Chambers & Partners
Banking & Finance (Band 2)
What the team is known for Esteemed practice acting on major financing deals in the Austrian and CEE markets. Active in acquisition financing, structured finance and private equity transactions. Noted for its strong regulatory capabilities, and frequently seen advising management and supervisory boards on compliance issues. Clients include banks, investment funds, insurance and real estate companies.
Strengths Clients highlight the team's high standard of work. One states: “We are really satisfied with the quality and timeliness of the service. Very complex issues are dealt with efficiently in a short time frame. The team is straightforward and focused.”
Work highlights Assisted the SIA Group with the banking regulatory aspects of its cross-border acquisition of UniCredit's card transaction business.
Advised the Soravia Group on a EUR55 million refinancing.
Peter Knobl is experienced across the full spectrum of banking regulatory matters, including advice on MiFID regulations and e-money systems. He advised the Vienna branch of Commerzbank on a range of issues, including market entry into Austria, Austrian banking secrecy, data protection and outsourcing law. "He is a go-to guy for all regulatory topics," a client confirms.
Thomas Zivny is an experienced financing lawyer who is also active in capital markets deals. He recently acted as a lead counsel for IMMOFINANZ as the borrower of a EUR250 million loan.
Volker Glas is a finance lawyer, dual-qualified in Austria and the US. He also assists with capital markets matters.
Capital Markets (Band 1)
What the team is known for Cutting-edge capital markets team leading on complex, high-value transactions. Frequently advises on debt issuance programmes as well as large-scale capital increase projects. Also active on IPOs and delisting projects. Additionally provides regulatory advice.
Strengths Sources praise the team's availability, with a client describing the lawyers as "accurate and on time," adding: "It is a firm you can reach out to at any time."
Work highlights Advised CA Immo on its issuing of a EUR170 million corporate bond on the Vienna Stock Exchange.
Acted for Raiffeisen-Holding NÖ-Wien on its issuance of EUR125 million subordinated debt in the form of a private placement.
Hailed by sources as “an icon," eminent practitioner Edith Hlawati 's unrivalled depth of experience stands out in the marketplace. She possesses a wealth of expertise in ECM and is a key rainmaker at the firm.
Volker Glas advises on ECM and DCM mandates as well as broader financing issues. He co-led the team advising BUWOG on its issuance of EUR300 million in bonds.
DCM specialist Thomas Zivny has a strong track record in advising banks as well as companies. "He is extremely quick," a client says, adding that "he really focuses on solving the problem." He co-led the team in advising IMMOFINANZ on the issuance of convertible bonds valued at EUR297.2 million.
Peter Knobl has a particular focus on the regulatory side of the capital market and banking issues. He recently advised Westwood Holdings Group on the distribution of UCITS fund units in Austria.
Competition/European Law (Band 2)
What the team is known for Comprehensive practice offering national and EU advice on all types of competition matters. Renowned for handling internal investigations and cartel cases, providing clients with support during investigations by the Austrian Competition Authority and subsequent proceedings. Also represents clients before the European courts and in merger control and state aid proceedings. Strong capabilities in abuse of dominance cases, as well as compliance mandates. Particularly active in the telecoms, energy and technology sectors.
Strengths Clients say that the team demonstrated "the ability to tailor their assessments to the exact needs of the clients."
Another client says: "The entire team is extremely dedicated and has built up a special expertise," adding that: "They quickly understand what we want and know how to achieve our goals."
Work highlights Represented Cisco Systems in merger control proceedings related to its USD3.7 billion acquisition of AppDynamics.
Advised the Republic of Austria on a number of state aid cases before the European Courts.
Clients describe Bernhard Kofler-Senoner as "very smart, very flexible and precise." He is renowned for his activity on cross-border merger control proceedings, exemplified in recent work representing Austria Asphalt in merger control matters relating to a joint venture between the client and Teerag-Asdag. He also assists clients with dawn raids.
Hans Kristoferitsch is described by sources as "very knowledgeable and great to work with." He recently represented Austrian Power Grid and Vorarlberger Übertragungsnetz in pricing and competition law proceedings before the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators board of appeal. He is renowned for his skill in EU law and litigation, with further expertise in state aid, procurement and cartel cases.
Michael Mayer has a broad competition law practice, with expertise in merger control proceedings, abuse of dominant position and compliance cases, as well as antitrust and cartel cases. Clients describe him as a "very knowledgeable and dynamic" lawyer to work with.
Corporate/M&A (Band 1)
What the team is known for Highly respected team with a proven track record in acting for both buyers and sellers on public and private M&A. Offers notable expertise in takeovers involving listed companies. Well known for large-scale mergers and reorganisations, including cross-border matters. Also a popular choice for private equity mandates. Particularly experienced in advising financial services, energy, real estate, and TMT companies. Often acts on cross-border deals involving several jurisdictions, including advising on European corporate structure.
