Germany

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: BRAK (Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer)

Competition authority: The Bundeskartellamt

Financial regulator: BaFin

IFLR1000 ranking categories in this jurisdiction:

Financial and corporate (published October) - Banking, Capital markets : Debt, Capital markets : Equity, Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation, M&A, Private equity, Project development, Project finance, Restructuring, Insolvency

Jurisdiction overview

Germany is governed federally, divided into 16 states which are run almost completely autonomously. Under the country’s constitution and its primary legislation, the Basic Law, each state decrees its own laws and forms its own parliament and government. All states can influence federal law through the upper house of its parliament.  

As a consequence of federalisation, Germany has a network of 28 regional bars. These bodies, which are mostly responsible for accrediting new lawyers and handling misconduct and professional matters, are overseen by the federal bar, BRAK (Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer). As a central, independent regulator, BRAK ensures the profession remains impartial from the organs of the state. Both lawyers and law firms must be registered with a local bar.   

German regulation takes a fairly liberal approach to the practice of foreign lawyers on its soil. Those from EU and EFTA states and Switzerland, can provide legal assistance in German, foreign and international law. Lawyers from member state of the WTO or GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) who have positions akin to a German Rechtsanwalt (a qualified lawyer) in their own country, may practice their jurisdictions’, or international, law in Germany. 

Establishing a foreign firm in Germany is beset by few hurdles. With authorisation from a local bar, an EU firm can open in the relevant state. If an EU firm takes a corporate or LLC form, the business must also be registered with a local court. Firms from outside the trading bloc can also launch in the country with bar approval, but only as a partnership or as a sole practitioner.

Given the relative ease with which a firm can set up in Germany, and the size and sophistication of the economy, it is not surprising to note that the country’s legal market for transactional financial and corporate work is saturated by international firms.  So much so, that in the context of the high-end, larger deals, only a few national firms commonly feature. 

Of these domestic advisors, Hengeler Mueller, which is, even in the wider market, one of the leading firms in the country, is undeniably the strongest. Almost an anomaly in Germany, the firm is full service, has no offices outside the country’s borders, and is involved in a good proportion of the country’s most complex deals. In the corporate area, especially M&A and private equity, Gleiss Lutz has an excellent practice, exceeding most of its foreign competitors in quality and activity. A third worth noting is Noerr, another local firm with a regional network and a good reputation for corporate transactional advice to mid-sized German businesses. While Hengeler is the finished article, the latter two firms are still developing their finance offerings, but both are growing steadily in terms of coverage and revenue.      

Considering the breadth and depth of foreign firm’s practices, the four of the five magic circle firms present in Germany dominate the upper end of the market. US firms are well represented too, with more than a third of the State’s white shoe firms having, at the very least, one office in Germany and, in some cases, as many as five. However, barring a few exceptions, US firms generally have a more focussed approach to those heralding from the UK, concentrating on core specialisms rather than all services. 

The exceptions - those US firms that have committed more to Germany - have had mixed success. Some that, in the past, had larger, more diverse offerings, do not today. Take Shearman & Sterling, for example. At one time, the firm had three German branches and a large team. Today, it has one in Frankfurt, with only five permanent German partners. Others US firms with large German networks to cut back recently, include Orrick, which condensed from four offices to two, and White & Case, which closed its branch in Munich. Sidley Austin, meanwhile, has shut down entirely. 

This trend of scaling back in Germany is not exclusive to US firms. Clifford Chance began restructuring its team in the country in 2014, and now has significantly less German partners. Freshfields has consolidated too, merging its offices in Düsseldorf and Cologne in late 2015.   

Foreign firms retrenching in Germany is not indicative of work drying up, evidenced by the fact that new international firms continue to arrive in the stead of those leaving and others, which already have a presence in the country, are still expanding. In 2013, Morrison Foerster took over Hogan Lovells office in Berlin and Herbert Smith Freehills also launched in the capital and, around the same time, in Frankfurt. In 2014, Field Fisher opened in Düsseldorf and, this year, Greenberg Traurig picked up Olswang’s former team to open in Berlin, Reed Smith moved into Frankfurt, and Goodwin Procter launched its first office in the country in Munich, with Ashurst hires. 

One explanation behind the fluctuating nature of international firms’ German networks, and to a lesser extent, teams, is the country’s federal constitution, which has engendered a country where industry is decentralised. The Rhine-Rhur region is the home of German manufacturing. Bavaria’s capital, Munich, where the country’s main IP court is located, historically has a strong stall of technology businesses. Berlin houses the government, is where most German real estate companies are based and has become a home for start-ups, thanks to its cheap rents and general appeal to employees. Hamburg, meanwhile, has the country’s main ports and Frankfurt is the centre of finance. 

In trying to cover all these diverse markets, some international firms have spread themselves too thin. They create high overheads by having four or five offices and struggle to generate enough work to maintain all the branches. For traditionally high-earning firms from the US and the UK, an additional challenge is managing German clients’ lower fee expectations.

