Clifford Chance Badea has advised J.C. Flowers & Co. on the acquisition by funds it manages of Piraeus Bank Romania from Piraeus Bank S.A., in a deal marking the American investor's entry on the local market. White & Case (as international legal counsel) and Schoenherr (as Romanian legal counsel) advised Piraeus Bank on the transaction, which has been approved by the Board of Directors of Piraeus Bank and the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund.
The deal is expected to and closing, which is expected in the first half of 2018, subject to customary conditions, including regulatory approvals by the relevant authorities in Romania.
Headquartered in Bucharest, Pireaus Bank Romania had, as of September 30, 2017, total assets of EUR 1.5 billion. PBR operates through 99 banking units, employs over 1,300 professionals, and has approximately 150,000 active clients.
J.C. Flowers invests globally in the financial services industry. Founded in 1998, the firm has invested more than USD 15 billion of capital in 50 portfolio companies in 17 countries across a range of industry sub-sectors, including banking, insurance and reinsurance, securities firms, specialty finance, and services and asset management. The company, which has approximately USD 6 billion of assets under management, has offices in New York and London.
“The sale of our banking operations in Romania represents another major step towards the timely execution of the group's restructuring plan commitments, as those agreed with the Directorate General of Competition of the European Commission, as well as the implementation of the strategic plan of the group, Agenda 2020," said Piraeus CEO Mr. Christos Megalou. "I am particularly glad that going forward PBR will be owned and managed by one of the most well-esteemed international private equity firms with significant experience in the financial services space across numerous jurisdictions.”
Christopher Flowers, CEO and Managing Director of JCF, said: “Piraeus Bank Romania has a solid solvency, liquidity, and asset quality profile in the fastest-growing economy in the European Union. We look forward to working with Piraeus Bank Romania to complete the acquisition and create a strong independent bank in the dynamic, local banking sector in Romania.”
"The year ends with a milestone-deal for the local banking industry, confirming the market's potential to attract high-profile American investors," Daniel Badea, Clifford Chance Badea Managing Partner, said. "We are honored and delighted to have advised one of the most important American investment funds on its first deal in Romania."
Clifford Chance Badea Counsel Loredana Ralea added: "It's been an extremely complex process on a highly-regulated market, which, from the very beginning, required deep industry and business-specific knowledge, as well as good understanding of the compliance and regulatory requirements. The entire Clifford Chance Badea team has worked intensely throughout the deal, covering the legal and regulatory components, but also supporting the J.C. Flowers team in their strategic approach of the deal. We are, also, delighted by the collaboration with the excellent team of Unicredit Corporate Finance, who covered the investment banking aspects of the deal."
The Clifford Chance Badea team was coordinated by Badea and Ralea and included Partner Madalina Rachieru-Postolache, Counsel Andreea Sisman, and Associates Radu Costin and Gabriel Toma, along with Senior Associates Diana Crangasu and Lavinia Nucu, Lawyers Yolanda Ghita-Blujdescu, Claudia Grosu, and Mihnea Niculescu. Of Counsel Nick Fletcher advised on English law aspects.
The London-based White & Case team was led by Partner Gavin Weir and included Associates Tina Kostelenos and Edwina Daws.
The Schoenherr team was coordinated by Bucharest Partners Matei Florea and Madalina Neagu.