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Extra! The Winner of the CEE 2019 CEE Deal of the Year is ...

Extra! The Winner of the CEE 2019 CEE Deal of the Year is ...

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After a week of counting down, only two deals remain in contention for the 2019 CEE Deal of the Year. And, in an extremely close contest, the Steinhoff Group's Financial Restructuring, which received 9 votes from this year's Final Selection Committee, falls an agonizing one vote short of the 10 received by Advent International and Zentiva’s Acquisition of Alvogen’s CEE Business, meaning the Advent-Zentiva/Alvogen deal is CEE Legal Matters' 2019 CEE Deal of the Year.

A final recap: CEE Legal Matters has been counting down all week towards today's announcement of the 2019 CEE Deal of the Year winner, eliminating one of the five nominees each day. On Tuesday the Severgroup’s acquisition of TPG’s 34% shareholding in Lenta and subsequent mandatory tender offer was removed from the list; on Wednesday the United Group’s acquisition of Vivacom Bulgaria was removed; and on Thursday the PPF Group’s USD 2.1 billion acquisition of Central European Media Enterprises fell by the wayside.

Today's unlucky loser is the winner of the 2019 Deal of the Year for Austria: the financial restructuring of the Steinhoff Group. With debt of approximately EUR 9 billion, and in order to stabilize its financial situation and continue operating, the Steinhoff Group underwent overall comprehensive restructuring by entering into a “Company Voluntary Agreement” between Steinhoff Europe (and Steinhoff Finance Holding) and their creditors. The CVA is a legal process from the United Kingdom that allows a company with debt problems to reach a voluntary agreement with creditors involving the payment of debts but allowing it to continue to operate. In order to be eligible, Steinhoff had to undergo major corporate restructuring, including transferring its business operations from Austria to England. In parallel, Steinhoff pursued debt refinancing negotiations with a syndicate of banks. A total of 12 Austrian holding companies were included in the financial restructuring process. According to Wolf Theiss, which submitted the deal for consideration for Deal of the Year and advised the Steinhoff group along with Fellner Wratzfeld & Partner, Linklaters, and Gleiss Lutz, the restructuring of Austrian debt via an English restructuring tool was the first of its kind in Austria. Binder Groesswang and Allen & Overy advised the international creditor coordinating committee on the deal, while Latham & Watkins and Dorda advised the secondary creditor committee, and Eisenberger & Herzog and Kirkland & Ellis advised the convertible bondholder. 

With second place going to that deal, Advent International and Zentiva’s Acquisition of Alvogen’s CEE Business, which won the Deal of the Year for the Czech Republic, also wins the overall 2019 CEE Deal of the Year. In that deal, CMS (which submitted the deal for consideration) and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised Advent International and its European medicines producer, Prague-based Zentiva, on Zentiva’s acquisition of the Central and Eastern European business of Alvogen, which markets over 200 generic and over-the-counter products across multiple therapeutic areas in 14 markets, including Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, and the Balkans. White & Case and Romania's Bondoc si Asociatii advised Alvogen on the deal.

CEE Legal Matters offers its congratulations to all of the firms that worked on the deals shortlisted for 2019 Deal of the Year, and in particular to CMS, Freshfields, White & Case, and Bondoc si Asociatii for their work on the final winner.

We also wish, one last time, to thank all the Shortlist Panelists and members of the Final Selection Committee for their work in helping select this year's winners in each CEE country and the overall award. They all dedicated many many hours of their lives to this process, and deserve more than the simple but profound gratitude and recognition we are able to provide. 

Shortlist Panels:


  • Christoph Lindinger, Partner, Schoenherr
  • Gunther Hanslik, Partner, CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz
  • Christoph Moser, Partner, Weber & Co.
  • Tim Pfister, Managing Partner, Knoetzl
  • Horst Ebhardt, Partner, Wolf Theiss

Bosnia & Herzegovina

  • Dino Aganovic, Head of Legal and Compliance at HETA Asset Resolution BiH
  • Emina Saracevic, Managing Partner, SGL-Saracevic and Gazibegovic Lawyers
  • Nina Vjestica, Partner at Dimitrijevic & Partners
  • Sead Miljkovic, Managing Partner, Milijkovic & Partners
  • Andrea Zubovic-Devedzic, Partner, CMS Reich Rohrwig Hainz



  • Luka Tadic-Colic, Managing Partner, Wolf Theiss
  • Damir Topic, Senior Partner at Divjak, Topic & Bahtijarevic
  • Mojmir Ostermann, Managing Partner, Ostermann & Partners
  • Silvie Cipcic-Bragadin, Managing Partner, Cipcic-Bragadin & Associates
  • Boris Savoric, Senior Partner, Savoric & Partners

Czech Republic

  • Erwin Hanslik, Managing Partner, Taylor Wessing Prague
  • Ron Given, CE Senior Legal Counsel, Deloitte Legal
  • Tomas Dolezil, Partner, JSK
  • Alexandr Cesar, Partner, Baker McKenzie
  • Roman Pecenka, Partner, PRK Partners


