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The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation is, according to the EU-hosted GDPR website, “the most important change in data privacy regulation in the past 20 years.” The Act, which was approved by the EU Parliament on April 14, 2016 and will become fully effective on May 25, 2018, was designed “to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens’ data privacy, and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy.”

Last year was a good year for the Bulgarian economy, which registered 3.6% GDP growth. The Bulgarian Government plans to further boost the economy in 2018, and initial projections vary from 3% to 4% growth. The main trigger for this will be the continuation of spending public funds on strategic infrastructure projects.

The winners of the 2017 CEE Deal of the Year Awards were announced at the first ever CEE Legal Matters Deal of the Year Awards Banquet last night in Prague. The biggest smiles in the joyous and music-filled celebration of CEE lawyering, perhaps, were on the faces of Partners from Avellum and Sayenko Kharenko, which, along with White & Case and Latham & Watkins, won the award both for Ukrainian Deal of the Year and CEE Deal of the Year for their work on the 2017 Ukraine Eurobond Issue (a story initially reported by CEE Legal Matters on October 2, 2017).

The European Commission has just published its comprehensive proposal for the so-called "New Deal for Consumers", which aims to strengthen EU consumer rights and enforcement. This includes the proposal for a new Directive enabling certain qualified entities to seek redress on behalf of consumers who have been harmed by an unlawful commercial practice.

Kocian Solc Balastik, Linklaters, BLC Law Office, Paksoy, and Tsvetkova Bebov Komarevski have acted as legal counsels to Energo-Pro a.s. in its EUR 250 million Eurobond issue in London, advising on Czech, English, Georgian, Turkish, and Bulgarian law, respectively. The Joint bookrunners and the trustee were advised by Allen & Overy's London and Prague offices, Tbilisi-based BGI Legal, Boyanov & Co. in Sofia, and Istanbul-based Gedik & Eraksoy.

DGKV has advised Polish real estate developer Globe Trade Centre on its acquisition of Mall of Sofia and on obtaining a loan facility from a consortium of the OTP and DSK banks to finance up to 65% of the market value of the asset, and of W&I insurance and title insurance. CMS Cameron McKenna in Bulgaria advised Europa Capital on its sale of the Mall of Sofia, and CMS Reich-Rohrwig advised the banking consortium. 

Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov has acted as Bulgarian legal counsel to UniCredit Bank Austria AG and to a syndicate of lenders comprised of UniCredit Bulbank AD, Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria EAD, and Raiffeisenlandesbank Oberosterreich Aktiengesellschaft for the EUR 100 million facility to Kronospan Bulgaria EOOD. The Noblex Group advised Kronospan. 

“Generally, the Bulgarian economy is on an upward path, so law firms are busy,” reports Kinstellar Bulgaria Managing Partner Diana Dimova, who describes increased M&A activity, a strong demand for regulatory advice, and significant public sector opportunities.

Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov has acted as the Bulgarian legal counsel of Thunder Software Technology Co., Ltd., China, on its EUR 31 million acquisition of the Bulgarian graphics and imaging technology company MM Solutions. Boyanov & Co. has advised Texas Instruments - one of the sellers - on the Bulgarian legal aspects of the sale of its shareholding in MM Solutions.

Kinstellar has advised DZI on the acquisition of 100% of the shares of Bulgarian insurance company UBB-MetLife. The deal included the parallel acquisitions of Metlife’s 40% stake and UBB’s 60% stake in UBB-MetLife. Kinstellar advised UBB on the transfer of their 60% shareholding in UBB-MetLife, while Boyanov & Co advised MetLife on the transfer of their 40% interest.

Latham & Watkins and Schoenherr have advised Telenor on its agreement to sell its assets in Central and Eastern Europe to the PPF Group for EUR 2.8 billion on an enterprise value basis. White and Case (as lead counsel) and Karanovic & Nikolic advised PPF Group on the deal. Allen & Overy, BDK Advokati, and Boyanov & Co. advised Societe Generale, as agent, and a syndicate of banks on a EUR 3.05 billion credit facility provided to PPF Group for the acquisition, which is expected to close in Q3 2018 and is subject to the relevant merger control and regulatory approvals. 

Bulgaria Knowledge Partner

Schoenherr is a leading full-service law firm in Central and Eastern Europe. With 13 offices located in Belgrade, Bratislava, Brussels, Budapest, Bucharest, Chisinau, Istanbul, Ljubljana, Prague, Sofia, Vienna, Warsaw and Zagreb, as well as country desks for Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Ukraine, Schoenherr provides its clients with comprehensive coverage of the CEE/SEE region. More than 300 legal professionals work across borders in both a centralized and de-centralized manner, according to the individual client’s needs and requirements. Quality, flexibility, innovation and practice-oriented solutions for complex assignments in the field of business law are at the core of the Schoenherr philosophy.

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