Without a doubt, M&A is the most commonly practiced area of law among the market’s foreign contingent. Banking and finance represents another large portion of work, although bank side work can be a difficult area to penetrate because of the long-standing relationships that exist. Most firms do some capital markets work and private equity clients generate mandates for the host of buy-out practices. As restructuring has developed as an area of law and, subsequently, as a practice, the number of firms in Germany with dedicated teams, or at least specialists, has grown significantly. Insolvency administration, however, is the realm of domestic boutiques concentrating on this practice. In recent years, as the economy improved and the level of new cases dropped, some of these have sought to expand the focus of their practices, employing lawyers who can provide ancillary services such as finance.  

Ben Naylor - EMEA Editor 

Financial and corporate
Allen & Overy

The German offering of Allen & Overy excels in lending and debt restructuring work and has strong finance teams covering bond issues (investment and non-investment grade) and project finance.  

In the banking area the firm is most often visible on large cross-border syndicated loans and acquisition financings. The firm is not known for representing banks or lenders, generally working for a mix of both in deals over the course of a year.  

Some members of the banking team specialise in debt restructuring work and are often seen working for debtors on large complex deals, such as those involving US high yield or PIK toggle note issues. On this type of work the firm more frequently represents creditors. 

In capital markets area the firm is stronger on the debt side than equity, largely due to some still fairly recent outgoing staffing changes on the equity side. On bond issues the firm typically performs well on annual value and volume tables, and – thanks to having a US qualified capital markets partner in Frankfurt – generally secures some high-yield work. 

The firm’s M&A and transactional private equity teams are not the most prominent among the market’s larger firms but secure some high-end work and are consistently active on large deals.  

In the projects area the firm has a team notably experienced in renewable energy and road infrastructure work advising sponsors. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

• Creditshelf FSE IPO 

• Daimler €11 billion refinancing

• Erste Group Bank €1 billion 0.75% pfandbrief issue 

• Cerberus / BAWAG / Centaurus / Goldentree / JC Flowers €1 billion acquisition of HSH Nordbank 

• Oak Hill Advisors / Värde Partners acquisition of €1 billion Deutsche Bank shipping loan portfolio 

• Siemens Gamesa € 2.5 billion syndicated loan 

• SAP $8 billion acquisition of Qualtrics 

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

The Frankfurt office of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is recognised for its work in banking and finance, capital markets and M&A.  

During the research period, in banking and finance, the firm advised on acquisition financing, new credit facilities and amendments to pan-European securitisation and senior secured term loan facilities. 

In capital markets work the firm advised financial institutions in bond offerings, representing the guarantor and underwriters. It represented the issuer in a capital increase transaction, was counsel to a selling shareholder in an IPO, counselled on the re-establishment of a MTN program and advised on exchange offers for senior debt securities. Key clients include Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Telekom and Commerzbank. 

In M&A the firm advised on the buy and sell side of acquisitions and share swap transactions. It advised 3M on the sale of its global Communication Markets Division, represented Citi as financial advisor to RWE in a share swap with Innogy for a stake in E.ON, and represented International Flavors & Fragrances in its acquisition of Frutarom Industries. Other key clients include Lavazza, Hanon Systems and Accor. 

Recent deal data highlights 

•Corning Incorporated $900 million acquisition of 3M’s Communication Markets Division  

•Hanon Systems $1.23 billion acquisition of Magna International’s Fluid Pressure & Controls business 

•International Flavors and Fragrances $7.1 billion acquisition of Frutarom Industries 

•Deutsche Telekom $1.75 billion bond issue 

•DWS FSE IPO 

•Commerzbank $40 billion MTN programme 

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance has one of the most experienced banking teams in Germany, a market leading projects team, and employs some of the country’s top structured finance and securitisation specialists. It’s also strong on M&A and private equity transactions. The automotive, banking and financial services and energy sectors are three where the firm has prominent clients and is mostly visible on high-end deals. 

In the banking area the firm has one of strongest team locally for acquisition finance and LBO work, and has substantial experience on the lenders side. The firm’s traditional focus on private equity work – and stall of significant clients in this area – see it secure a fair share of borrower side mandates too.  

The firm’s dedicated project finance team only really has one genuine competitor for experience among national rivals and is the largest group on the market. It is mostly seen working on energy and transport infrastructure projects across EMEA. The firm works for sponsors and lenders, and on PPPs, has experience for both the private and public sides.

In the capital markets area the firm’s strength is in less conventional work, namely derivatives, structured finance and securitisation. For example is involved in ABS deals involving loan securitisations related to both these industries often.   

The firm also has an active debt team often seen representing the underwriter or arrangers on large intentional deals, and secures equity work locally and in other German-speaking countries. 

Advising financial sponsors on acquisitions is another core strength and it regularly represents large international funds on German investments and exits.   

The firm’s M&A team is also generally always present on some large German cross border deals.  

