice was practical and straight-forward, keeping in mind the overall structure of the transaction." – M&A

Baker McKenzie

The Belgian offering of Baker McKenzie works on matters across the financial and corporate area and has particular strength in banking. 

Historically, the firm’s banking team prioritised its work for banks but it has recently diversified and been representing direct lenders, sponsors, and real estate investment funds. The firm is strong in the acquisition finance space, while it has also recently developed its trade and export finance teams.  

In capital markets work the firm performs best on equity mandates, representing issuers as they list on the Euronext Brussels. Other areas of strength include accelerated bookbuild private placements, where the firm often assists issuers and advising bookrunners on issues by companies in the life sciences and pharmaceutical sectors.  

The firm’s M&A and transactional private equity practice worked on several large deals, recently in the financial services and biotech sector. The Belgian team also regularly assists as local counsel on international mandates working alongside other offices in the network. 

A notable staffing change in the research period saw banking partner Pierre Berger join DLA Piper. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

  • Bekaert €450 million financing
  • Gilead $5.1 billion investment in Galapagos
  • Sequana Medical Euronext Brussels IPO
  • Traxys $1.5 billion refinancing
  • Wordline $2.75 billion acquisition of Six payment services

Client feedback

"Accessibility and availability of the partners is a clear strength." – Banking

"It accompanies you with a 360° approach on the transaction, covering not only the structuring aspects but also any other corporate law aspects." – Banking

"Lawyers know their business as well as the underlying product and framework very well. Very responsive." – Banking

"Outstanding service and a pragmatic, solution-driven approach." – Banking

"Precise, efficient and reactive. Creative. Problem solver." – Banking

"Really excellent work - always fast responses giving proactive and innovative advice." – Banking

"They have always matched our expectations in providing original solutions for unusual issues. They are reactive at short notice and very flexible." – Banking

"They proposed proactively the good solutions when needed. Excellent experience." – Banking

"Their hands-on and proactive approach is much appreciated by us. Very responsive." – Banking

"A very thorough law firm with a strong team. They have great project management skills and do the utmost to stick to agreed time-lines." – Capital markets: Equity

"They do the job, and they do it well." – Capital markets: Equity

"Excellent technical and commercial skills." – M&A

"Good quality on M&A deals." – M&A

"Highly competent, deal oriented and very efficient." – M&A

"Very solid legal competence. Good negotiation and support skills. Very service oriented and available." – M&A

Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird is recognised for its work within the M&A space. 

In the banking area the firm often is involved in regulatory work. It has assisted a variety of clients such as BNP Paribas, easyJet and Mastercard on issues including the EU Interchange Fee Regulation (IFR) and the EU Payment Services Directive (PSD2). 

The M&A team completed notable work on financial investments, strategic exits and spin-offs during the research period. It often works closely with start-ups, fintech groups and venture capital firms, and represents them on their interests. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

  • ChromaCure €17 million spin-off
  • Ethias / Vitrufin merger 

Client feedback

"Their advice is great and always very commercial." – Banking

"They have deep knowledge of financial regulatory matters for payments. They are able to provide legal advice that is suited to our business needs in a format that allows us to make use of it internally." – Banking

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton’s best transactional practices are M&A and capital markets, where the firm maintains a good share of the market’s significant deals.  

The firm’s banking and finance team is generally involved in a variety of transaction types for both sides - acquisition financings, debt refinancing and project financing. The governments of African nations including Benin, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar and Senegal also recently worked with the firm’s banking practice on an assortment of deal types.  

The firm often advises on relatively rare deals – in a local context – in the capital markets space. It recently worked on securitisation programmes and advised issuers on commercial paper programmes to finance infrastructure development.  

In M&A the firm is best known for its cross-border work and the team leads on transactions where the target is based abroad. The team regularly acts as the local counsel on large global deals alongside the network. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

  • Alstom/Siemens railway business merger
  • Anheuser-Busch InBev / Anadolu Efes merger
  • Axéréal acquisition of malt business of Cargill
  • Bekaert €450 million financing
  • Republic of Benin €350 million refinancing
Clifford Chance

The Belgian office of Clifford Chance is renowned for its banking practice, which is among the market’s best. It also has one of the leading debt capital markets practices in the country. 

