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In The Corner Office we invite Managing Partners at law firms from across the region to share information about their careers, management styles, and strategies. The question this time around: Is your personal practice more or less the one you anticipated when you finished law school, or did it change somehow in the interim?

The 2017 CEE Legal Matters General Summit took place at the Intercontinental Hotel in Warsaw on June 1-2, 2017, once again bringing together well over a hundred General Counsel and Heads of Legal from across Central and Eastern Europe for two full days (and one entertaining evening) of seminars, panel discussions, best practices review, and networking. This year’s event — the third annual, following the 2015 GC Summit in Budapest and the 2016 GC Summit in Istanbul — was the biggest and most successful yet.

On May 31 and June 1, 2017, CEE Legal Matters was proud to host a rare event: A gathering of those senior lawyers from each Central and Eastern European country identified by peers as being most influential, most important, most uniquely responsible for having created the country’s modern commercial legal market.

Business is good in Bulgaria at the moment, according to Ilko Stoyanov, Partner at Schoenherr in Sofia. He draws particular attention to the real estate market — especially the shopping mall segment, which has seen four Sofia malls change owners already this year. Stoyanov isn’t able to pinpoint a particular reason for the boom, but notes that two of the malls (The Mall and the Serdika Center) are expected to be sold to a "sizeable investor”  New Europe Property Investments. The price of real estate has increased in 2017, according to Stoyanov, “reaching levels close to before the financial crisis."

Wolf Theiss has provided advised FactSet on CEE matters related to its acquisition of BISAM Technologies for USD 205 million from Aquiline Capital Partners. Factset was also represented by Cravath Swaine & Moore in the United States and K&L Gates in Western Europe. Willkie Farr & Gallagher represented the Sellers and BISAM.

DGKV has successfully persuaded the Bulgarian courts to recognize and enforce an award in favor of Sandvik Bulgaria EOOD resulting from arbitration against Bulgaria's state-owned Montagi EAD arising from a contract for erection of coal and lime stone storage and handling systems at Bulgaria's Maritza East 1 power station.

Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov (DGKV) has advised Mundus Services AD on the acquisition of 100% of the capital of VM Automation EOOD – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bulgaria’s VM Finance Group. The deal remains contingent on approval from Bulgaria's Commission for Protection of Competition. 

We are living in a digital age. The Snowden case has placed certain aspects of personal data processing and related threats in the spotlight. The ripple effects have been seen far beyond the USA, and Bulgaria has also been affected by discussions on how personal data is used. However, personal data protection is a post factum topic when problems and questions arise. Many Bulgarians have heard about personal data, but few are interested in finding out more. The protection of personal data is, generally, not taken seriously. 

Djingov, Gouginsky, Kyutchukov & Velichkov has advised the owners of the Pharmastore pharmacy chain in the sale of the business to Sopharma Trading. Boyanov & Partners advised Sopharma on the deal, which will result in Pharmastore's 19 pharmacies in the cities of Sofia and Bourgas operating under the SOpharmacy brand. The deal remains subject to approval by the Commission for Protection of Competition.

In November, the Bulgarian Parliament began debating the amendments to the Competition Protection Act (CPA) with respect to the implementation of the EU’s Directive 2014/104/EE on Damages Actions for Antitrust Infringements (the “Directive”). Interestingly, the main aim of the Directive and the proposed amendments to the CPA – facilitating the private enforcement of infringements of competition law – coincides with what is probably the biggest cartel investigation in the history of the Bulgarian Commission for Competition Protection (CCP).

Bulgaria Knowledge Partner

Schoenherr is a leading full-service law firm providing local and international companies stellar advice that is straight to the point. With 15 offices and 4 country desks Schoenherr has a firm footprint in Central and Eastern Europe. Our lawyers are recognised leaders in their specialised areas and have a track record of getting deals done with a can-do, solution-oriented approach. Quality, flexibility, innovation and practical problem-solving in complex commercial mandates are at the core of our philosophy.

Firm's website: www.schoenherr.eu

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