The firm has a strong corporate restructuring practice that is often involved on the creditor side of a few of Germany’s larger cases. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

Bayer $66 billion acquisition of Monsanto 

First State Investments / Hermes Investment Management €1.7 billion acquisition of Scandlines 

Marinomed Biotech Vienna Stock Exchange IPO 

Messer Group €3.2 billion debt restructuring 

Springer Nature financing 

Qingdao Haier Ceinex IPO 

Vonovia $1.1 billion takeover of Victoria Park 

ZF Friedrichshafen $7 billion acquisition of WABCO 

Kallan

Kallan is recognised for its work across the corporate space, particularly in M&A and financing transactions.  

During the research period the firm mainly advised buyers in acquisitions, with transactions in manufacturing, industrial internet, cash handling services and unexploded ordnance. Some key clients include Loomis, Solix Group, Hemsö, HMS Networks and Hexagon.  

Thereze Rasmussen Bonne joined the firm as of counsel in real estate and commercial law from Advokatfirma Meyer 

Recent deal data highlights 

•Hexagon acquisition of Etalon 

•Loomis acquisition of Ziemann Sicherheit Holding  

•Solix Group acquisition of minority stake in Dyna Safe Group

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom has particular strengths in capital markets and M&A. 

In recent banking and finance work the firm advised lenders and borrowers in acquisition financing. It also advised on syndicated loan facilities, term loan and revolving facilities. 

In equity capital markets it worked mainly with issuers in the biotechnology and pharmaceuticals sector, advising on the IPOs of MorphoSys on NASDAQ and Polyphor on the SIX Swiss Exchange. In debt work the firm advised issuers on the placement of unsubordinated, unsecured convertible notes. 

In M&A and private equity the firm advised buyers and sellers in acquisitions in a mix of industry sectors including power, automotive products, technology, cosmetics, e-commerce and mobile payments, jewellery and real estate. It also advised numerous private equity funds on investments.  

Recent deal data highlights 

•MorphoSys Nasdaq IPO 

•PayPal Holdings $2.2 billion acquisition of iZettle 

•Polyphor SIX Swiss Exchange IPO 

•SGL Carbon €159 million convertible bond issue 

•ZF Friedrichshafen $7 billion acquisition of WABCO Holdings 

Client feedback 

“Extremely professional due to highest degree of experience in this field. Most valuable is the clear prioritization, i.e. what is really important and urgent in every phase of the transaction.” – Capital markets: Equity 

“Very good. Solid and responsive partners and associates who know the law and practice well.” – Capital markets: Equity 

Sullivan & Cromwell

The Frankfurt office of Sullivan & Cromwell has one of the country’s leading equity capital markets practices and is involved in high-end M&A (especially public deals) and acquisition financing.  

During the research period, the firm advised on multiple high value IPO transactions and capital increases. Key highlights for the firm include advising the underwriters in the IPOs of Siemens Healthineers and DWS Group and the issuers in the IPOs of home and living e-commerce companies home24 and Westwing. It also advised Bayer on a large capital increase. 

Recent deal data highlights 

•Bayer €5.9 billion capital increase  

•DWS Group Frankfurt Stock Exchange IPO 

•home24 Frankfurt Stock Exchange IPO  

•Siemens Healthineers Frankfurt Stock Exchange IPO 

•Westwing Group Frankfurt Stock Exchange IPO 

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

Akin Gump is recognised for its work in restructuring.  

During the research period the firm advised creditors, noteholders and debtors in insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings.  

Recent deal data highlights 

•3W Power debt restructuring 

•Agrokor restructuring 

•Oceanwood restructuring 

Berner Fleck Wettich

Berner Fleck Wettich is a corporate boutique active in M&A.  

During the research period the firm mainly advised buyers in acquisitions, including a minority shareholder squeeze-out and share swap transaction. 

Recent deal data highlights  

•E.ON takeover of Innogy  

Client feedback 

“Excellent support for SME customers: entrepreneurial with broad and deep advice and perfect technical skills.” – M&A 

“Excellent. Very knowledgeable with strong communication and negotiation skills.” – M&A 

“Very experienced, very reliable and very short response times - even on weekends. No weaknesses - there is nothing to improve!” – M&A 

“Extraordinarily engaged, the wishes of the customer are considered and facts are explained very well. Very high reaction speed and very solution-oriented. From my point of view nothing could be improved.” – M&A 

“Our satisfaction is really linked to the person we worked with (Christian Nienkemper). Don’t know anything else of the firm.” – Project development  

“We are very happy with the very professional, accurate and fast work of Berner Fleck Wettich.” – Project development 

Debevoise & Plimpton

The German branch of Debevoise is recognised for work in banking and finance and M&A. 

During the research period the firm advised on ECA financing, real estate acquisition financing, and structured and corporate finance matters. However, all transaction details are confidential. 

In M&A the firm advised a mix of buyers and sellers in acquisitions for corporates, and has advised on proposed investments. 

Dechert

The German arm of Dechert is active in M&A and private equity transactional work.  