In the banking and finance space the firm works on a range of significant mandates for borrowers and lenders, from acquisition financings to refinancings.  

The capital markets team is particularly strong in debt work and hybrid issues, often representing underwriters. The firm is also experienced in working on private placement and rights issues. 

In M&A the firm has been busy on public and private acquisitions and sales recently, working on many of the jurisdiction’s largest cross-border and private equity deals. Recent highlights have seen the firm work represent the acquirers on M&A in the fintech and technology sectors. 

The firm’s project development team is experienced in representing the developers on interconnector projects. Recently it has been active on a range of energy projects. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

  • APG / QIC / Swiss Life €2 billion acquisition of 36% in Brussels Airport
  • Northwester 2 219MW wind farm
  • T-Power €210 million refinancing
  • Tram de Liège PPP
  • Traxys $1.5 billion refinancing 

Client feedback

"Good expertise, knowledgeable and offers clear communication." – Banking

"Great flexibility, strong knowledge, and fast." – Banking

"Very responsive and works seamlessly across borders to deliver excellent one-stop service." – M&A

Contrast

Belgian firm Contrast is active in the M&A area, where it works closely with private equity and venture capital funds.  

During the research period the firm worked on matters across a range of sectors such as fashion, food and life sciences. 

Deloitte Legal

Laga is best known for its strong banking and M&A offering in Belgium. The firm operates across a variety of different sectors, including financial services, hospitality and technology. 

The firm’s banking and finance team has advised on loan facilities, including on acquisition and project financings, together with general credit agreements. Notably the firm has worked for a number of developers on public sector financings concerning social housing and hospitals. Asset finance and commercial finance are further areas of strength.  

In M&A the firm has mostly worked on buy-side public and private acquisition work, including on deals for REIT clients. The firm has also worked with a number of start-ups and venture capital firms during the research period. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

  • Seventure Partner consortium €13 million investment in A-Mansia Biotech
  • Sweco acquisition of Planet Engineering
  • UnifiedPost acquisition of Inventive Designers
  • Van Mossel Automotive acquisition of GMAN / Bruyninx
  • Xior €134 million capital increase 

Client feedback

"Excellent coordination, quick delivery and proactive assistance during the process. Very committed and always offering solutions. Flexible with client." – Banking

"Extremely knowledgeable, user-friendly and responsive." – Banking

"Prompt responses and technically good." – Banking

"Technically strong, commercially aware, and has good market oversight." – Banking

"Technically strong, delivers in time, pragmatic." – Banking

"Very available and proactive law firm." – Capital markets: Equity

Eubelius

Eubelius is one of the best Belgian domestic firms and is best known for its banking and M&A practices. 

The firm’s banking team is involved in a mix of lender and borrower side work, with significant deals completed in financing energy projects recently.  

In the capital markets area the firm works extensively in the real estate sector. Recent highlights have included working for the issuer a green bond through a US private placement, and assisting an issuer on a secondary listing onto the Euronext Brussels.  

The firm’s M&A team, which has recently acted for sellers more than acquirers, has recently advised clients in sectors including life sciences, telecommunications and transport on deals. The firm is also active on work involving private equity firms, where it advises on investments and exits. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

  • A&U Energie €100 million financing
  • Gilead $5.1 billion investment in Galapagos
  • KBC Ancora €325 million secured facilities restructuring
  • Spirit AeroSystems €650 million acquisition of Asco Industries
  • Tescan Orsay Holding acquisition of XRE

Client feedback

"Strong in-depth knowledge, professional and client-oriented." – Banking

"Excellent work. Very reactive. Very knowledgeable." – Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation

"They combine strong expertise, profound knowledge of our company, pragmatism and availability for their clients. An important factor is also that their corporate culture blends very well with our own company culture." – Capital markets: Debt

"Completes high quality work. Has a strong M&A practice." – M&A

"Very knowledgeable on all fields of law. Compromising and always looking for solutions." – M&A

"Very knowledgeable, significant experience in all sorts of M&A." – M&A

"Very professional, pragmatic and has profound knowledge." – M&A

EY Law

The Belgian legal branch of professional services firm, Ernst & Young is recognised for its strength in M&A mandates – where it has acted for acquirers and sellers in sectors including oil and gas, renewable energy and transport.  