Strengths Sources praise the team's commercial approach, with an interviewee saying that the lawyers are "able to appropriately balance between the risks and opportunities of each and every aspect of M&A transactions," and adding that the team offers "24/7 availability."
Work highlights Advised OMV and OMV Gas & Power on the EUR601 million sale of a 49% stake in Gas Connect Austria to a consortium of Allianz SE and Snam.
Acted for Teufelberger on the acquisition of Redaelli Tecna.
Albert Birkner is a top-tier, highly established transactional lawyer with extensive practical knowledge of large cross-border mergers, joint ventures and corporate restructuring mandates. A source says he is "very good technically and equally reasonable, focusing on important elements of transactions," adding that he is "practical and easy to work with." He recently advised RHI on the proposed cross-border merger with Magnesita Refratários that will establish RHI Magnesita. He has particular expertise in the CEE region.
Clemens Hasenauer is one of Austria's leading M&A lawyers, with broad practical experience in handling public and private transactions as well as cross-border joint ventures. "Clemens is a great negotiator. I was very happy with him. He did a very good job in negotiating good compromises," a client says, adding: "He just made it work." He recently advised SABMiller on its planned disposal of several brands in Austria and a number of CEE countries to comply with EU competition requirements. He is triple-qualified in Austria, the US and UK.
Thomas Trettnak is a corporate lawyer advising on transactions and corporate reorganisations, with particular experience in matters involving venture capital and private equity. He recently acted for LifeNet Health on its acquisition of AlloTiss. He is qualified in Austria and the US.
Dispute Resolution (Band 3)
What the team is known for Well-rounded team experienced in complex litigation matters. Particularly knowledgeable in D&O liability, post-merger disputes, unfair competition proceedings and construction-related conflicts. Additionally, acts on international arbitration matters in ICC and ad hoc contexts, with team members acting as arbitrators and as counsel. Represents clients from a range of industries, including energy, real estate, life sciences and infrastructure. Boasts a market-leading white-collar crime practice.
Strengths Clients value the team's pragmatic approach and strong communication skills. A source particularly highlights its "commitment and efficient solutions."
Work highlights Represented ASFINAG in its claim for compensation regarding the cancellation of a contract it had previously been awarded.
Acted for UNIQA on a claim for damages case relating to the construction of a new medical centre.
Irene Welser has a strong reputation in both litigation and arbitration work, with an excellent track record of representing blue-chip companies from the financial, construction and infrastructure sectors. "She has a very strong personality, and what I like is that she works with you on a case, she works with you to come to a fair solution," a source says.
Benedikt Spiegelfeld is a well-regarded arbitrator boasting an impressive track record.
Peter Vcelouch is best known for his litigation work in the areas of real estate and construction, where he represents high-profile clients.
Employment (Band 3)
What the team is known for Knowledgeable in all aspects of employment law, with particular expertise in collective bargaining agreements. Attracts clients from a variety of sectors, including travel, transportation, retail, technology and financial services. Works closely with its strong M&A department on the employment aspects of transactions. Expertise extends to data protection and compliance issues, as well as pension and salary schemes, social plans and working hours arrangements.
Strengths One client cites "availability and responsiveness" as two of the team's strengths, while another highlights its "pragmatic approach."
Another client has a "very good impression" of the team and believes that it "achieves something for us as a company," adding t6hat "we received huge support from them."
Work highlights Advised U City on the employment aspects of its cross-border acquisition of a portfolio of hotels in Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania.
Represented Honeywell in negotiations for collective bargaining agreements and shop agreements.
Julian Feichtinger is best known for his work in employment litigation, restructuring and contracts. One source describes him as "very knowledgeable and extremely nice to work with." Clients are also quick to praise his dedication, describing him as "somebody who wants to understand your situation and the context," and observing that "you just have this feeling that he cares about what he delivers."
Restructuring & Insolvency (Band 3)
What the team is known for Especially recognised for its experience in distressed M&A, corporate reorganisation and debt restructuring matters. Widely known for its creditor representation. Also acts on insolvency-related litigation and sales of non-performing loan portfolios. Clients include major national and international players in the banking, technology, and oil and gas industries.
Strengths A client is impressed by the team's responsiveness, saying: "The lawyers were very prompt at getting back to us."
Work highlights Advised the UK branch of Agent Provocateur on the acquisition of all assets owned by the insolvent Agent Provocateur Austria.
Assisted Vienna Club of Coffeehouse-Owners with the restructuring of its finances.
Significant Clients Neenah Paper, Whirlpool, STRENESSE, Kreidl Family Trust, Steamship Insurance Management Services.
Thomas Trettnak focuses on the restructuring of distressed companies and distressed M&A transactions. He assisted JSR Corporation as shareholder with the restructuring of BIA Separations. Clients appreciate him for being "very personable and always on top of his work."