During the research period the firm advised a mix of buyers and sellers in acquisitions. Notable highlights for the firm include advising Coveris Holdings, a plastic packaging company in the sale of the Global Rigid packaging business to private equity fund Lindsay Goldberg, and One Equity Partners in its sale of PeroxyChem to Evonik Industries.  

Andreas Vath joined the firm as a partner from Willkie Farr & Gallagher. Partners Sven Schulte-Hillen and Markus Friedl left the firm to join the newly established Frankfurt office of Pinsent Mason. 

Recent deal data highlights 

•Lindsay Goldberg €700 million acquisition of Coveris Holdings’ Global Rigid packaging business 

•VTG Aktiengesellschaft $1.2 billion acquisition of CIT Group’s European rail leasing business 

Dentons

The German arm of Dentons has capabilities across the financial and corporate space, with strengths in M&A and financing.  

In recent banking and finance work the firm advised in regulatory work including advising on EU securitisation regulations and compliance policies. It advised lenders and borrowers on term loan and facility agreement and the refinancing and financing of real estate acquisition loans. 

In M&A the firm advised buyers and sellers in acquisitions, most of which were in energy, aviation, chemical and automotive sectors. It advised on joint ventures, including advising Canadian energy infrastructure company Enbridge on the formation of a joint venture for future investments in offshore wind projects. Some key clients include KKR, Munich Airport International and Speyside. 

In capital markets, work the firm advised on structured finance, loan and lease receivables securitisation, loan portfolio refinancing, tokenised financial instruments, pre-IPO capital increase via private placements, and in relation to an asset-backed note issuance program. It also advised on the establishment of SIX Digital Exchange, a market for end-to-end digital asset trading. Some key clients include UniCredit Bank, Volkswagen Financial Services and CRX Markets. 

In restructuring and insolvency the firm advised distressed companies, debtors and investors in debtor-in-possession, liquidation and insolvency proceedings. 

Jobst von Steinsdorff and Holger Schelling joined the firm as partners in banking and finance from Bankhaus Lampe and Mayer Brown respectively. Michael Huertas joined the firm as a partner in capital markets from Baker McKenzie.  

Verena Etzel, Kai Goretzky and Surbhi Malhotra-Trenkel joined as counsels within banking and financial regulatory from Willkie Farr & Gallagher, insurTech Community Life and Norton Rose Fulbright. 

In February 2019 the firm opened a new office in Düsseldorf, its fourth office in Germany to date. 

Recent deal data highlights  

•IREIT Global Group Pte €201 million refinancing  

•Japanese Calsonic Kansei €6.2 billion acquisition of Magneti Marelli 

•KKR €6.83 billion acquisition of Unilever’s spreads business  

•Pyrum Innovations private placement capital increase 

•TH Real Estate / Nuveen Real Estate €200 million refinancing 

•Speyside Equity takeover of SKW Stahl-Metallurgie Holding 

•Volkswagen £2 billion ABS programme 

Dr Beck & Partner

Dr Beck & Partner is recognised for restructuring and insolvency administration work.  

During the research period the firm advised as court-appointed insolvency administrator and trustee in insolvency proceedings, often implementing a restructuring programme.  

Client feedback 

“The firm has profound knowledge in the area of insolvency administration, especially with a view of restructuring automotive supplying companies. The broad experience is not limited to the legal aspects but also and especially covers a profound commercial understanding and approach to successfully restructuring companies in financial crisis and insolvency proceedings.” – Restructuring and insolvency 

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher’s German offices are recognised for M&A and private equity transactional work.  

During the research period the firm advised on the buy and sell side of acquisitions. Highlights include working with the financial advisor to Innogy in the public tender by E.ON and advising SGB-SMIT, a One Equity Partners portfolio company and manufacturer of power transformers, in the acquisition of BCV Technologies from Schneider Electric. It also advised on fund investments. 

Recent deal data highlights 

•E.ON takeover of Innogy  

•SGB-SMIT acquisition of BCV Technologies 

•One Equity Partners acquisition of Alltub Group  

Glade Michel Wirtz

Glade Michel Wirtz is a corporate boutique. 

During the research period the firm worked closely with Daimler on corporate compliance and restructuring, including a carve-out transactions. In acquisition work, it advised the sellers Franz Haniel & Cie in the sale of a minority stake in Metro. The firm also advised insolvency administrators over the sale of assets out of insolvency proceedings. 

Recent deal data highlights  

•Daimler restructuring 

•EPH acquisition of stake in Metro 

Client feedback 

“Excellent work! Clear focus on the interests of the client. Full commitment.” – M&A 

“Very competent, excellent and outstanding work under the lead of Dr Marco Sustmann. He took on overall responsibility in the project and supported the management in any legal issues or questions arising worldwide. Reachable 24/7.” – M&A 

Gleiss Lutz

Gleiss Lutz is one the leading firms for German law financial and corporate advice. Historically the firm was known for representing mid-sized German corporates but today it has a more diverse client base than this, incorporating large banks and businesses too. Although broadly active, M&A and transactional private equity the areas where the firm is most frequently visible on high-end work, particularly cross-border strategic and private equity M&A. 

