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On the evening of February 1, 2017, CEE Legal Matters hosted the first ever CEELM Budapest Law Firm Bowling Challenge: A competition of four-person teams from leading law firms in Hungary, with all proceeds to go to the winner’s charity of choice. A total of 13 law firms competed for the impressive trophy – and the glory that goes along with it.

“The Hungarian market is quite busy — not primarily in transactions, but there is an increasing number of disputes and restructuring,” says Andras Szecskay, the Managing Partner of the Szecskay law firm in Budapest. “In addition, the Competition Office is pretty diligent, and there are a number of cartel cases and other procedures going on at the moment.”

Dentons has announced the arrival of Susan Wang to the firm's Budapest office as head of Dentons’ new CEE China Desk, where she will focus on cross-border M&A, private equity transactions, joint ventures, and other corporate initiatives, prioritizing Chinese inbound M&A activity into the CEE/SEE region.

Clifford Chance's Prague office has advised CBRE Global Investors, a Fortune 500 real estate company with offices in more than 64 countries worldwide, on the sale of its high-quality retail portfolio in Central and Eastern Europe to CPI Property Group (CPI). Dentons advised CPI on the transaction, which is valued at over EUR 600 million and will see properties including 11 shopping centers change hands across the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Romania.

CMS Cameron McKenna has advised the China CEE Investment Co-operation Fund, advised by CEE Equity Partners, on its acquisition of 99.9% of Magyar Telecom B.V.'s holdings in the Invitel Group. Dechert involved Magyar Telecom ("Matel") on the deal, which was approved unanimously by Matel's Board of Directors, but remains subject to shareholder and Hungarian competition authority approval. White & Case, Clifford Chance, Dentons, and Lakatos Koves & Partners advised on the new security package. 

The Hungarian Parliament has recently adopted an amendment to the Hungarian Competition Act and to the Hungarian Consumer Protection Act. The amendment implements the rules of Directive 2014/104/EU issued by the European Parliament and the Council, which includes the rules of the actions for damages arising from infringements of the competition law provisions.

Partos & Noblet, the associated Budapest office of Hogan Lovells, working with Grama Schwaighofer Vondrak Rechtsanwalte in Austria and Rowan Legal in Slovakia, has advised South Africa's JSE-listed Accelerate Property Fund on the acquisition and financing of a portfolio of nine retail warehouse properties tenanted by OBI subsidiaries from the Supernova Privatstiftung group. Supernova was advised by Dorda Brugger Jordis with Slovak law advice provided by Cechova & Partners.

Hogan Lovells is reporting that it achieved a victory for Edenred in its ICSID arbitration against Hungary, with the Tribunal ruling in favor of Edenred and ordering Hungary to pay around EUR 23 million, plus interest. Baker & McKenzie represented Hungary in the arbitration.

Technological innovation in financial markets continues its inexorable advance. Alternative payment methods (such as e-money and peer-to-peer payment), alternative finance (such as peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding), blockchain-based clearing and settlement, new insurance models, and virtual currency exchanges are only a few of the recent developments endeavoring to make the financial system more efficient.

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Established in 1957, Wolf Theiss is one of the leading European law firms in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe with a focus on international business law. With 300 lawyers in 13 offices located in Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine, Wolf Theiss represents local and international industrial, trade and service companies, as well as banks and insurance companies. Combining law and business, Wolf Theiss develops comprehensive and constructive solutions on the basis of legal, fiscal and business know-how.

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