  • Martin Tamme, Managing Partner, TGS Baltic
  • Ermo Kosk, Partner, Ellex Raidla
  • Martin Simovart, Partner, Cobalt
  • Rene Frolov, Partner, Fort Legal
  • Hannes Kuun, Partner, Tark Law Office
  • Piret Jesse, Partner, Sorainen


  • Richard Lock, Partner, Lakatos, Koves & Partners
  • Erika Papp, Managing Partner, CMS Cameron McKenna
  • Andras Posztl, Managing Partner, DLA Piper
  • Csaba Polgar, Managing Partner, Pontes Budapest
  • Kinga Hetenyi, Managing Partner, Schoenherr


  • Ivars Grunte, Managing Partner, TGS Baltic
  • Filips Klavins, Managing Partner, Ellex Klavins
  • Dace Silava-Tomsone, Managing Partner, Cobalt
  • Maris Vainovskis, Senior Partner, Eversheds Sutherland Bitans
  • Gints Vilgerts, Partner, Vilgerts


  • Irmantas Norkus, Managing Partner, Cobalt
  • Gediminas Dominas, Partner, Walless
  • Marius Matonis, Executive Partner, TGS Baltic
  • Andrius Ivanauskas, Partner, Glimstedt
  • Sergej Butov, Partner, Sorainen


  • Roger Gladei, Managing Partner, Gladei & Partners
  • Igor Odobescu, Managing Partner, ACI Partners
  • Alexander Turcan, Managing Partner, Turcan Cazac
  • Oleg Efrim, Managing Partner, Efrim Rosca Asociatii


  • Dragan Prelevic, Managing Partner, Prevevic Law Firm
  • Vladimir Radonjic, Managing Partner, Radonjic Associates
  • Milos Komnenic, Managing Partner, Komnenic & Associates
  • Milen Roncevic, Head of Montenegrin Practice, Karanovic & Partners


  • Krzysztof Wiater, Managing Partner, NGL Legal
  • Judith Gliniecki, General Counsel, CEE Equity Partners
  • Pawel Rymarz, Managing Partner, Rymarz Zdort
  • Alekander Stawicki, Senior Partner, WKB Wiercinski, Kwiecinski, Baehr
  • Pawel Halwa, Managing Partner, Schoenherr


  • Costin Taracila, Managin Partner, RTPR Allen & Overy
  • Bryan Jardine, Managing Partner, Wolf Theiss
  • Gabriel Zbarcea, Managing Partner, Tuca Zbarcea & Asociatii
  • Gelu Maravela, Managing Partner, MPR Partners | Maravela, Popescu & Roman
  • Joerg Menzer, Partner, Noerr


  • Alexei Roudiak, Managing Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills
  • Polina Lyadnova, Partner, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
  • Konstantin Kroll, Partner, Dentons
  • Jean-Francois Marquaire, Managing Partner, CMS Russia


  • Nikola Jankovic, Senior Partner, JPM Jankovic, Popovic & Mitic
  • Tijana Kojovic, Managing Partner, BDK Advokati
  • Marjan Poljak, Senior Partner, Karanovic & Partner
  • Milan Samardzic, Partner, SOG Samardic, Oreski & Grbovic
  • Igor Zivkovski, Partner, Zivkovic Samardzic


  • Eva Skufca, Co-Managing Partner, Schoenherr
  • Tine Misic, Partner, ODI Law
  • Nina Selih, Partner, Selih & Partners
  • Simon Bracun, Managing Partner, Kavcic, Bracun & Partners
  • Uros Cop, Managing Partner, Miro Senica and Attorneys


  • Hugh Owen, Owner, Go2Law
  • Marek Staron, Partner, White & Case
  • Martin Magal, Partner, Allen & Overy
  • Roman Prekop, Partner, Barger Prekop
  • Katarina Mihalikova, Partner, Majernik & Mihalikova


  • Muhsin Keskin, Partner, Esin Attorney Partnership
  • Nazan Diri, Managing Partner, Diri Legal
  • Eda Cerrahoglu Balssen, Partner, Cerrahoglu Law Firm
  • Bora Kaya, Managing Legal Counsel, GAMA Power Systems


  • Mykola Stetsenko, Co-Managing Partner, Avellum
  • Vladimir Sayenko, Partner, Sayenko Kharenko
  • Margarita Karpenko, Managing Partner, DLA Piper
  • Adam Mycyk, Partner, Dentons
  • Olexiy Shoshenko, Managing Partner, Redcliffe Partners

The Final Selection Committee: 

  • Christian Blatchford of Energo-Pro (Czech Republic)
  • Alexandra Doytchinova of Schoenherr (Bulgaria)
  • Rene Frolov of Fort Legal (Estonia)
  • Ron Given of Deloitte Legal (Czech Republic)
  • Judith Gliniecki of CEE Equity Partners (Poland)
  • Bora Kaya of Gama Power Systems (Turkey)
  • Hugh Owen of Go2Law (Slovakia)
  • Roman Pecenka of PRK Partners (Czech Republic)
  • Andras Posztl of DLA Piper (Hungary)
  • Mykola Stetsenko of Avellum (Ukraine)
  • Pawel Szaja of Shearman & Sterling (United Kingdom)
  • Damir Topic of Divjak, Topic & Bahtijarevic (Croatia)