In the baking area the firm has built a good team that secures some high-end borrower and lender side mandates on large acquisition and corporate loans in addition to a large amount of mid-cap work. Within the banking team the firm has an experienced energy project finance partner that sees it secure some work in this area too. 

The capital markets practice at the firm is among the best for mid-sized German corporate’s looking to go public, and recognised for its work in this area by both issuers and underwriters. The firm has good debt practice, which is experienced in investment and non-investment grade German law governed bond issues.  

In M&A and transaction private equity work the firm is often German counsel on large inbound deals, securing notable mandates on both the buy and the sell side.  

The firm has a strong public German law offering which sees it advise on procurement for large national infarsture projects for sponsors.  

The firm’s restructuring team is often seen working for German debtors or their investors, and has a good deal of experience on large cases working for national clients with cross border considerations.  

Recent Deal Data highlights 

Aperam acquisition of VDM Group 

Atlantia / ACS €16.5 billion takeover of Abertis 

Bain / Carlyle takeover of Osram 

Nord/LB sale of €2.7 billion shipping loan portfolio 

Steinhoff restructuring 

Stifel Europe acquisition of MainFirst Bank 

Traton FSE IPO 

GLNS

GLNS has been particularly active in capital markets, M&A and private equity transactional work during the research period. 

In capital markets the firm advised German meal-kit subscription company Marley Spoon on its IPO on the Australian Stock Exchange. It also advised on the substitution of a bridge facility for convertible bonds. 

In M&A and private equity the firm advised buyers and sellers in acquisitions. It advised on an investment and stake acquisition by Verdane Capital IX, a private equity fund, in the re-commerce platform momox, and on the acquisition of AVS-Group by client Allianz Partners. 

Anselm Lenhard joined the firm as a partner in banking and finance from Siemens and Daniel Epe joined as counsel in M&A from Allen & Overy. Jessica Wilckens, counsel in corporate and M&A, left the firm to join Findos. 

Recent deal data highlights 

•Marley Spoon ASX IPO 

•Emeram Capital Partners / Matrix42 Group acquisition of EgoSecure 

•Verdane Capital acquisition of minority stake in momox  

Client feedback 

“GLNS is an excellent law firm, very qualified, yet commercially astute lawyers that understand the position of the client and add real value. Law advice is no commodity when working with GLNS.” – M&A 

Greenberg Traurig

Greenberg Traurig is active in M&A.  

During the research period the firm acted for the buyers and sellers in acquisitions in the gas, chemical, cryogenics and real estate sectors. A firm highlight was advising Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation on the acquisition of Praxair’s European industrial gas business.  

In other work, the firm advised the Republic of Germany on a transport and infrastructure project for a federal highways infrastructure toll road.  

Recent deal data highlights 

•Blackstone €500 million acquisition of residential property portfolio 

•Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation €5 billion acquisition of Praxair’s European industrial gas business 

•SJL Partners / KCC Corporation / Wonik $3.1 billion acquisition of Momentive 

Client feedback 

“The two main strengths of the firm are that it is extremely responsive to our requests, and that the advice and counsel is always very well-articulated.” – Financial and corporate 

“Overall excellent work in all aspects at all times without any weakness.” – Real estate  

“Top team for corporate law and real estate. Very fast.” – Real estate 

Hengeler Mueller

Hengeler Mueller has long held – and still comfortably maintains – the accolade of leading domestic firm in Germany for core areas of financial and corporate work. The firm’s strength comes from the size of its teams and the breadth and depth of experience within these practices. The firm’s standout practices are the traditional pillars of financial and corporate work: banking (both lending and regulatory advice), capital markets and M&A. Most DAX-listed companies are represented by the firm.  

In the banking area the firm is known for representing German borrowers and banks on large corporate finance transaction and often on the financings for large M&A deals. The firm is also has expertise in German banking supervisory law and sees a good amount of work in this respect.   

In the capital markets area the firm is often seen one side or the other of a share of what significant German IPOs there are annually. The debt team is prolific on German law governed bond issues, generally appearing highly in value and volume tables for the market. 

The firm has an active securitisation practice that advises on deals involving a variety of asset classes and does work for the buy and the sell side.  

The M&A practice remains the firm’s figure head and it typically racks on roles most multi-billion dollar strategic deals where a German buyer or seller is the main party. The firm’s is active on transactional private equity deals too and represents large US and UK based funds.  

Recent Deal Data highlights 

Bain / Carlyle takeover of Osram 

Commerzbank / Deutsche Bank merger 

Daimler €11 billion syndicated loan 

ING Diba €3 billion RMBS 

SAP $8billion acquisition of Qualtrics 

Takeaway.com €930 million acquisition of Delivery Hero’s German business 

Thor €2.1 billion acquisition of Erwin Hymer Group  

Vodafone $22 billion acquisition of Liberty Global’s German and Central European cable networks 

Hogan Lovells

The German branch of Hogan Lovells has capabilities across the financial and corporate space with particular strengths in capital markets and project finance, and expertise in the energy sector. 