Real Estate (Band 3)
What the team is known for Comprehensive real estate and construction team, regularly advising on sizeable real estate developments. Handles property and land plot acquisitions, lease agreements and management contracts. Assists with construction contracts and related disputes. Frequently engaged in cross-border projects involving the CEE region. Additional expertise advising international funds, both open-end and closed-end, on real estate transactions.
Work highlights Advised Universal-investment on its share deal acquisition of micro-apartment real estate asset Linked Living from Corestate.
Assisted KGAL Group with retail park acquisitions for its portfolio of retail parks floated for institutional investors.
Head of department Peter Vcelouch is best known for his work on construction matters, including contracting and claims management, as well as construction litigation and arbitration proceedings. He acted for Lidl on several of its development projects for new shop locations. Clients say: "He offers construction advice at a very good level."
Mark Krenn heads the firm's CEE-wide real estate team and is frequently seen advising on cross-border transactions in the region. He assisted CA Immo with the EUR175 million acquisition of the Millennium Towers office complex in Budapest. Sources describe him as "very knowledgeable."
Manfred Ton has experience in domestic and cross-border acquisitions of residential, retail and office space. He recently acted for Austrian developer IC Projektentwicklung on the sale of the Denk Drei office complex in the new urban quarter Viertel Zwei Plus.
Tax (Band 3)
What the team is known for Strong tax division integrated into the firm's wider legal advisory practice of transactional deals, restructurings and financing. Client roster includes major financial institutions, noteworthy investment funds and big-name retailers, with a number of clients from Brazil. Also covers tax litigation, complementing advice on both domestic and international corporate reorganisations. Assists clients with tax planning, withholding tax, audits and compliance mandates. Strengthened the tax department with the arrival of Benjamin Twardosz in early 2018.
Strengths One client is pleased with the overall package offered by the team, saying: "The lawyers are responsive and nice guys to work with."
Work highlights Advised Fibria Celulose and its Austrian subsidiaries on the tax aspects of the payment and classification of a dividend.
Assisted TOM TAILOR with tax planning and tax compliance issues relating to merging its Austrian subsidiary into the German parent company.
Benjamin Twardosz joined the team in January 2018. He is highly regarded for his pre-eminent tax litigation work. Market commentators describe him as being a "real tax litigation expert; he is very focused on this specialisation." Another source highlights his practicality. He is also known for assisting clients with corporate tax issues as well as advising on issues arising from M&A transactions.
Head of department Johannes Prinz often deals with matters relating to taxation of M&A transactions, restructurings and tax planning. A client says he "gives to-the-point tax advice," and also highlights Prinz's "up-to-date knowledge."
TMT (Band 4)
What the team is known for Well regarded for its activity in telecommunications, in particular when it comes to regulatory issues. Additionally assists with IT matters, including M&A deals in the sector as well as outsourcing, software and cloud computing. Notable data protection expertise, ranging from data transfer and international regulatory advice to representation before the Austrian data protection authorities. Represents clients from the technology, telecommunications, retail and consumer goods industries.
Strengths Some clients are particularly impressed by the quality of advisory work, with one of them elaborating: "I value the colleagues for their very clear and implementable advice."
Another source adds: "The team is very responsive, offers practical solutions and has the will to constantly develop. The lawyers are always up-to-date."
Work highlights Represented SPAR in all areas of data protection including in a dispute around privacy masking requirements relating to video surveillance.
Advised Semperit on the implementation of a cloud-based HR data centralisation project.
Hans Kristoferitsch is a main contact for TMT queries.
White Collar Crime (Band 1)
What the team is known for Standout team with impressive experience in numerous white-collar crime matters, including acting on bid rigging allegations. Expertise spans compliance advice as well as internal investigations and leniency applications. Varied client base includes international organisations and financial institutions as well as senior management. Additionally adept at cross-border matters.
Strengths Sources appreciate the firm's quality of service, noting that "everyone seems to have a good understanding of client expectations."
Work highlights Assisted one of SPAR's board members with allegations of exertion of undue influence on the managing director of the Austrian Competition Authority and accusations of defamation.
Represented Wiener Stadtwerke in various criminal proceedings over allegations of fraud, corruption and manipulation of several tender proceedings at its subsidiary, Wien Energie.
Leading criminal lawyer Peter Lewisch acts on broad range of white-collar crime mandates, frequently advising banks and multinational corporations on compliance matters, defamation cases and leniency applications. He is singled out by clients and peers alike as a "leading academic" who stands out for his incredible technical expertise in this sector.
Hans Kristoferitsch regularly assists a variety of clients with compliance matters as well as representation in criminal proceedings. Kristoferitsch acts for clients from the energy and construction sector, and frequently advises senior management. He is also well versed in cross-border mandates. Interviewees are impressed by his sound judgement and insight, noting that he is "very knowledgeable on the subtleties of criminal investigation work."
Quelle: Chambers & Partners, Chambers Europe - Europe's Leading Lawyers for Business,