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BDK Advokati and Kirkland & Ellis have advised BC Partners on its agreement to acquire a majority stake in United Group B.V. from KKR, which retains a substantial minority stake. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, and the transaction is subject to relevant regulatory approvals.

October 30, 2018, Hyatt Regency Hotel, Belgrade

We are excited to announce that registration for the 2018 Balkan General Counsel Summit is now open. The event will take place in Belgrade’s Hyatt Regency Hotel on October 30, 2018.

CMS has acted with lead counsel Jones Day in advising the OTP Bank Group on its acquisition of Societe Generale subsidiaries SG Expressbank Group, Sogelife Insurance Company, and SG Banka Albania, for over EUR 600 million. Schoenherr's Sofia office and Kalo & Associates in Tirana advised Societe Generale on the sale.

Fellner Wratzfeld & Partner has advised the banks of the Waagner-Biro group on the company's restructuring and sale to Grosso Holding Gesellschaft mbH.

Wolf Thiess Vienna has advised Panoro Energy ASA on its USD 65 million acquisition of OMV’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Tunisia Upstream GmbH.

Technology and innovation are key drivers of advancement in a variety of industries, and certainly in healthcare. The level of patient care can be improved considerably with the right mix of traditional and innovative treatments and solutions. Nevertheless, there are regulatory challenges to overcome.

The Minsk Office of Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners has assisted a subsidiary of Appodeal Inc. open an office in Minsk and register as a resident of Belarus's High-Tech Park.

Sorainen Belarus has advised Helmes, an international software development company based in Estonia, on its acquisition of a majority shareholding in Belarusian outsourcing IT company SolbegSoft, a resident of the High Technologies Park economic zone. The seller was represented by Revera.

Cobalt has advised Mangrove Capital Partners on its investment in mobile app Flo, a pregnancy calculator, ovulation calendar, and menstrual cycle tracker.

The Sajic law firm has successfully represented Italy's Amigos Caffee S.n.c. before the Intellectual Property Institute of Bosnia and Herzegovina in its challenge to the attempt to apply for the "AMIGO" trademark by the Netherlands' Strauss Coffee BV.

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) consists of two distinct administrative entities – the Federation of BiH (FBiH) and Republika Srpska (RS) – and the special administrative unit Brcko District of BiH (BD). In accordance with the constitutional division of competences, factoring activities – a type of debtor finance in which a business sells its accounts receivable (i.e., invoices) to a third party (called a factor) at a discount  – fall under the competence of individual parts, resulting in several sets of legislation but two regulators: the Federal Banking Agency (FBA) in FBiH and the Banking Agency in Republika Srpska (BARS), with BD able to choose either of the two.

BDK Advokati and Kirkland & Ellis have advised BC Partners on its agreement to acquire a majority stake in United Group B.V. from KKR, which retains a substantial minority stake. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, and the transaction is subject to relevant regulatory approvals.

The amendments provide new business opportunities to banks to enter into repo transactions and derivatives with Bulgarian pension funds.

White & Case has advised Piraeus Bank SA on the sale of its 99.98 percent shareholding in Piraeus Bank Bulgaria AD to Eurobank Bulgaria AD. The buyer was reportedly advised by Milbank.

Companies have until 1 February 2019 to register their beneficial owners in the Bulgarian Commercial Register and Register for Non-profit Legal Persons (the "Commercial Register"). This obligation comes as a result of the adoption of a new Law on the measures against money laundering in March this year (the "AML Law").

Companies in financial difficulties are regularly faced with challenges in seeking fresh financing – an injection necessary for financial consolidation and to overcome financial difficulties. Such challenges become even greater when a company formally enters pre-bankruptcy or bankruptcy proceedings. In a large number of cases, the companies are in such difficult and irreversible circumstances that potential creditors are usually discouraged from providing new financing, which is sought by the companies unable to provide any indication of success. However, there are situations in which creditors may be willing to provide fresh capital despite the debtor’s difficult situation – most commonly, because they already have an outstanding exposure against the debtor. Existing creditors considering new financing may see an opportunity to exit the existing creditor-debtor relationship less “harmed.” In such cases, the main questions involve the position the creditors can obtain by granting fresh financing and whether the legislative framework regulating pre-bankruptcy proceedings is sufficiently sensitized to their specific position.