In recent banking and project finance work the firm advised on the project financing of wind farms and advised a consortium in the financing for a share acquisition from Altice France.

In equity capital markets work the firm advised issuers on IPOs, including the IPO of the battery systems manufacturer Akasol. It advised the listing agent Credit Suisse Securities in the listing of Linde on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and advised on a number of capital increases, with issuer and underwriter work.  

In debt deals the firm advised arrangers in debt programmes, issues and updates, and on the placement of convertible bonds. In structured finance work it advised financial institutions on public offerings of structured products. 

In M&A the firm advised the buyers and sellers in acquisitions, including advising Woodward on the acquisition of German L’Orange from the Rolls-Royce group. It also advised BASF on merging its paper and water chemicals business with Solenis.

In energy and infrastructure project work the firm mainly advised sponsors, including Northland Power, on the development of offshore wind farms. It also assisted an international consortium in the successful tender for the Umm Al Hayman wastewater project. In other work it advised on EPC contracts for a gas and steam power plant in Herne.

In recent hires, Markus Brusch joined the firm as counsel in finance and capital markets from Mayer Brown; André Melchert joined as a senior associate in finance and capital markets from Allen & Overy; and Urszula Nartowska joined as a partner in corporate and M&A from Gleiss Lutz. 

Finance senior associates Michael Strotmann and Olexiy Oleshchuk and partner Patrick Mittmann left the firm with the latter two joining Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe and Baker & McKenzie respectively. Capital markets senior associates Sarah Frank and Laura Crawford left to join BNP Paribas and FPS Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten respectively. In M&A departures, counsels Wolfgang Kircher and Kristina Rebmann, Of counsel Alexander Loos and the senior associates Benjamin Fekonja, Michael Schröpfer and Philipp Weber all left the firm.

Recent deal data highlights

• Akasol Frankfurt Stock Exchange IPO 

• Grenke 2.04 million share capital increase 

• Norddeutsche Landesbank €10 billion debt programme

• Hai Long 1044MW offshore wind farm 

• Linde Frankfurt Stock Exchange listing

• Serafin acquisition of Covestro’s European polycarbonate sheet business

• SFC Energy 2.7 million share capital increase

• Vapiano 2.03 million share capital increase 

Client feedback 

“Great experience, robust processes, focus on economics in line with legal requirements.” – Capital markets: Debt

“They deliver useful timely results.” – Capital markets: Debt

“We’ve worked closely together with Dr Jochen Seitz for years, he is an expert in the area of capital markets law and financial regulation.” – Capital markets: Derivatives

“Very practical approach, deep understanding of economic topics, very thorough knowledge, fast replies, comprehensive understanding of our company and good "team spirit" between legal team and them.” – Capital markets: Equity

“Very professional and reliable, quick feedback, up-to-date knowledge, competitive pricing.” – Capital markets: Equity

“All work has been coordinated very well with the various topics being professionally answered around the globe.” – Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation

“Always up to speed and very attentive to client's needs.” – M&A

“Superb team of lawyers, fast responding, timely, effective process management, very commercial mind-set, strong negotiators, and very mid-market friendly. Overall it provides outstanding support in transactions and beyond.” – Private equity

“Carla Luh and Marco Weibrecht have been an excellent team on the financing side; pro-active, clear communicators and a smooth CP process. Big compliments.” – Project finance 

“Professional, hands-on approach, good availability and good guidance on various legal questions raised.” – Project finance

Kirkland & Ellis

Kirkland & Ellis in Germany, like the firm as a whole, has a focus on serving the needs of financial sponsors, and does this well. However the firm’s restructuring team is its – and one of the market’s – best in Germany. Bain Capital, Cinven, and Lonestar are a few of the firm’s key private equity clients.  

The firm has an active LBO finance practice that advises funds on securing financing for German transactions.  

The firm’s work in the capital markets area is typically bond issues and also focused around private equity transactions. It represents sponsors on bond issues to finance acquisitions or refinance portfolio businesses, or on exits through an IPO. 

The firm’s transactional private equity team is large and experienced and is generally seen on a share of what large primary or secondary transactions there are in Germany annually. It more often works for US based funds.  

The restructuring practice is known for working for creditors (often funds) on large cases with a complex debt element, and in the recent past has been involved in a good share of large German or European cases. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

Air Berlin restructuring  

Agrokor restructuring 

Alteri Investors acquisition of CBR Fashion Group 

Bain / Cinven €5.3 billion takeover of Stada 

Bain / Carlyle takeover offer for Osram 

EP Global Commerce takeover offer for Metro 

Jack Wolfksin restructuring  

Steinhoff restructuring 

Latham & Watkins

Latham & Watkins in Germany used to target specific areas of work, mainly around advising financial sponsors on acquisitions and portfolio management. But the firm has developed into a contender for the leading all-rounder for financial and corporate transactional advice in Germany after recruiting key names from rivals in a variety of practice areas over the last few years. One area where the firm should be highlighted is in high-yield bond issues by German issuers – where it is the market leader.  

