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Freshfields in CEE and CIS

We have worked on some of the most important and complex legal matters in central and eastern Europe (CEE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

We have been active in CEE and CIS for nearly 40 years and continue help our clients on their legal matters in the regions.

Our cross-border team of lawyers are specialists in the markets and regularly work with multinationals in relation to their investments in CEE and the CIS, as well as local companies and investment firms facing challenges, looking to invest internationally or seeking access to international finance.

Our experience in CEE and the CIS covers corporate/M&A, capital markets, banking and finance (including restructuring and insolvency), EU competition and regulatory, disputes and risk mitigation (including investor-state and commercial arbitrations).

Our people know the regions' legal, business and cultural environments. What’s more, we know the risks – and help clients avoid them.

We operate in the region through our StrongerTogether network of local law firms. We select the one best suited for a transaction based on not only its technical legal ability but also its efficiency, responsiveness, commercial pragmatism and, where relevant, standing with local regulators.

We also work with clients' other advisers as a single team so that the matter is managed as efficiently as possible.

This enables us to work seamlessly across all jurisdictions, add real value and deliver to our clients a top-class integrated service.

Client successes

Freshfields is advising Advent International (‘Advent’) in connection with its exclusive negotiations to acquire Zentiva, Sanofi’s European generics business for €1.9bn. Advent is a global investor, with over 25 years’ experience of investing in the healthcare sector. It has extensive experience of executing corporate carve-outs.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2018, subject to finalization of definitive agreements, completion of the appropriate social processes and approval of relevant regulatory authorities.

The international Freshfields team is being led by Alan Mason and Stephanie Hundertmark, with Jochen Dieselhorst, Frank Röhling, Alex Potter, Marcel Kaufmann and Guy Benda leading respectively on the pharma, antitrust, regulatory and management aspects of the transaction.

Camille Chiari and Aileen Legré led the rest of the team with Lennart Schramm, Xiaoguang Cai, Eva-Maria Lohse, Philipp Dohnke, Sascha Arnold, Margaux Bognon-Kuss, Bertrand Guerin, Arend Liese, Uwe Salaschek, Ermelinda Spinelli, Luca Sponziello, Maria Ledeneva and Sergio Mori.

A team from CMS-CMNO, led by David Butts, is advising Advent on CEE law matters.

Following the spin-off, the CEE business, which was comprised of several subsidiary banks in the region and a loan portfolio, was merged into UniCredit.

The complexity of the business and the number of stakeholders involved, including the European Central Bank, Italy’s central bank and Austria’s financial markets regulator, combined to make the deal particularly challenging.

We also advised on the employment, tax and regulatory aspects of the structuring of a carve-out of significant business parts.