The firm acts on a mix of buy-side and sell-side domestic transactions as lead counsel, and international transactions as a supporting or local counsel. The firm also offers transactional support services to its clients, assisting them on due diligence, structuring and other pre-acquisition and post-acquisition matters. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

  • Aramis Auto acquisition of Cardoen
  • Ardian acquisition of Inula
  • Axéréal $860 million acquisition of Boortmalt
  • Cras acquisition of Vanderheyen Bois
  • Eurofins acquisition of Labo Van Poucke

Client feedback

"Professional work and always available." – M&A

K Law

The team at K Law is best known for assisting clients with restructurings and M&A transactions. The firm works in association with KPMG Tax Advisers, allowing it to be a part of the global KPMG legal network. 

The firm’s widest practice is M&A where it has worked on transactions regarding matters related to insurance, private equity and technology. During the research period the firm assisted clients across a mix of acquisitions, sales, mergers and joint ventures. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

  • Arbonia acquisition of Vasco
  • Azerti Management Solutions / Sireus joint venture
  • Bouyer Leroux acquisition of Soprofen
  • ONE Smart Control / digitalSTROM merger
  • Ortessa België acquisition of Lammertyn.Net 
Laurius

Laurius is best known for its strong M&A offering in the Belgian market, especially for its work within the private equity space. 

The firm has assisted buyers and sellers across a range of transactions in sectors including education, energy and technology. It also has a strong presence on real estate transactions, and notably acted for Buysse & Partners Smart Assets on significant purchases in Antwerp and Brussels.  

A notable staffing change saw the firm recruit corporate partner Michael Bollen from DLA Piper. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

  • Aertssen acquisition of Michielsens
  • Ardian acquisition of Inula
  • Buysse & Partners Smart Assets acquisition of Breevast Development
  • Optimum Group acquisition of Express Printing Business
  • Tepco acquisition of 50% of Deep C Green Energy 

Client feedback

"Always aims to help close the deal in an efficient and effective manner." – M&A

"Can leave any client in their capable hands. Particularly strong on private equity." – M&A

"Provides excellent legal M&A support in terms of detailed legal analysis, complete text drafting and negotiation support. The entire staff are very responsive to requests and changes, and the quality of work delivered is very good, including the closing activities of complex deals." – M&A

"Quick follow up. Strong communications in the negotiations." – M&A

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick is best known for its M&A and projects work in Belgium where it has a particular strength in working on infrastructure and PPP mandates.  

The firm’s banking team has strength across the board, regularly appearing on acquisition financings, regulatory and REITs matters. 

In 2018, the firm internally merged its corporate and banking and finance departments. Notable changes to the M&A team during the research period saw the arrival of partner Jacques Meunier from Fieldfisher and counsel Wim Dedecker from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

  • Haren Prison PPP 
  • International Car Lease Holding financing 
  • Proximus acquisition of Codit
  • Total Lampiris acquisition of WinWatt
  • Xior Student Housing €134 million rights issue and private placement 

Client feedback

"Accurate, timely and has a good reputation." – Banking

"Had a positive experience. Good project management." – Banking

"It was very pleasant to work with the firm. Their follow-up at different stages was very good, with clear information provided to all services of our company." – Banking

"Provides very knowledgeable advice." – Banking

"A combination of excellent technical legal knowledge, pragmatic problem solving, good availability and strong project management." – M&A

"A very strong team, which is customer oriented and highly knowledgeable." – M&A

"Provides a quick response to questions asked." – M&A

"Provides extremely clear and pragmatic advice." – M&A

"Reliable, customer oriented, and trustworthy." – M&A

"Responsive, hands-on and good value." – M&A

"Smart solutions." – M&A

"Very knowledgeable in private equity and extremely responsive." – M&A

Loyens & Loeff

Loyens & Loeff’s Belgian arm is best known for its strong banking and M&A practices. 

