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Austria: M&A and Governance Analysis 2015

M&A activity remains volatile and has yet to return to pre-crisis levels. Activity in 2014 has largely been driven by consolidation or work-outs in the banking and industrial sectors. The following 21 practitioners are considered the leading experts in the sector. 

Wolf Theiss has a dominant presence in this sector as demonstrated by its five listings. Dieter Spranz heads the firm-wide corporate and M&A practice group and is considered a “consummate expert” in the fields. He has vast experience advising on transactions throughout the CEE/SEE region. The “talented” Horst Ebhardt advises clients from a range of industries on their transactions and governance matters. He is “highly sought after for his sound judgement”. Christian Hoenig has particular experience in the energy, steel, railway, automotive, tobacco, banking, real estate and TMT industries. He is a “great operator”. Andreas Theiss, a founding member of the firm, is a “trusted adviser” with “unsurpassed knowledge” while Richard Wolf is noted for his experience in M&A transactions and regularly advises banks and financial institutions.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer garners three listings in this chapter. Willibald Plesser co-heads the CEE/CIS region and also heads the energy sector group in Vienna. His experience includes large, high-profile M&A transactions and he is deemed a “great tactician”. Thomas Zottl has experience in public and private M&A transactions and pays “forensic attention to detail”. Günther Horvath has a particular focus on acting for family-owned companies on corporate transactions and strategic planning. He is a “smooth operator” and “very personable”.

At Dorda Brugger Jordis, three names stand out. Andreas Mayr has an “impressive roster of clients” which enhances his “formidable reputation” in the sector. Martin Brodey specialises in transactions in the CEE region and is an “efficient and innovative” lawyer. Christian Dorda is lauded as a “trusted adviser” who “can turn his hand to any legal question”.

Binder Grösswang Rechtsanwälte is represented by two lawyers. Michael Kutschera’s experience includes acting as counsel to Lenzing Group in the acquisition of Czech Biocel Paskov, as well as to voestalpine upon the takeover of Böhler Uddeholm. He is “intuitive” and “quick to react to changes”. Thomas Schirmer is a “sensational adviser” who recently represented the Swiss SIX group on its acquisition of the Austrian PayLife Bank.

Two lawyers are singled out at CHSH Cerha Hempel Spiegelfeld Hlawati Attorneys at Law. Head of M&A Albert Birkner specialises in transactions, privatisations and general corporate matters. He is a “great asset to the firm”. Edith Hlawati has particular experience in takeovers of listed companies. She is a “meticulous” lawyer with a “commercial approach”.

Schoenherr Rechtsanwälte’s Christian Herbst is a “pre-eminent practitioner” with an “internationally recognised practice”. He is lauded for his “solutions-oriented approach” and “diligent manner” when handling transactions.

Managing partner of CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz Rechtsanwälte Peter Huber also heads the international transactions team. With vast experience in the sector clients benefit from his “finely tuned skills” and “sharp intellect”.

Clemens Philipp Schindler of Schindler and Partners specialises in corporate law and transactions. He is “in a class of his own” and clients “wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him”.

Eisenberger & Herzog’s Peter Winkler heads the corporate/M&A practice group and is a “sensational adviser”. He provides “sensible advice” and has a “no-nonsense approach”.

At Frotz Riedl Rechtsanwälte, Stephan Frotz is lauded for his “great negotiation skills”. He is “versatile in his approach to matters” and “at the forefront of developments in the sector”.

Due Diligence Accountants

Jens Kaden at KPMG in Vienna is a “leading expert” in financial due diligence. He regularly assists in transactions providing vendor due diligence and assistance.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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