In the banking area the firm is among the market leaders for LBO finance advice and is often seen on large buy-outs advising either the lenders or the sponsors.   

The firm has strong debt and equity capital markets practices and is the leader for high yield issues from Germany in terms of deal volume and value, and experience. The firm was the first in Germany to advise on US law high-yield debt transactions and remains at the top of this field despite the market growing more competitive in terms of legal advisors. In this area it continues to advise on market firsts (such as the first deal to be financed by a bond and term loan B in Germany).  

The firm’s equity team was one which benefitted from the aforementioned intelligent lateral hires, and is the firm most likely to break into the top tier thanks to work on large IPOs and secondary share deals.  

Transactional private equity work is one the firm’s specialisms. The firm is set up to advise financial sponsors on transactions with strong complementary LBO and capital markets practices and consequently typically secures roles on a number of large acquisitions or exits.  

The firm’s restructuring and insolvency team is one of the best on the local market and has been for some time. Its expertise, built through experience across large cases in most key industry sectors, sees it often instructed on large cases by creditors or debtors.  

Recent Deal Data highlights 

Air Berlin restructuring  

Bain / Cinven €5.3 billion takeover of Stada 

BMW Group $1 billion 3.1%, $1 billion 3.45%, and $1.5 billion FR bond issue 

CVC Capital Partners / Messer Group joint venture 

Kaefer Isoliertechnik €250 million 5.5% high yield bond issue 

Siemens Healthineers FSE IPO 

Steinhoff restructuring 

ZF Friedrichshafen $7 billion acquisition of WABCO 

Leo Schmidt-Hollburg Witte & Frank

Leo Schmidt-Hollburg Witte & Frank is active across the corporate space. 

During the research period the firm mainly advised the sellers in acquisitions. A firm highlight was advising the shareholders of FFG Finanzcheck Finanzportale, a tech-enabled customer finance platform in a limited auction share sale to Scout24.  

Recent deal data highlights  

•General Atlantic €200 million acquisition of 45% stake in Powercloud 

•Scout24 €285 million acquisition of FFG Finanzcheck Finanzportale stake 

•StepStone acquisition of 51% stake in PMSG PersonalMarkt Services 

Mayer Brown

The German arm of Mayer Brown has high capabilities across the corporate and financial space, with particular strengths in finance, debt capital markets and M&A. 

In recent banking and finance work the firm advised financial institutions and sponsors in acquisition financing, particularly for real estate assets. It also advised on margin loan transactions, treasury investments and facilities agreements. Some key clients include JPMorgan Chase Bank, Avedon Capital Partners and US Investment Bank. 

In debt capital markets the firm advised issuers on debt issuance programs, including non-preferred notes and prospectus updates. It also advised arrangers on a schuldscheindarlehen issuance. In structured finance, the firm worked with issuers on auto loan securitisation and structured products issuance programmes. 

In M&A and private equity the firm advised buyers and sellers in acquisitions, particularly in the technology sector, and advised on venture capital investments. 

Berthold Kusserow joined the firm as senior counsel in banking and finance form Berwin Leighton Paisner, and Holger Schelling, a counsel in banking and finance, left the firm to join Dentons. Robert John joined the firm from Clifford Chance to work as a partner in corporate and M&A.  

Recent deal data highlights 

•Anchorage / CVC acquisition of Ideal Standard 

•Barry Callebaut €600 million schuldscheindarlehen 

•Hamburg Commercial Bank bond programme  

•John Crane / Smiths Group acquisition of Seebach Group 

•The Webhelp Group acquisition of Sellbytel Group 

•Thor Industries acquisition of Hymer Group 

Client feedback 

“Good value for money. Seamless service across offices.” – Capital markets: Debt 

“Excellent technical know-how, top class service, fast turnaround.” – Capital markets: Derivatives 

“Highly qualified, experienced and responsive.” – Capital markets: Derivatives 

“Excellent in every respect.” – Restructuring and insolvency 

“Very professional and quick.” – Restructuring and insolvency 

“Good work.” – Restructuring and insolvency 

“Fair and constructive handling.” – Restructuring and insolvency  

“We are very much satisfied with the solution-based, customer-oriented approach. We have no negative feedback and all we have experienced about the firm is completely positive.” – Restructuring and insolvency 

Milbank

Milbank is recognised for work in acquisition finance and M&A.  

During the research period the firm advised lenders and borrowers in acquisition financing and in the refinancing of syndicated, term-loan and revolving facilities. 

In capital markets the firm advised issuers on bond issuances and advised Axel Springer on a debut commercial paper program. A practice highlight was advising issuer Athens International Airport on bond loan financing for a concession extension. 

In M&A the firm has been busy on strategic and private equity backed deals.  