Divjak, Topic & Bahtijarevic has advised Prvo Plinarsko Drustvo on its October 31, 2018 investment, made along with Croatia's state-owned oil company INA, into the Capital Increase Agreement of regional fertilizer manufacturer Petrokemija.

BDK Advokati and Kirkland & Ellis have advised BC Partners on its agreement to acquire a majority stake in United Group B.V. from KKR, which retains a substantial minority stake. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, and the transaction is subject to relevant regulatory approvals.

CMS has advised Deka Immobilien GmbH on its EUR 460 million acquisition of a Czech logistics portfolio from the CTP Group.

Maravela | Asociatii has assisted Precision for Medicine in connection with Romanian law aspects of its multi-jurisdictional acquisition of contract research organization Argint International. Bird & Bird was lead counsel to Precision for Medicine on the deal. Kinstellar's advised the sellers on Romanian, Czech, and Hungarian aspects of the deal, working with lead counsel Osborne Clarke.

Weinhold Legal has advised GZ Media, a.s., the largest producer of vinyl record players in the world, on its CZK 85 million acquisition of a 67% stake in the PB Tisk.

White & Case has advised Piraeus Bank SA on the sale of its 99.98 percent shareholding in Piraeus Bank Bulgaria AD to Eurobank Bulgaria AD. The buyer was reportedly advised by Milbank.

Greece's Dracopoulos & Vassalakis law firm has entered into a "strategic alliance" with the Your Legal Partners firm in the country.

Drakopoulos has represented Samsung Electronics in criminal proceedings brought by prosecutors in Thessaloniki against a counterfeit trader.

Maravela | Asociatii has assisted Precision for Medicine in connection with Romanian law aspects of its multi-jurisdictional acquisition of contract research organization Argint International. Bird & Bird was lead counsel to Precision for Medicine on the deal. Kinstellar's advised the sellers on Romanian, Czech, and Hungarian aspects of the deal, working with lead counsel Osborne Clarke.

Hungarian lawyer Peter Homoki has joined the TMT practice at Lakatos, Koves & Partners.

CIJ Awards Hungary 2018, 12 December 2018, Marriott Hotel, Budapest

Cobalt has successfully represented the European Commission in a dispute with the Republic of Estonia in the Court of Justice of the European Union regarding the amount to be charged for surplus sugar stocks.

Ellex Raidla has assisted Luminor with the establishment of a European Medium Term Note program in the amount of EUR 3 billion.

Cobalt has successfully represented AS Poohtech and Activity OU in a litigation before the Supreme Court.

Denise Hamer has joined Kinstellar as Special Counsel, in a regional CEE/SEE position working in the firm's Finance, Private Equity, NPLs & Distressed Assets, and Restructuring practices.

“Kosovo’s parliament has recently adopted a new law that mainly affects private companies,” reports Artan Qerkini, Founding Partner at Sejdiu & Qerkini Law, who notes that one of the new law's provisions — a requirement that 40% of company board members be women — has already generated significant controversy.

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).

Cobalt has successfully represented the Central Election Commission of Latvia in a claim before the Department of Administrative Cases of the Supreme Court of Latvia.

Cobalt has advised Latvian hotel management company Astor Group on the acquisition of capital shares of SIA Polar BEK Daugava, the owner of the Radisson Blu Daugava hotel on the riverbank of the Daugava river.

Primus Derling has advised VGP Latvia on matters related to the opening of its new industrial park outside Riga.

Five of Valiunas Ellex's 19 partners have announced that they will be leaving the highly-regarded Lithuanian firm.

Sorainen has successfully defended Valdas Sarunas, a former director of Lithuania's Kedainiu Aruodai grain producer and seller, against a claim for damages brought by the company.

In recent years, blockchain technology has offered the business world a variety of new and innovative ways to improve and grow. Starting with initial coin offerings, blockchain technology has found its way into the financial services industry and many other fields of business in Lithuania. The trend of “asset tokenization” has recently become popular among companies seeking to adopt innovative modern technologies and create novel ways to apply blockchain technology when doing business. However, as convenient and simple as it may seem, asset tokenization is an extremely complicated business model, challenging not only the traditional approaches to the sale and purchase of assets, but also raising questions about the relevance of applicable laws and regulations currently in effect.

