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Clifford Chance, working with Latham & Watkins, has advised the steering committee of the credit financiers, including Commerzbank AG, DZ Bank AG, Erste Group Bank AG, Landesbank Baden-Wurttemberg, and Norddeutsche Landesbank, on the restructuring of the Benteler Group. Ashurst and Schoenherr advised Benteler on the deal.

The most notable recent political event in the Czech Republic was the October 2020 regional election, says Jaroslav Havel, Managing Partner at Havel & Partners. However, Havel is quick to point out that, no matter who has been in office in the last ten years, politicians have not had a major impact on business in the Czech Republic. A more tangible effect of the election, he says, is that his former partner, Jan Holasek, who left the former Havel & Holasek law firm six years ago, has become a member of the Czech Senate.

2020 was quite a year and one all of us will not forget. For employment and labor law developments, 2020 was unlike any other. We saw rapid change and common themes emerge across the globe. One of the major themes was the introduction of government subsidies to support employers and maintain employment across many countries. We also saw an acceleration of remote and flexible working, and which posed both opportunities and challenges for employers and employees alike. There was also an increase in regulations that govern remote working.

A new regulation sets up a system for controlling investments from outside the EU in strategic assets relevant to the security and internal order of the Czech Republic. From 1 April 2021, certain foreign investments in Czech assets (including private) will thus be subject to prior approval by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The ministry will also be entitled to review any foreign investment up to five years after its completion. The Act defines a wide variety of entries into the target as foreign investment (not only asset ownership but also, for example, membership of a body). There is no experience with investment approval procedures yet, but failure to notify can lead to enormous fines (up to 1% of turnover). Comprehensive preparation of the required documents and information and legal representation in negotiations with the Ministry of Industry and Trade are therefore highly recommended.

On January 1, 2021, Act No. 49/2020 Coll. – commonly known as the BankID Act – will enter into force. This new legislation has the potential to bring a significant change to the way Czechs operate on the Internet and to promote further digitalization in both the public and private sectors.

The M&A market in 2020 has been significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. According to the latest quarterly M&A overview prepared by CzechInvest, the leading agency supporting business and investments in the Czech Republic, “in a very short period of time and on a large scale, many companies have had to close down or limit their operations, dismiss stuff members, and disrupt supply chains.” Although there has been some recovery since May, the situation remains unpredictable. The second and next presumed waves will likely bring even more uncertainty.

On September 24, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Baker McKenzie’s Prague office had advised Worldline SA/NV on its acquisition of a 53% of stake in GoPay. JSK and Urban & Hejduk advised the sellers on the deal, Pavel Schwarz Jr. and BUDEX Direct.

About a half year ago, I was sitting in a pitch meeting trying to impress a potential client to win an important mandate for a project that would take two years to close. The meeting was attended by top management of the company and by its founder. We discussed all the technical aspects, our past experience with similar projects, and how we worked as a team. We were hoping to come across as a unified team and show that we knew what we were doing. It was already the second round, so we focused on chemistry and relationship-building. At the end of the meeting we devoted a lot of time to discussing how important it is to be open and honest. I told the client that we would not just agree with them all the time – we would be honest with our fees upfront, we would tell them if we thought they were doing something wrong, we would treat them as friends and partners, we would tell them if we thought their instructions create more work than necessary, and, most importantly, we would always have smiles on our faces, even if we needed to tell them they are wrong.

In The Corner Office we ask Managing Partners across Central and Eastern Europe about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time: “What one ongoing pro bono initiative or project or charity/volunteering project that your firm is involved with has the most meaning for you personally, and why?”

White & Case has advised the banks on the establishment of a EUR 5 billion international mortgage-covered bonds program by Komercni Banka and the issue of EUR 500 million 0.01% fixed rate mortgage-covered bonds due 2026 under the program. Allen & Overy advised Komercni Banka throughout the process.

BBH, working with lead counsel Shearman & Sterling, has advised Citrix on Czech aspects of the USD 2.25 billion acquisition of project management software company Wrike from Vista Equity Partners. Latham & Watkins reportedly advised the seller on the deal.

Czech Republic Knowledge Partner

HAVEL & PARTNERS, attorneys-at-law, with offices in Prague, Brno, Bratislava, Pilsen, Olomouc, and Ostrava, has a team of 220 lawyers, tax advisors and 500 employees in total, is the largest independent law firm in Central Europe.

Our clients include large international companies, leading Czech and Slovak firms, including strategic state-owned companies and public sector authorities, as well as medium-size businesses, individual entrepreneurs, and investors. We advise approximately 100 of the Fortune 500 companies, and almost 50 of the Czech Top 100 companies. HAVEL & PARTNERS currently provides its services to a total of 2,000 clients. We have the most comprehensive international support available to both Czech and Slovak law firms. We provide legal and tax advice in 12 world languages in more than 90 countries around the globe. Up to 70 % of the transactions we deal with involve an international aspect.

HAVEL & PARTNERS was named the best law firm operating in the Czech Republic by the prestigious British rating agencies Chambers and Partners (2020) and Who’s Who Legal (2018, 2019). It is also the most successful law firm, providing the most comprehensive legal services in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, based on the total number of all nominations and awards in all years of the Law Firm of the Year awards. The firm became the absolute winner of this competition four times in the last six years, receiving the main award Domestic Law Firm of the Year in the Czech Republic (2015, 2017, 2018, 2020) and ranking as one of the most recommended law firms in all categories of law. Our company is also a three-time winner of the Law Firm of the Year award for Best Client Services (2015, 2016, 2019). In the field of M&A, HAVEL & PARTNERS is the best law firm in the Czech Republic based on the annual International Advisory Experts awards (2018, 2019). In Slovakia, it also won the prestigious global M&A Today Awards (2013–2018) for Mergers & Acquisitions six times in a row, and repeatedly won first place in the ranking by Lawyer International Legal 100 (2017, 2018). Prestigious international rating agencies EMIS DealWatch and Mergermarket have ranked HAVEL & PARTNERS among the leading law firms by the number of transactions completed in the entire CEE region since 2009. Based on annual awards of the Acquisition International magazine, HAVEL & PARTNERS has become the Law Firm of the Year 2019 in the M&A category in the CEE region.

Firm's website: https://www.havelpartners.cz/en/

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