Recent deal data highlights 

•Athens International Airport 

•Axel Springer €2 billion refinancing 

•Axel Springer €750 million bond programme 

•Sartorius $750 million acquisition of Danaher life sciences businesses 

•Triton / Abu Dhabi Investment Authority acquisition in IFCO Systems 

•Kaefer Isoliertechnik €750 million refinancing  

Client feedback 

“Exceptional service level and commercial judgment.” – Private equity 

“Very knowledgeable in integrated finance and restructuring. Good international networks and excellent high yield know-how.” – Restructuring and insolvency. 

Noerr

Noerr is a strong German firm recognised for work in banking and finance, M&A, capital markets and restructuring. 

During the research period in banking and finance the firm advised lenders and borrowers in syndicated and bridge financing, restructuring and acquisition financing. Some key clients for the firm include Scout 24, Dax Company and Argos Wityu. 

In capital markets the firm advised issuers and underwriters on IPOs, advised on increasing capital through rights issues, and on private placements. In debt issues the firm advised on bond sales, including the EMTN programmes. 

In M&A the firm advised on the buy and sell side of acquisitions across automotive, financial services, media, waste management, ecommerce, healthcare and regulated industries sectors. 

In restructuring and insolvency the firm advised creditors, distressed companies and debtors in insolvency, debtor-in-possession proceedings and restructuring.  

In other work, the firm advised Kapsch TrafficCom as successful bidder in an infrastructure project for collection of passenger car toll in Germany, working with the German Federal Government. 

In the research period Alexander Schilling joined the firm as an associated partner in banking and finance from Allen & Overy. Rene Dubois, an associated partner in M&A, left the firm to join Dentons. 

Recent deal data highlights  

•BASF €1.7 billion acquisition of Bayer’s global digital farming business  

•DFV Frankfurt Stock Exchange IPO 

•home24 Frankfurt Stock Exchange IPO 

•Fresenius Medical Care €10 billion EMTN programme 

•Scout 24 €1 billion bridge financing 

•Viridium Group €1.9 billion acquisition of 89.9% in Generali Lebensversicherung 

•Westwing Group Frankfurt Stock Exchange IPO 

Client feedback 

“Fast reaction and excellent grasp of the transaction. No weaknesses.” – Banking  

Pinsent Masons

Pinsent Masons Germany was particularly active in the technology sector during the research period in private equity and equity capital markets transactions. 

In capital markets, the firm advised issuers on IPOs on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and on a share capital increase.  

In private equity, the firm worked on the borrower and investor sides of investment participation. It advised in venture capital financing rounds and seed funding and, in related M&A, the firm worked for a buyer in a software acquisition. 

Recent deal data highlights  

•Cyan Frankfurt Stock Exchange IPO 

•Idera acquisition of Travis Cl  

•Stemmer Imaging Frankfurt Stock Exchange IPO  

•STS Group Frankfurt Stock Exchange IPO 

Shearman & Sterling

The German branch of Shearman & Sterling has particular strength in leveraged finance.  

During the research period in banking and finance the firm advised bank and debt fund lenders, corporate borrowers and private equity sponsors in syndicated financing, unitranche refinancing and acquisition financing. 

In M&A and private equity, the firm advised buyers and sellers in acquisitions in various sectors, including manufacturing and automotive, chemical, technology, industrial and power. A firm highlight was advising General Electric on the sale of its Distributed Power business to Advent International.  

In restructuring and insolvency the firm represented key client Etihad as shareholder in the insolvency proceedings of Air Berlin. 

Andreas Löhdefink, a partner in M&A, left the firm for Gleiss Lutz.  

Recent deal data highlights 

•Advent International $3.25 billion acquisition of General Electric’s Distributed Power business 

•Allgaier refinancing  

•Boards & More refinancing 

•Emerson Electric $810 million acquisition of Textron’s tools and test business  

•Ipsen unitranche refinancing 

•Radisson’s €250 bond issue 

Client feedback 

“Very dedicated and knowledgeable, a lot of senior attention when required and great characters.” – Banking  

“Very good work.” – Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation  

“Very good relationship, always committed.” – Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation  

“Legal support in all areas of the transaction (due diligence, reviewing agreements, and general advice). Strengths: attentive, quick feedback, expertise. Weaknesses: client-focus, cost attentiveness.” 

“Very fast and sophisticated.” – Restructuring and insolvency 

Simmons & Simmons

The German arm of Simmons & Simmons is recognised for its work in banking and finance and restructuring. 

During the research period in banking and finance the firm advised lenders and borrowers in corporate and acquisition financing, including a green loan credit facility for Henkel. 

In restructuring and insolvency the firm advised hedge funds, as bondholders, and distressed debt investors in insolvency. Key highlights for the firm include advising Steinhoff Group companies on corporate and debt restructuring.. 

Jen Gölz joined the firm as a partner in restructuring from Allen & Overy. 

Recent deal data highlights 

•Henkel €1.5 billion green financing  

•HSH Nordbank restructuring 

•Prysmian acquisition of General Cable 

•Steinhoff restructuring