BDK Advokati and Kirkland & Ellis have advised BC Partners on its agreement to acquire a majority stake in United Group B.V. from KKR, which retains a substantial minority stake. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, and the transaction is subject to relevant regulatory approvals.

October 30, 2018, Hyatt Regency Hotel, Belgrade

We are excited to announce that registration for the 2018 Balkan General Counsel Summit is now open. The event will take place in Belgrade’s Hyatt Regency Hotel on October 30, 2018.

The GDPR, which entered into force in the EU on May 25, 2018, will also have implications for Macedonia-based companies.

CMS Kyiv has advised a consortium consisting of the EBRD and private equity firms AB Invalda INVL and Horizon Capital on their acquisition of a 41.09% stake in B.C. Moldova Agroindbank S.A, Moldova’s largest commercial bank, at an auction held by Moldova’s Public Property Agency.

Gladei & Partners has advised the EBRD and private equity firms AB Invalda INVL and Horizon Capital on Moldovan law matters related to their acquisition of a 41.09% stake in B.C. Moldova Agroindbank S.A. at an auction held by Moldova’s Public Property Agency. The EBRD was advised on English-law matters by CMS. Moldova Agroindbank and Moldova’s Government was represented by Efrim, Rosca & Associates.

“This fall Moldova is facing parliamentary elections and so, for the moment, we are just coping with the current political reality and trying to keep a record of all the new legislation – which the Parliament is passing at quite a fast pace,” reports Vladimir Iurkovski, Managing Attorney at Law at Schoenherr Moldova.

Things are going well in Montenegro at the moment, according to Komnenic Law Office Managing Partner Milos Komnenic, a function not only of the country’s stable political situation, with the current government elected in November 2016, and President Milo Dukanovic elected in April of this year, but more significantly as the result of the country’s June 2017 entrance into NATO.

BDK Advokati and Kirkland & Ellis have advised BC Partners on its agreement to acquire a majority stake in United Group B.V. from KKR, which retains a substantial minority stake. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, and the transaction is subject to relevant regulatory approvals.

Harrisons has appointed new Senior Associate Milan Keker Head of the firm's Podgorica office.

Greenberg Traurig's Warsaw office has advised Generali Real Estate on the acquisition of an office building in Warsaw from S+B Gruppe. Baker Tilly Woroszylska Legal assisted S+B Gruppe on the sale.

Linklaters has advised Globalworth on a preliminary purchase agreement with Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield for the Skylight and Lumen office buildings in Warsaw, part of the multi-functional Zlote Tarasy complex. The transaction value was EUR 190 million.

Mrowiec Fialek & Partners has advised the private equity fund Innova Capital on the acquisition by portfolio company OCRK Sp. z o.o. of Nuss Sp. z o.o. Stemplewski Szczudlo & Partners advised the seller on the deal.

Popovici Nitu Stoica & Asociatii has assisted RTC Proffice Experience, a subsidiary of Swedish investment fund Oresa Ventures, with its acquisition of the cleaning and hygiene products distribution business of Paper Plus SRL.

Once it is accepted that Regulation 2016/679 on data protection (hereafter referred to as the "Regulation" or "GDPR") is fully applicable not only to the various legal entities (including small companies with a rather reduced level of activity), but also in the case of individuals processing personal data, during their activity, the specific implications of the Regulation on healthcare activities can be raised.

Popovici Nitu Stoica & Asociatii has assisted Voestalpine AG on the acquisition of a 60% stake in Travertec Buzau from PCM RAIL.ONE AG. Tuca Zbarcea Asociatii advised RAIL.ONE on the sale.

BGP Litigation has advised PIK Group on the acquisition of an unfinished shopping center on a square near Paveletsky Railway in Moscow from BTA Bank. The total area of the unfinished center is 73,000 square meters.

CMS Russia and DLA Piper have advised Dublin-based life sciences investor Ovoca Bio Plc on its acquisition of Russian drug development company Ivix.

Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners has advised the SOGAZ group on its October 31, 2018 agreement to acquire 100% of VTB Insurance IC from the VTB Group.

Milos Pandzic has been promoted to Partner at Doklestic Repic & Gajin.

South-East Europe Private Equity and M&A Forum 2018, 13 December 2018, Belgrade, Serbia, Crowne Plaza Hotel

JPM advised Organigram Holdings Inc., the parent company of Organigram Inc., a licensed producer of medical marijuana in Canada, on a private placement investment in Eviana Health Corporation. Organigram and an unnamed strategic institutional investor each participated 50% in a USD 10 million debenture offering by Eviana.

Clifford Chance has advised Ceskoslovenska Obchodni Banka, a. s., as mandated lead arranger, facility agent, security agent, and underwriter on the initial finance documentation and in relation to subsequent syndication and transactional closing with Ceska Sporitelna, a.s. and the EBRD on  financing provided to Karlovarske Mineralni Vody's for its acquisition of PepsiCo's assets and operations in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. Kocian Solc Balastik advised KMV on the financing and on the underlying acquisition, and represented KMV in proceedings before the Czech Competition Authority.

Things are good in Slovakia at the moment, reports Martin Jurecko of MCL, who starts his provision of The Buzz by referring to recent celebrations related to the 100th anniversary of Czechoslovakia’s First Republic, including a national holiday on October 30th.

Alongside blockchain and crypto currencies, the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) has become a much talked-about buzzword in the FinTech world - sparking discussions about a revolution in banking and financial services. One may argue that disruption to established practices may only result from technological advancement and not from (yet another) massive bundle of regulatory rules. However, through PSD2, the shift towards open banking is being fostered by the European legislator to support innovation and improve competition in the payment services area.

A “qualifying shareholder” is any person intending to acquire or increase his or her bank shares in order to achieve or exceed a qualifying holding. The qualifying shareholder must be authorized by the European banking supervisor, the European Central Bank. Such authorization is first needed upon the acquisition of ten percent or more of the shares and/or voting rights in a bank. Subsequent authorizations are required when acquisitions of twenty, thirty, and/or fifty percent of the shares and/or voting rights in the bank are made. Importantly, the authorization procedure is activated not only upon the crossing of the relevant thresholds but also when the acquirer obtains the right to appoint the majority of the management board or any other means of exerting a significant influence on the bank’s management.

Selih & Partners Slovenia has advised food retail chain Mercator on its sale of ten shopping centers in Slovenia to Supernova Invest GmbH. Wolf Theiss advised Supernova on the acquisition of the shopping centers, which offer around 100,000 square meters of rentable area.

BDK Advokati and Kirkland & Ellis have advised BC Partners on its agreement to acquire a majority stake in United Group B.V. from KKR, which retains a substantial minority stake. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, and the transaction is subject to relevant regulatory approvals.

I. Scope of the registration obligation under Turkish legislation

Nazan Diri Bal, Managing Partner at Diri Legal in Istanbul, reflects on the turbulence of the last six months in Turkey. "There was a slowdown in the market before the June elections," she recalls, "and post-election things remained quiet for a short time, which was followed by dramatic overshooting in exchange rates, resulting in further discomfort in the market. At the beginning, no immediate actions or measures were observed, which caused fears that it was unstoppable. This affected everyone. The lira plunged to a record low, and everyone began moving very cautiously.”

Turkish lawyer Zeynep Serim has joined Erdem & Partners as a Partner.

PwC Legal Ukraine and Linklaters have advised Guala Closures S.p.A. on the issue of bonds for EUR 455 million, maturing in 2024 and listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. Latham & Watkins assisted Credit Suisse, Banca IMI, Barclays, UniCredit, Banca Akros, and KKR Capital Markets on the deal.

Sayenko Kharenko has acted as Ukrainian legal counsel to BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and J.P. Morgan Securities on Ukraine's USD 2 billion Eurobond issue.

"Elections will definitely effect society," says Avellum Co-Managing Partner Aminat Suleymanova, referring to the upcoming Ukraine Presidential elections scheduled for March 31, 2019, and Parliamentary elections scheduled for October 27, 2019.