Within the banking area the firm has strength in project financing, where it has acted for a mix of borrowers and lenders on Belgium’s largest offshore wind farm and biomass plant projects. Real estate financing is another area of strength for the firm.  

The firm’s M&A team is active across the board, and works on transactions ranging from small venture capital mandates to high-value acquisitions. Recent highlights for the firm saw it assist on a merger between two of large oil transportation companies, and represent a US investor as it made a substantial investment into a Belgian tech start-up. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

  • A&U Energie €100 million financing
  • Euronav / Gener8 Maritime merger
  • GTT $2.3 billion acquisition of Interoute
  • Northwester 2 219MW wind farm
  • Tram de Liège PPP 

Client feedback

"Excellent law firm with good corporate team, who responds quickly with complete and pertinent advice." – M&A

"Good availability. A personal approach, Strong market knowledge." – M&A

"Very efficient and service oriented." – M&A

"Fast to the point. Competent. Customer oriented." – Project development

Lydian

Lydian is best known for its strong banking and finance practice in Belgium, and also has a good reputation in the projects areas, especially within the real estate sector. 

In the banking area the firm regularly works for borrowers and lenders on matters including acquisition and project financings. Recent mandates have involved a significant amount of work in sectors including hospitality, manufacturing and private equity.  

Recent highlights within the M&A space saw the firm act for clients on a variety of acquisitions, sales and financial investments. The firm were also involved on distressed M&A mandates, as companies sought to restructure. 

The firm’s projects team has predominantly completed work in the real estate space, a sector where it performs strongly. Clear highlights include assisting international sportswear company Nike in regard to the construction of its new European distribution centre in Laakdal, and representing BNP Paribas Fortis on the building of its new headquarters in Brussels. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

  • AirTies acquisition of Technicolor Wireless Doctor
  • Andera Partners / BPI France €37 million acquisition of Orest
  • European Logistics Campus
  • Michelin $1.36 billion acquisition of Camso
  • Michelmersh Brick €10 million acquisition of Corswarem

Client feedback

"A reliable and professional team which gives advice across a wide range of real estate matters." – Banking

"A very good boutique firm with hands on, to-the-point advice." – Banking

"Excellent quality of work, fantastic availability and good responsiveness." – Banking

"The firm is responsive, thorough and a pleasure to deal with." – Banking

"They deliver good work under pressured timelines." – Banking

"The legal services are excellent." – M&A

PwC Legal

The legal branch of professional services firm, PwC, is an active presence in the Belgian market on financial and corporate matters, especially within the banking area. 

The banking team often assists lenders on credit facility agreements for acquisition and real estate-related matters. In this aspect, the firm regularly works with a range of international investment banks and financial service institutions. 

The firm also works on transactional support services to its client, assisting them on due diligence, structuring and various other pre-acquisition and post-acquisition matters. 

The firm underwent a rebranding in July 2018 from Law Square. A notable staffing change saw the firm welcome former Stibbe banking partners Ivan Peeters and Philip Van Steenwinkel during September 2018.

Client feedback

"Deep technical knowledge, reactivity and professionalism." – Banking

"High quality work, which is very responsive and pragmatic." – Capital markets: Debt

"Very good at providing timely and robust legal advice. They ensure that their clients get adequate legal protection from all risks, whilst also ensuring that they take a very commercial approach." – Capital markets: Debt

"Excellent work. In addition, they always respect time." – Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation

"They are at the spear point of new legal developments, work in a pragmatic way and are solutions-oriented. Their solutions are technically solid and efficient. They maintain a perfect balance in providing technically robust solutions, efficiency and client focus." – Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation

"Very good subject expertise." – Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation

Racine

Racine is best known in Brussels for its M&A and restructuring and insolvency work. 

