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September 30, 2008 6:01 PM

Firms of All Kinds Reap Rewards from Global Market Turmoil

Posted by Brian Baxter

The dawn of a new day brings news of yet another billion-dollar rescue package for a corporation in credit-crunch-crisis mode. Not surprisingly, law firms--international, regional, local--are rushing to score a piece of the tumultuous transactional work that abounds, for now.

With help from our U.K. sibling publication Legal Week, The Am Law Daily looks beyond our own troubled borders to give you the rundown on who's handling the economic malaise overseas.

Dexia

Brussels-based Dexia Group, the world's nineteenth-largest company by revenue, according to Fortune, was the recipient of a $9.2 billion rescue package from the governments of Belgium, France, and Luxembourg on Tuesday. A leader in European municipal finance, the Franco-Belgian bank immediately announced a shakeup of its board. Legal Week reports that Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton's Laurent Legein, an M&A and capital markets partner in the firm's Brussels office, is leading the team advising Dexia.

Dutch firm Stibbe, which has international alliances with the U.K.'s Herbert Smith and Germany's Gleiss Lutz, has snagged a role advising the Belgian government on the Dexia bailout. A Brussels-based Stibbe team is being led by corporate and M&A partners Olivier Clevenbergh and Marc Fyon and finance partner Ivan Peeters.

Fortis

The Utrecht, Netherlands-based banking and insurance company--the world's twentieth-largest by revenue, according to Fortune--required a $16.4 billion bailout from the governments of Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands on Monday that will result in it being 49 percent nationalized. Legal Week reports that Linklaters corporate and M&A partners Jean-Marie Nelissen Grade, Eric Pottier, and Nico Goossens, all in Brussels, are advising Fortis. As part of the rescue package, Fortis must divest itself of its stake in Dutch banking giant ABN AMRO. The Am Law Daily has learned that 260-lawyer Dutch firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek is handling certain aspects of the pending ABN AMRO transaction for Fortis, a longtime client of the firm.

Legal Week reports that as with Dexia, the same Stibbe team is representing the interests of the Belgian government. Belgian regulators also are receiving outside counsel from two Brussels-based lawyers: Thierry Tilquin, a corporate finance and M&A partner with Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick, and Hans Gilliams, a European antitrust partner with Eubelius. Banking and finance partner Hans Sachse from Dutch standalone Boekel De Nerée is advising De Nederlandsche Bank--the Dutch central bank--with Dutch firm Pels Rijcken & Droogleever Fortuijn providing counsel to the Dutch government.

Hypo Real Estate Holding

A consortium of German financial institutions and the Berlin-based federal government provided a $51 billion line of credit for the flailing Munich-based real estate and financial services company Monday. Shearman & Sterling's Hans Jürgen Meyer-Lindemann, a partner in the firm's Düsseldorf office, tells The Am Law Daily that Shearman is representing Hypo Real Estate in its efforts to shore up its balance sheet. The commercial property lender, which might not survive the year, is a longtime client of the firm. The company also has announced a board shakeup.

Renaissance Capital

The market freeze has extended to Mother Russia, as well. On September 22, the country's leading Western-style investment bank, Moscow-based Renaissance Capital, announced it was selling a 50 percent stake to billionaire oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov's ONEXIM Group for $500 million. While legal advisers on the deal were not immediately available, Renaissance Capital has a close client relationship with Britain's Herbert Smith. The firm hired Evgeny Zelensky, a former Renaissance executive director and legal and compliance cochair, in early September for its Moscow-based capital markets practice. ONEXIM has turned to Hogan & Hartson's Moscow office in the past for high-end M&A work. The firm did not respond to a request for comment.

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