In the transactional M&A space, the firm acts for a mix of buyers and sellers on acquisitions and financial investments. In recent years, the firm has increased the volume of its work and has recently been active in the education, private equity and technology sectors. 

The firm is active across the restructuring and insolvency space in Belgium, where it takes on a variety of roles as trustee, receiver and creditor’s counsel in bankruptcies. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

  • Destiny acquisition of IT101
  • Grafton acquisition of YouBuild
  • Microfibres bankruptcy
  • Optima Bank bankruptcy
  • Unico bankruptcy 
Squire Patton Boggs

Squire Patton Boggs has an active M&A team in Belgium, which works alongside its broader competition practice. 

In the M&A space, the firm often works as the lead on smaller domestic deals and as the local counsel on larger international deals alongside its global offices. The firm has a strong expertise in representing clients in the global chemicals and materials sector. 

A notable recent staffing change saw the arrival of M&A partner Marga Caproni from Loyens & Loeff. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

  • Bemis €3.3 acquisition of Evadix Labels / Evadix MPI
  • Royal Sanders £12.5 million acquisition of McBride liquids division
  • Toray €930 million acquisition of TenCate Advanced Composites 

Client feedback

"Good client service, with a flexible approach to concluding deals." – M&A

"A pleasure to work with excellent lawyers and regulatory specialists." – Project development

Strelia

Strelia is best known in Belgium for its work in the M&A area, where it often works for private equity and venture capital clients. 

In the M&A space, the firm has notably developed a specific expertise in the biotech sector, where it regularly advised clients on initial investments and strategic exits. The firm is also active working on transactions for buyers and sellers in the financial services, food and retail sectors. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

  • CBR Cementeries €33.3 million acquisition of Carmeuse
  • Group Atlantic €46.7 million acquisition of ACV Group
  • Keolis acquisition of Open Tours Group
  • Newton Biocapital investment in EPICS Therapeutics
  • Newton Biocapital investment in Synergia Medical

Client feedback

"Fast and focused. Excellent advice and follow up." – Banking

Van Bael & Bellis

Van Bael & Bellis is best known for its M&A work in Belgium. Other financial and corporate areas such as banking and restructuring regularly complement the firm’s work in the transactional space. 

The M&A team works on a range of cross-border matters including private and public M&A, private equity work and joint ventures. The firm has recently worked on mandates for acquirers and sellers in sectors including energy, retail and technology. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

  • Axéréal $860 million acquisition of Boortmalt
  • Dossche Mills acquisition of Ceres
  • Federale Verzekering acquisition of Optimco
  • Intergamma €510 million acquisition of Van Neerbod Group
  • SeaMade project 
Van Olmen & Wynant

Van Olmen & Wynant is a boutique law firm with an active presence in the M&A space.  

The firm often works on a mix of private equity transactions, capital investments and strategic buy-outs, while regularly representing start-ups and venture capital firms. During the research period, the firm has worked on matters in sectors including healthcare, life sciences and technology. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

  • Boyum IT acquisition of Produmex
  • Destiny acquisition of Motto Communications
  • H.Essers acquisition of Huktra
  • Telenet acquisition of Nextel
  • Wagram Equity Partners acquisition of Van Moer 

Client feedback

"Appreciate the entrepreneurial spirit of the team. Always in a constructive mode working towards a solution." – M&A

"Deep M&A knowledge, which takes on a pragmatic approach." – M&A

"Excellent communication skills combined with a pragmatic, solution driven, approach." – M&A

"Excellent knowledge. Proactive approach. Good responsiveness and availability." – M&A

"Very professional on all levels, finding solutions rather than seeing conflict. There was exceptional knowledge and guidance, not only when it comes to the legal side, but also the business side." – M&A